Strictly Business Archive

2011 Winners
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  Robert Milles

Robert lived in the park after he lost his job, burying his belongings under the trees, eating breakfast at a local soup kitchen, and showering in a hotel. In 2010, he set three goals: get his high school diploma, find a job, and move into his own apartment. With the support of JVS, Robert got his GED. He took JVS job search workshops, worked on his resume, practiced his interview skills, and began volunteering at the Haight Ashbury Food Program. Noting his calm demeanor, the staff soon offered Robert a job as their Pantry Coordinator. Today, Robert has achieved his three goals: his high school diploma, a job he loves, and his own apartment.  Watch Video
  Charles Jackson

After six arrests and detentions by Liberian President Taylor’s forces, Charles knew that he had a choice to make: his career as an outspoken opposition journalist or his life. He fled to Ghana and, as a refugee, came to California for the Knight Fellowship at Stanford. After this fellowship ended, Charles worked at a gas station, which later closed down. Desperate to break into the U.S. workforce and eager to help other refugees, Charles earned his Paralegal Certificate and turned to JVS. After a long search, Charles now works at the African Advocacy Network, a Program of Dolores Street Community Services, where he helps Haitian and African refugees settle into their new homes. Watch Video
  Rhea Spate

Rhea grew up in a family with addicts and alcoholics and started using methamphetamines at the age of nine. After 35 years of drug use, she ended up in prison and lost custody of her 7-year-old son. After her release, Rhea saw a flyer for a JVS program training low-income parents for positions at UCSF. Despite her self-doubt and clouded background, Rhea persevered, learning new computer software and office skills. She excelled in her internship and became the first in her class to be hired in a full-time position at UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center.
Watch Video
  Jackson Soderquist Steel

As a teenager with Down Syndrome, Jackson struggled in school. At 14, he first started working with JVS, taking our skill-building courses as part of his school day. Over the next five years, JVS coached him through his first jobs. Last year, JVS placed Jackson as an Explainer at the Exploratorium. Jackson has thrived at his job, learning quickly how to build his strengths, overcome his challenges, and communicate his needs to his supervisors. He loves his work and takes pride in setting a positive example to other youth with disabilities who visit the museum.  Watch Video

  Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF)

Since 1981, Friends of the Urban Forest has planted thousands of trees in San Francisco to create a more livable urban environment, but their commitment to growth extends far beyond leaves and branches.  In the last three years alone, FUF has offered more than 50 jobs and internships to high school-aged JVS clients with disabilities, giving them the critical first work experiences they need to start their careers.  More importantly, youth who excel on the job learn first-hand how their hard work can achieve results.  FUF promotes these young stars to crew leader positions, giving them an opportunity to teach their peers, practice their leadership skills, and earn a higher wage.  Watch Video


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