Stories & news Our stories #IamABLE: success stories from my AFK We are thrilled to be a charity partner of the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, who provide support and materials to help our young people develop their skills and aspirations for life beyond school. Their #IamABLE campaign is celebrating young people and their achievements. We are sharing some of our favourite stories that highlight what our young people can do! From our Life & Work Programme Neal Neal, who has a learning disability, started coming to my AFK in 2014. Neal was at college, and his goals were to work in a supermarket and learn how to travel independently. After gaining retail experience in a voluntary role at a store for over a year, Neal told his Job Coach that his dream job would be to work at Waitrose. His Job Coach approached Waitrose and organised a work placement, where Waitrose saw that he had lots of great experience and skills, especially with the customers, and they offered him a paid job working one day per week. Neal did travel training with support from my AFK, and began to travel to Waitrose and back on his own after a few weeks. He now works for 3 days a week at Waitrose in a paid position and travels independently! Lucy Luucy, who has Down Syndrome, started coming to my AFK in 2012 when she was 19 years old. In 2014 she joined the Life and Work Programme and completed a number of different work placements as well as skills sessions at my AFK. Lucy also ran a successful campaign for my AFK's Youth Council in 2017 and was elected to join the Youth Council. In 2017, after receiving travel training and support from her job coach, Lucy was able to travel independently into central London for a work placement. Shortly after this she also secured a paid position at Savers Health & Beauty as a shop assistant, where her duties include stacking shelves and customer service. Lucy shows a real flair for retail as she is great with customers and staff and likes things to be tidy on the shelves. Her employers tell us they are very impressed with her attitude and work ethic! From our Education & Training Programme St Marylebone Bridge and Joseph Clarke schools St Marylebone Bridge School is a specialist setting in Kensington & Chelsea; six of their learners, identified with a variety of moderate learning needs (MLD), came to my AFK for a 12-week Work Experience programme. Their programme entailed interacting with AFK staff while learning how the processes of a working charity functions, through structured and purposeful tasks in the office. Joseph Clarke School is a specialist setting in Waltham Forest; nine learners, identified with a variety of complex needs and visual impairments (VI), came to AFK for a 10-week Work Experience programme. Their goal was to create a pop-up stall in a local shop near the charity. The learners were given opportunity to make decisions regarding what they wanted to sell and how they were going to do this. After three weeks, both cohorts from these schools were given the opportunity to work together, and learners from each group were carefully matched to work alongside one another, in small groups of two or three. Although the programmes and support needs for each group were very different, this didn't stop the groups from being able to communicate effectively whilst offering instinctive and genuine support towards each other. More experienced learners were able to pass on knowledge to the less experienced learners, and both cohorts greatly benefitted from the experience. One of the teachers told us: "the session was very successful...two very different groups were able to work with each other…students with moderate learning needs, supporting students with visual impairments." Join the conversation on social media Learn more about the work of the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People on their website: https://dmthomasfoundation.org/ Go to Twitter and use the #IamABLE hashtag to find inspiring stories and share your own!