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.

Desmond does not work from a place of obligation and apathy. He works because he truly wants to –and has gone through much more to get this job than the average person.

The customers see Desmond's dedication. They do not see his disability. They don't see the hours of training it took to reach his goal of becoming a barista. With the aid of Project SEARCH, Desmond could cultivate his talents and succeed with hard work and perseverance.

A open burlap bag of coffee beans spread out on a table

Lynchburg Va. Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH's primary aim is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. The program breaks down stereotypes by increasing the public's expectations of people with significant disabilities.

Stand Up partners with the Lynchburg Va. Project SEARCH program to provide young people with significant disabilities the opportunity to contribute to their communities. 

Students take part in a variety of internships within the host hospital/business where they gain competitive, transferable and marketable job skills. They also gain increased independence, confidence, and self-esteem.

Project SEARCH logo

Lynchburg Va. Project SEARCH students also get work based individualized coaching, instruction and feedback. Businesses also enjoy a partnership where they have access to a new, diverse, talent stream with skills that match labor needs. They also gain interns/employees with disabilities who serve as a role model for customers.

The idea for this program originated in 1996, when Director of the Emergency Department at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Erin Riehle could not find employees for entry-level jobs that involved restocking supplies. Her solution involved adopting the Center's major diversity initiative and reaching out to Great Oaks Career Campuses and the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disability Services to recruit people with disabilities. Together with these organizations, the filling a handful of jobs evolved into what would become Project SEARCH.

Desmond is one exceptional example out of the many individuals that have participated and flourished in Project SEARCH. The program allowed him to reach his potential. Desmond realizes that his disability does not have to be a barrier to hold him back. He can not only prove this to others –but also to himself.

A picture of Desmond Meadows
Sep 01

Stand Up, Inc. Celebrates 6 Years

By Stand Up, Inc. | News

September 1 marks Stand Up, Inc.'s sixth year of providing employment services to individuals with disabilities in Virginia. In that time we have grown from primarily serving Lynchburg, Virginia to covering the majority of central, south-side and southwest Virginia.

We've come a long way since September 1, 2009 and we're looking forward to continued growth in the future. Thanks to all the people who have made the last 6 years possible. Our employees, community partners, and customers continue to move us forward in hopes to provide the best service possible.

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Aug 22

STEP–Students and Parents

By Stand Up, Inc. | Transition Services

What is STEP?

STEP (Student Transition Employment Program) is a partnership between Stand Up Inc., local city or county high schools, and community businesses. It is designed to aid participants in learning the necessary skills to become successful in a competitive workplace environment. Through various classroom and hands-on learning experiences, the students will leave the program having learned valuable social skills, interpersonal communication skills, work ethics, safety training, and many other concepts related to the workforce. 

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Apr 24

Anxiety Disorders

By Stand Up, Inc. | News

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

A person that may be struggling with an anxiety disorder should let another person know about physical sensations, anxieties, or phobias. Since anxiety disorders do not disappear until they're dealt with, it is critical to inform someone that can help. If a person does not seem to understand right away, talk to another trusted adult.

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