Disability Mentoring Day

Scott Bellman, DO-IT Staff

Recently, sixty students participated in the Seattle Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). This annual event is co-sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and DO-IT. DMD promotes career success for students with disabilities. With leadership and resource materials from AAPD, local communities around the country organize activities to bring students and employers together for mentoring activities and career exploration at public and private places of employment.

The fifty-eight high school and two college students that participated in the event visited employers such as Microsoft, Boeing, Wal-Mart, and Children's Hospital. Many of the interactions focused on careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

I asked the high school students that visited Children's Hospital about their experience. Some of their comments are below:

  • "It takes more than just doctors and nurses to make a hospital run—there are lots of important jobs."
  • "Working here isn't about how much money you make, but what you like to do and gaining experience by working with great people around you."
  • "Things are always changing when you work for a hospital. You have to be flexible."
  • "[Staff is] here to work for the sick kids. The people love their jobs—they like seeing the children develop over time."
  • "Everyone is friendly, and they put a lot of work into this hospital to make it run."
  • "A lot of important things come through the mail room, things that might save a life, and it is busy!"
  • "Nurses do things you wouldn't expect!"
  • "You can volunteer."
  • "You have to plan ahead to have a good career."

Scott Bellman is the Washington State Coordinator for Disability Mentoring Day. In addition to the Seattle program, there are activities in Aberdeen, Bellingham, Olympia, Sedro-Woolley, Spokane, and Yakima. This event was funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the AccessSTEM project. For more information about DMD visit www.dmd-aapd.org.