Praise for special needs workers in Cherry Hill

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WPVI) -- Some special people received some special praise today in Cherry Hill.

Since Laini Sohn started at Jefferson Health Voorhees, she explains, her responsibilities have multiplied.

"I'm a file clerk although that's kind of a misnomer at this point," she said.

Laini, lauded for her efficiency and creativity, is one of the honorees at the 13th Dubrow Vocational Celebration Breakfast at Katz Jewish community center in Cherry Hill honoring special needs adults, and their employers. For Laini, this is her first job.

"It helped me be more independent," said Laini.

Robin Hermann of Jefferson Health said, "To see her from when she first started until now, laughing and joking and helping to personalize her space and being part of that team and thinking outside of the box, adding so many valuable ideas to our team. It's just been phenomenal."

The employees are clients of Jewish Family and Children's Service of Southern New Jersey, which trains, arranges employment, and helps them along the way.

Barbara Abrams of JFCS said, "Once our employees start working and truly feel like they belong in their workplace confidence increases, self-reliance increases, many of them become self-sufficient."

When Joey Lovallo first started with the dining staff at Ambrosia Treatment Center in Medford, he had some struggles, but Executive Chef Victor Martin explains how proud he was to watch Joey persevere.

"There were a couple of times especially in the beginning when Joey wanted to give up and we just wouldn't allow it. To see Joey grow-his social skills have improved, his thinking process has improved," he said.

"Now I'm more independent, I'm getting my apartment soon, and everything's going good for me," added Joey.

The growth in the employees has been so inspiring, many here hope that word travels to even more employers.

"Everyone in this room has different abilities and we're all unique. And it's great to value that in all of us," said Hermann.
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