Getting Where I Need to Go: Traveling Opens Doors

Jamel Berry

By Jamel Berry


When I was in high school, I was advised to contact New York State’s Adult Career and Continuing Education Services — Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) for job training. However, I wasn’t traveling on my own yet, because even though I was 20 years old at the time, I relied on the school bus to get around during all my years of school.

No one taught me how to travel around New York City on my own. I wanted to learn. The ACCES-VR team told me about INCLUDEnyc, which is how I joined the Project Possibility program. INCLUDEnyc’s Project Possibility provides intensive support for youth with disabilities like me who are transitioning into adult life

When I started at INCLUDEnyc, I worked with a youth educator who helped me through some assessments. She asked me questions. The educator wanted to see how much I knew about traveling around New York City. Then, we worked on learning those skills one step at a time.

First, we practiced traveling from my apartment in Harlem to the INCLUDEnyc office in Union Square. Then, I attended an INCLUDEnyc program workshop called “Traveling Around NYC.” The workshop was a citywide scavenger hunt. We were given different routes around the city and I had learned enough by that time that I was able to serve as a group leader!

After that, I spent more time one-on-one with the INCLUDEnyc educator. I practiced a lot!

Finally, I felt like I really understood the subway, and my mom had more confidence in me. She wasn’t as worried about me anymore. I was able to travel to the park, a recreational center in my neighborhood, and the movies. I felt so free! On top of that, the INCLUDEnyc educator helped me apply for a reduced rate MetroCard. I felt like I could go anywhere. And I started thinking about getting a job and living on my own. I felt great.

I enrolled in ACCES-VR and started my job training. When I completed my training, I applied to several jobs and I received an offer. Today, I’m working at Salesforce. I work with the maintenance team and keep the offices clean. I’m also working towards other professional and personal goals. I want to start building my savings for the future. Being able to make money and travel throughout the city has changed my life. I am more independent than ever.

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Jamel Berry participated in INCLUDEnyc’s Project Possibility program, which provides intensive support for youth who are transitioning into adult life. As a member of NYS Transition Partners, INCLUDEnyc is a leading Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) PTIC organization providing young adults with disabilities and their families with postsecondary education and employment resources.

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