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ECNV Hosts Project Rise for Blind Students in Transition
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Section: 2015

Arlington, VA, July 17, 2018 - The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) recently partnered with the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia (NFBV), and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) to launch Project RISE, a pre-employment transition program for blind students in high school and college.

Through this partnership. ECNV will provide its facility, as well as staff and logistical support for three separate all-day workshops. During these events, professional mentors will pair up with students to work on independent living skills such as cooking and cleaning, travel training, and employment/job readiness.  

“The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia’s Project RISE program is extremely fortunate to partner with ECNV in empowering blind and low vision transition-aged students to live the lives they want in personal and professional endeavors. NFBV Project RISE is thankful for the collaboration and eager to continue strengthening our relationship with this impactful organization.” Said NFBV President, Tracy Soforenco.

As the Project RISE participants reconvened for the June session, mentors witnessed miraculous growth as students gained knowledge in areas of professionalism, informational interviews, career mentoring, mock interviews, and other topics relevant to the internship and job search. During this session, students also had the opportunity to interact with working professionals, leaders in the blind community, and Human Resource professionals.

Through project Rise, students are also placed in internships based on their interests and future career goals. ECNV has agreed to take on Ameema Amin as a 2018 summer intern. Ameema is a rising senior at Marymount University, majoring in communications.

“It brings a special sense of purpose in our program when students develop self-confidence before our eyes as they feel excitement in partaking in a mock interview, something that initially brought anxiety to some of our participants.” Said Project Rise Mentor, Evelyn Valdez. One student also emphasized, “This activity really helped me identify weaknesses that I now know how to overcome and transform into strengths.”

The morning session included a panel on informational interviews and professional mentoring, followed by small group discussions and then a large moderated discussion with questions asked regarding networking events, interviewing, and disclosing blindness. During lunch, students heard the story of Alysha Hiller, as she shared her experience at the FBI from campus recruitment to eight years of professional experience behind her.

You can reach Project Rise Deputy Coordinator Arielle Silverman for more information on Project Rise at
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