Upper Valley Project SEARCH celebrates graduates

TROY — Seven interns who successfully completed the 2018-2019 Upper Valley Project SEARCH program were celebrated earlier this month at Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy.

Program participants receiving diplomas, along with their home school districts, include Isaac Bensman, Anna High School; Jacob Balta and Justine Porath, Christian Academy Schools; Katie Young, Heather Hopkins, and Austin Ham, Sidney High School; and Christopher Eller, Piqua High School.

Project SEARCH is a one-year high school transition program for individuals with disabilities to provide training and education leading to community employment.

Each intern deferred receiving their high school diploma, went through an interview selection process, and earned a position to participate in the program.

Local program partners include UVMC, Koester Pavilion, Upper Valley Career Center, Miami and Shelby County boards of developmental disabilities, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and Capabilities Inc.

This is the ninth year for the program.

Tom Parker, UVMC president, said UVMC is pleased to be a collaborator in the program, which helps young people gain skills that help lead to employment.

Program supervisors and mentors were recognized for working alongside the interns introducing them to various on-the-job experiences.

The program helps teach the young people how to get along with other people and “bring your best self to work.”

“Even if you are having a bad day, you are responsible for going out in the world,” Parker said.

Matt Meyer, Upper Valley Career Center supervisor, said these interns were “seven of the most hard-working individuals that I have ever known.”

Attendees to the celebration also heard from 2017-2018 intern Joseph Trisler, who works at Wappoo Wood Products of Sidney.

“Project SEARCH is amazing,” he said, giving special thanks to Patti Moore, Upper Valley Project SEARCH program coordinator. Trisler said the program helped him gain skills not just for a job, but for life.

For more information on Upper Valley Project SEARCH, contact Moore at 937-440-7431.