October 19, 2010 10:12 ET

National Disabilities Awareness Month: JVS Celebrates Long History of Service for People With Disabilities

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 19, 2010) -  October is National Disability Awareness Month. JVS has been a pioneer in serving people with disabilities since the 1940s, when it suggested ergonomic accommodations to employers hiring JVS clients. Today, the agency continues that tradition, with the Dashew Assessment Center and the West Hills Assessment Center, which opened in August with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, JVS offers the latest in the field of assistive technology for persons who are blind or visually impaired, as well as those with physical and learning disabilities. With the Dashew Assessment Center in Los Angeles and the West Hills Center, JVS has the only state of the art, comprehensive vocational evaluation programs in Southern California for people who are blind or visually impaired. Counselors work with each client one-on-one. In just the past four months, the Centers saw a combined total of 95 clients, with an additional 28 who utilized JVS' Employment and Placement services.

JVS' staff includes Certified Vocational Evaluators, Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, and an Assistive Technology Professional through the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America. JVS also partners with the California Department of Rehabilitation, and receives referrals from as far away as San Diego, Modesto and the Inland Empire.

"We are seeing a lot more clients with vision problems. We have several ways to help them, including CCTV magnifiers, JAWS screenreader, ZoomText and MAGic magnification software with speech, and Braille and large print material," said Eileen Slutsky, Director of JVS' Disability and Assessment Services. "But the biggest issue remains lack of awareness of the resources that are available. National Disability Awareness Month is a step in the right direction, but we help people all year long."

The Dashew Assessment Center is named in honor of entrepreneur and disability advocate Stanley A. Dashew, who will be recognized at JVS' 80th Anniversary Gala in January 2011. His latest invention, the Dashaway, is designed to help people with disabilities regain their mobility. The Dashew Assessment Center, like West Hills, provides a variety of programs and resources to help people with disabilities discover their talents, and skills, and most importantly, self-confidence. Significantly, it solidifies JVS' history of being at the forefront of new technologies and methods to help its clients, such as the former Handcraft Industries program started in the 1950s to help persons with disabilities. That program was the model for other training initiatives still active today.

Kay L. came in to JVS' West Hills Assessment Center, suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis, a hip replacement, bipolar disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Not only did those issues factor in her finding work, but she was also in her sixties and starting over. Said Kay, "This was hard but I learned a lot about myself. I'm smarter than I thought and there's lots of jobs that I would be good at."

For nearly 80 years, JVS has enhanced hundreds of thousands of lives with vital employment and career services. JVS helps nearly 30,000 people from 30 locations around the Southland. A non-profit, non-sectarian organization, JVS works with city, state and county agencies to ensure everyone has access to the help they need, including long term unemployed, at-risk students, and newly arrived immigrants. For more information on JVS, please visit our new website You can also find us on Facebook at JVS Los Angeles or follow us on twitter @JVSlosangeles.

Contact Information

    Melissa Jarvis-Prieto
    323-761-8888 x8774