<!--:es-->Councilmember Jerry Allen participates in Live the Dream Expo
. . . Free event makes resources available for people with disabilities<!--:-->

Councilmember Jerry Allen participates in Live the Dream Expo . . . Free event makes resources available for people with disabilities

Dallas, TX – Councilmember Jerry Allen (District 10) joins a distinguished panel of speakers at the 2008 Live the Dream Expo designed to help people with disabilities connect with resources in order to lead productive and full lives. Allen will participate in a panel discussion entitled, “Graduates Living the Dream” and talk about his personal journey and involvement in the Richardson Independent School District ’s Transition Services program.

Designed to help special education students prepare for life after high school, the Transition Services program offers students training and mentoring to help them earn their diplomas and demonstrate their employability. The program has helped place students in professional work environments and trains students in life skills such as managing money and navigating the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system.

Vocational specialists help students create a development plan for each year of the four-year program. Students learn how to write a resume and how to handle a professional business interview. “If a disabled student doesn’t have paid employment before graduating high school, there’s a 70 percent chance he or she won’t ever be employed,” said Program Specialist Yvonne Davis. “They desperately want to contribute to the workforce.”

Allen, a senior vice president of Colonial Bank, has mentored 21 year old Joshua Galperin from Richardson High School for the past two years. Galperin was diagnosed with autism at age seven. “We had lots of concerns about his adulthood,” says Mikal Galperin, Josh’s mother. “We thought he could do something more substantial than what he might be given the chance to do,” she said.

“Since joining the staff, Josh has become an expert in creating management reports and conducting market research,” Allen said. “He has freed up co-workers to focus on customer service; he’s hard working and punctual and he has raised morale around the bank’s Walnut Hill branch”.

Mrs. Galperin can now see a future for her son as an independent person who can provide for himself. “To have Josh on track to create some type of career is a huge relief,” she said. And Josh agrees. “It doesn’t mean I will ever not be autistic, but every day I’m making strides,” he said.

2008 Live the Dream Expo

When: 1 to 4 p.m., Jan. 19, 2008

Where: Garland Special Events Center , 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd Garland , TX 75040