All Posts by Stand Up, Inc.

About the Author

Jul 08

Gina Robinson

By Stand Up, Inc. | Employment Specialist


Gina Robinson


Employment Specialist

Prior to working at Stand Up, Inc. I worked in various social service positions in different areas of the county. In South Carolina I worked as a Health Educator for the Department of Health and Environmental Control. In Wisconsin I worked as a Financial Eligibility Specialist for the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program and I worked as a Title IV-E Eligibility Specialist for Wisconsin’s Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare.

Why did I choose this field? I became an advocate for others initially because my mother suffered from mental illness and I inherently wanted to protect the part of my mother that I knew to be loving, engaging and was a vital part of her community.

Favorite Quote:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Hobbies:

Church ministries, running..ok maybe like walking and spending time with my husband.


May 13

Mary Janick-Smith, M.A.

By Stand Up, Inc. | Employment Specialist

Picture of staff

Mary Janick-Smith, M.A.


Employment Specialist

I have previously worked in a variety of roles providing mental health services to individuals and families through a Community Services Board, in family homes and in a hospital setting. I supported people who have neurological and sensory processing disorders, medical, physical and intellectual challenges as a Psychologist at Central Virginia Training Center and, for nearly two decades, I operated a community-based Day Support program.

As a DS Coordinator I established and maintained community partnerships that enabled Day Support participants to regularly engage in challenging and meaningful activities. Ongoing activities included adaptive skiing with Wintergreen Adaptive Sports, gardening with Hill City Master Gardeners, creating and exhibiting artwork in community locations, acting as big brothers and big sisters for elementary school students, walking and brushing horses at a local farm, etc. Unlike typical Day Support programs, I welcomed and successfully provided therapeutic services to people with challenging behaviors including people on the ASD spectrum.

My passion for supporting people with challenges to achieve maximum independence has led me to Stand Up! When done well, Day Support provides people with meaningful activity that increases personal satisfaction and allows people to positively contribute to the world around them. However, the ability to experience oneself as fully adult is compromised while one is completely dependent on others.

It is important for those who have the skills and desire to work to have opportunities to have paid employment. Customized employment provides an opportunity to use one’s natural gifts, develop new skills and relationships, and earn income all of which empower choice and independence.

I am delighted to be creating customized employment at Stand Up, Inc. It is a pleasure to be doing so with management and co-workers who share with me a gentle, patient, optimistic, determined spirit and the skills to accomplish this outcome for as many people as possible.

Hobbies:

Walking with our dog, hiking, backpacking and traveling to new places. I enjoy art in all forms especially paintings and creative healthy foods.


Nov 28

Lynchburg Va. Project SEARCH Student Lands Dream Job

By Stand Up, Inc. | Transition Services

Patrons of Blackwater Coffee Company wait patiently in line as a young dark-haired man prepares a list of drinks made to order. He maintains a pleasant demeanor, even as the line at the counter inches out into the mall's open area. They see his sharp, precise movements as he skillfully mixes various liquids together, pouring them in their cups without spilling a drop. This Lynchburg Va. Project SEARCH student's movements bring to mind a well-oiled machine, dutifully completing each task in a quick, timely manner.

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Nov 26

Gabriela Hoyos

By Stand Up, Inc. | Employment Specialist

Gabriela Hoyos


Employment Specialist

Hello! I am an employment specialist with the Lynchburg team here at Stand Up Inc.

I arrived in Lynchburg in August 2018 to start my Master's degree in psychology at Liberty University. Previously, I had graduated with my bachelors from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. Prior to moving to Lynchburg, I had done research for my alma mater in the topics of sex and human trafficking. Furthermore, I got the chance to travel to Guatemala, India, Colombia, and Haiti to present my research and help women and children living in those slums. Moreover, in hopes for a purposeful position, I found Stand Up Inc and immediately connected with their vision and mission.

My favorite part of being an employment specialist is the instant ability to connect with the employees and help them become the best versions of themselves. I come from not knowing them to helping them reach their goals. There is nothing like it!

My first job ever was working as an office assistant for Oral Roberts University.

I chose to work in this field because I am passionate about people overcoming any difficulty in light of something better. I am encouraged and highly motivated to witness people who have struggled finally receive a moment of reward and success. Ultimately, I wanted to infuse hope in people, which is the primary reason I chose to work with Stand Up Inc.

The best lesson I have ever learned from a customer is to take it easy and breathe.

My hobbies include cooking delicious healthy vegan dishes, cleaning, singing, playing piano and guitar, going to the farmer’s market, traveling, and watching crime shows.

Favorite Quote:

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” - C.S. Lewis


Nov 20

Laura Wingfield

By Stand Up, Inc. | Employment Specialist

Laura Wingfield


Employment Specialist

Laura received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from George Mason University in 2016.

She worked as a team-building facilitator at an outdoor challenge course and was promoted to assistant director of staff development. Here Laura gained valuable skills in experiential education, workplace training, and communication which she uses daily in her work with Stand Up, Inc.

Laura came to Stand Up in December 2017. She loves empowering individuals to expand their problem-solving skills and enrich their workplace experiences by seeking new opportunities. One of Laura’s missions is to show her customers how immense their contributions are to their workplaces and their communities.

Laura’s first job was in food service at a retirement home, where she appreciated the opportunity to learn from individuals with expansive and diverse life experiences. Laura also has experience in outdoor adventure trip-leading and organic farming.

Laura thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2018. Her interests include health, fitness, and sustainability. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at Lynchburg Grows, reading, and listening to podcasts.

Favorite Quote:

“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound.” – Benjamin Zander


Nov 19

Janie Blankenship

By Stand Up, Inc. | Employment Specialist

Janie Blankenship


Employment Specialist

Janie is and organized and disciplined professional with extensive background in Human Services and Psychology. She received her dual Bachelors of Science in Human Services and Psychology with Cum Laude status from Old Dominion University in 2016.

Janie seeks to utilize her education and work experience in a position to support individuals, families, and the community.

Favorite Quote:

“Nothing can keep you from reaching your goals. Do It!”


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