Rotary District 7490 has initiated a job sampling program for students with disabilities. The objective of Best Foot Forward is to work with special needs private schools in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties to place some of their higher functioning students with local businesses on an intern basis, to give the students an opportunity to participate in the workforce. The program was conceived by Ray Falcon, founding principal of the Falcon & Singer law firm, a member of the Park Ridge Rotary Club, and Chair of the District 7490 Special Needs Committee. He realized that many Rotarians in our District own or work for the types of businesses that would be ideal for such student placements. In addition, your Rotary Club could reach out to other business leaders in your community to find businesses that might be willing to work with an intern with disabilities.
We have tailored Best Foot Forward so that it is a win-win-win-win for your business,
your Rotary Club, the students and their schools. Your business wins. For a limited
number of hours each week, local youths can work for your business on tasks such as
copying, filing and shredding. Students with disabilities are particularly adept at work
that is repetitive and requires attention to detail. The students, who are not paid for their
work, are accompanied by a job coach to supervise and assist them. You get both a job
well-done and the good feeling that comes from helping a student who might otherwise
have difficulty finding this kind of opportunity.
Your Rotary Club wins. Best Foot Forward affords the local Rotary Club an opportunity
to reach out to the community in a way that is not soliciting either funds or members. The
initiative shows the community how Rotary can have a very real impact close to home.
The student wins. High-functioning students with disabilities are eager for work, but find
that their disability sometimes is an obstacle to their learning about what it is like to be
part of the work world. This program was created to address just such a situation by
focusing on individual strengths and the contributions each of us may make to our
community. When these students are given the chance to work, the employer makes clear
the job requirements and the details of the job. Each student is always accompanied by a
job coach who keeps him or her on task and helps navigate any bumps along the road.
Most of all, the student is excited about the opportunity, develops work skills, feels good
about him or herself and about being part of the community and gains a much-needed
boost to his or her confidence. Each time a student is given employment, the experience
helps him or her move closer to transitioning to adulthood and being part of the larger
The school wins. This program helps schools build skills for their students so that they
can be active members of the workforce upon leaving the education system. This
program helps educators evaluate the skills of their older students in a way that cannot be
accomplished in a classroom setting.
How Can My Business Take Part?
It truly is a "no-brainer." Everyone wins. There are no downsides to you as a
businessperson and the process is turnkey. Let us know of your interest. Tell us about
your business and what needs you may have. We will work with you and a local private
school to find the right student to satisfy your needs. We coordinate all aspects of the