The Department on Disability Services is committed to helping people with disabilities live life their way. Learn more about the people we support and the value they add to businesses and communities throughout the DC metropolitan region.
Martin Chio: From Transition to Colleague
Martin Chio first learned about DDS when he was in the ninth grade. The support he received from RSA’s Transition Unit helped him overcome challenges and showed him how to combine his skills and interests into full-time employment. Take a look at his story.
LaRaven Gaymon: Don’t Wait for Someone Else to Initiate Your Success
Never be idle; always stay busy. That’s the mantra LaRaven Gaymon learned from her mother, and it’s the phrase that guides her personal and professional life. She believes people with disabilities need equity, not equality. See more. . .
Ayo Smith: The Beginning of Something Better
Ayo Smith lives in a neighborhood where "a lot of stuff is going on." He’s frustrated with seeing young people shooting and killing each other. So, he has set his sights on working in a field that will allow him to help and protect people in his community. See more…
Jeanllen Herbert: Having a Disability Is Not the End of the World
Jeanllen Herbert connected with DDS just as she was aging out of the foster care system. While she still needed some support, she told the judge she wanted to be able to choose how she lived her life. Partnered with a service coordinator and a vocational rehabilitation specialist, Jeanllen reminds us that people with disabilities can do anything they set their minds to. See more...
Marion Malone: RSA’s transition program
Marion Malone connected with RSA’s transition program while attending High Roads Academy. With aspirations of owning his own video production company, he enjoys putting smiles on the faces of residents at Sunrise Assisted Living. See more…
Rugharis Ruhle: DDS and RSA Working Together For Success
Rugharis Ruhle came to DDS/RSA to find employment after not working for seven years. Now employed with a Fortune 5 company, Mr. Ruhle is a new homeowner who continues to sharpen his skill. See more . . .
Antoine Arrington: Setting and Reaching Goals
This Project SEARCH graduate is employed as a building services worker with the Smithsonian Institution. What he loves most about his job is seeing the smiles on visitors’ faces when they come into his building. His success is due in part to the support he receives from his vocational rehabilitation counselor and his service coordinator. See more . . .
Samira Taylor: Keep Evolving
It was the hit TV drama Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) that sparked Samira Taylor’s interest in forensic science. With the help of her guidance counselor at Theodore Roosevelt High School and the support of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Shontae Waldrip, Taylor discovered Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY. The small liberal arts college offers an academic track in forensic science/crime scene investigation. After one visit to the campus, she was hooked. See more. . .
Carlos Zacarias: Grateful for the Support
Connecting with DDS/RSA has provided Carlos various opportunities to connect with different people and engage with the community. Through his experience with the Direct Support Professionals Academy, he was pleased to learn how services for people with disabilities continues to evolve. He notes that the right support makes all the difference. See more . . .
Juanita Wells: Just Put Your Mind to It
Blind since birth, this native Washingtonian connected with DDS and RSA when she was in high school. And she knew exactly what she wanted: to go to college, to find a job, and to live independently. The transition from in-person learning to virtually learning due to the pandemic of 2021 was difficult for her, but her Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor provided constant support and motivation, which made a big difference. Learn more…
Mariel Sanchez: You Have a Voice
The experience and insight gained from working in her mother’s daycare center and studying Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences fuel the desire of Mariel Sanchez to start her own business. Sanchez connected with DDS/RSA during her senior year at Columbia Heights Education Campus and got support to attend college. She was finishing up her undergraduate degree at Trinity University when her case was transferred to Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist Stephen Calvit. He noticed right away that she was passionate, patient, and had the ability to accomplish great things. She just needed help bringing it out. See more . . .