‘Friend’ Spotlight: South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department

As part of our effort to increase awareness of the many organizations and businesses that advocate on behalf of the disabled community, we’re launching a series of “spotlights” on those we work with who have made a significant impact on both a local and national scale.

First up? The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD), where all of our gift baskets are made and assembled. In fact, if it weren’t for the clients at SCVRD, we wouldn’t have much of a business!

So, what do they do?
Simply put, SCVRD prepares individuals with disabilities in South Carolina “to achieve and maintain competitive employment” through counseling, skill development and vocational training.

What types of skills do they learn?
All sorts of skills! The SCVRD prepares disabled individuals for a wide variety of careers with more than 400 business partners, such as Boeing, AstenJohnson, Siemens, Walgreens, Bridgestone and more.

Who teaches them these skills?
An amazing team of people at the SCVRD, who develop a personalized employment plan for each individual. Counselors guide all clients through a 3-stage process of disability management, training and job search.

How does SCVRD relate to Aunt Laurie’s?
In our case, clients at the SCVRD hand stitch our gift baskets, write our personalized note cards and assemble and package our baskets. Things we might take for granted – such as knowing how to tie bows or even how to shrink-wrap – are all skills that clients learn, helping them develop independence and confidence for future careers.

Why does this matter?
The SCVRD and all they do matters a great deal, as they are working to fight the cultural stigma that people with disabilities are unable to make meaningful contributions. And they’ve made great progress! Just since founding Aunt Laurie’s, I’ve seen clients not only successfully learn new skills, but flourish in their duties and build more confidence as they go.

A favorite moment involving clients at SCVRD?
We had a big delivery to make in Palmetto Bluff, a resort community in Bluffton. I enlisted the help of several clients from the SCVRD to help me unload and deliver the gift baskets. Because it was hot, we had to move quickly so that our chocolate alligators and chocolate covered Oreos didn’t melt. I was so impressed with the speed and enthusiasm at which these clients worked…they saved the day! (See picture below)