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For Immediate Release

Shining Stars at Easterseals UCP

Individual Placement and Support Services Celebrates A Year of S.T.A.R. Awards

Raleigh, NC, February 7, 2019

Hard work and motivation is the key to success in business.  Those are the qualities that the Easterseals UCP Individual Placement and Support (IPS) team continue to work on while training adults with mental illness. 

STARThe Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program is a model of supported employment for people with serious mental illness. IPS supported employment helps people living with behavioral health conditions work at regular jobs of their choosing. 

A year ago, the IPS leadership created the S.T.A.R. Awards (S.T.A.R. stands for Skill, Talent, Achievement and Recognition) to recognize individuals who have gotten hired and have maintained employment using the skills they learned through the Individual Placement and Support Program at Easterseals UCP.  Every quarter, S.T.A.R. Awards are presented to several IPS recipients in Wake, Durham, Johnston and Cumberland counties for reaching their goals.

Vanessa Phillips, IPS Program Supervisor, said “The S.T.A.R. Awards not only benefits and recognizes our recipients, but it also is a time for us to reflect, encourage, and motivate each and every one of us in remembering why we do what we do.  In the field of Human Service, there are only certain individuals that can do what we do and excel at doing it.”

S.T.A.R Award Winners:

Cheneek Crawford is a very independent individual who has a desire to help others. Cheneek volunteers and mentors’ people at her church and local community. She transformed her desire to help others by becoming a Certified Peer Mentor and she is currently working fulltime as a Peer Mentor.

Cornell Jacobs used his past experience as a hotel housekeeper to find a new job.  He is happy to be working in housekeeping at the Embassy Suites Crabtree.  While he has his driver’s license, he doesn’t have a car so he navigates the public transit systems and rides the bus to and from work.  Next on Cornell’s agenda is to save enough money to purchase a car.

Jennifer Brinkley has been happily employed at DD’s Discount for more than three years.  She first came to the IPS team five years ago where she received training that has helped her in her personal and professional life. Her perseverance and resilience has helped Jennifer through the tough times allowing her to achieve success and independence.

Johanna Reyes is a seasoned administrative assistant with over 10 years of experience in all administrative tasks including scheduling and correspondence. Having held positions in the medical and business fields, Johanna is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of various clients.  Johanna continues to work hard at her job and volunteer in her spare time.

Roy Kahler employment works as a dishwasher at TGI Fridays restaurant in the White Oak area of Garner, NC.  Due to lack of public transportation, Roy walks to and front work.  He enjoys his job and looks forward to finding an affordable apartment closer to work to cut back on his long walk.  Roy’s next goal is to live independently in a nearby apartment.

Congratulations to the S.T.A.R. recipients!

Learn more about Easterseals UCP Individual and Placement Services program.


Easterseals UCP provides meaningful and exceptional services so that children and adults living with disabilities and mental health challenges can live, learn, work and play in their communities.

Learn more about Easterseals UCP at www.eastersealsucp.com.

Click here to get your local news about autism, mental health and developmental disabilities from Easterseals UCP in North Carolina & Virginia. 

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