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Disability Mentoring Day puts local students to work

Disability Mentoring Day puts local students to work

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - More than 40 local students got to try out their dream jobs Wednesday. It is part of National Disability Mentoring Day. Students shadowed and even helped out in many local businesses.

"I like it all. I don't have a favorite part," said Kristina, a senior at Idaho Falls High School.

She spent the day at the Defining Line Salon. Her dream is to make people feel beautiful, which is why she wants to become a cosmetologist.

A teacher recommended Kristina participate in Disability Mentoring Day. It's for students with a wide range of challenges, whether that be something like ADHD or maybe a physical limitation.

The annual event sends dozens of students into the community to try out dream jobs.

"Sometimes the kids come back and say, boy it's not what I thought it'd be, which is good information to have, and sometimes they come back and say yeah, this is exactly what I want to do," said Russ Rapp, a special education teacher at IFHS.

"I've learned a lot about the lab, I don't think that's what I want to do. I'm thinking more R.N." said Angelique, a junior from IFHS. She shadowed at Mountain View Hospital, along with several other young women.

Shane and Larry want to work with a different kind of needle. They are talented artists and want to try their hands at tattooing.

Shane brought his portfolio and shared a drawing of an anchor with the word "mom".

"This one I drew for my mom, which eventually I want to get tattooed sooner or later," he said.

Students are not the only ones who benefit from the day.

"It's also great opportunity for employers to see that people with disabilities make excellent employees if they are given the chance," said Irene Jones, disability services coordinator for Eastern Idaho Technical College.

"No matter what a person's strong points or weak points are, we are helping them be all that they can be. I think it's a small business' responsibility to reach out to the community in every way possible and make a difference," said Amy Hanson, owner of Defining Line.

According to Rapp, every year a few students actually are hired for paid work by the business they shadowed.

There will be an awards luncheon this Friday, where the students can reflect on their experience.

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