Student Stories by Felicia Addesi
I began placement at Branching Out Support Services (BOSS) in September of 2022, doing my practicum at the day-service program. Throughout my practicum experience, I have had the opportunity to meet staff members who genuinely care to eliminate societal stigma and desire to have individuals of the neurodiversity community to be treated with equality and respect.
As a placement student, I have witnessed staff members who prove that societal structures and attitudes can shape experiences and opportunities with neurodiverse identities. However, staff members have guided me in recognizing the importance of working towards inclusion and accessibility. Walking through BOSS’s doors, one can have their biases and assumptions towards the neurodiverse community eliminated.
I believe anyone’s biases and assumptions will be mitigated when engaging with the neurodiverse community as BOSS has created an environment of equality; one’s belief will be shifted away from labels and stereotypes, gaining new insight into seeing and valuing the person as an individual with unique strengths and experiences.
Since BOSS values advocacy, they allow the participants of the day-service program to self-advocate. Self-advocacy has the potential to break down barriers, and this is evident when the participants of the day-service program are given opportunities of making their own choices, volunteering and work experiences; therefore, manifesting a sense of empowerment while eliminating societal prejudices and promoting greater understanding, acceptance and inclusion of neurodiverse identities.
Since doing my placement, I have met participants of the day service program who have taught me the valuable lesson of being your authentic self. They have shown me that every individual has unique abilities, ways of thinking, and that one’s own individuality and differences should be celebrated and be viewed as strengths. The participants of the day-service program aided me to appreciate and value everyone’s unique abilities and perspectives, and to understand that everyone has something valuable to contribute to society.
STUDENTS AT BOSS
Students are a very valuable part of the team at Branching Out Support Services and CommonFare Kitchen. Each year we welcome students from various schools to help us with our programs.
If you are interested in learning more about our Student Field Placements please contact us through our GET INVOLVED page.