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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. Gaymon connected with DDS/RSA her senior year at H.D. Woodson High School; her goal was to attend college. She began as a psychology major at Trinity University and quickly switched to criminal justice. After graduation, Gaymon secured a paid internship with the DC Department of Forensic Science through the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA) Aspiring Professionals Program. Finding a job in her field of study was difficult, but the practical experience she gained as an intern led to a full-time position with United Health Care Group.

As a Customer Care Coordinator, Gaymon assists people in resolving problems with medical appointments and medication. Her patient caseload includes elderly patients and people with disabilities. “It’s a good fit for me right now because I understand what disabled people go through.” United Health Care’s training program is equipping her to interact effectively with people who may be facing a crisis. “Each person’s situation is different. I try to understand what they are going through and work to resolve the issue as quickly as I can.”  

Gaymon carries this empathy for others into her role as an advocate for the Developmental Disabilities Council. She is adamant in expressing that people with disabilities are people first. “When I first went to college, administrators didn’t think I could handle the class load. It was difficult initially, but I learned from a few failures. Trinity and I discovered that I needed a flexible schedule with day and evening classes. Graduate students took notes for me, and tutors helped me with assignments as needed.” From that experience, she learned that people with disabilities must be proactive in getting the help they need. “Don’t wait for someone else to initiate your success.” 

A sound support system is also essential. Gaymon credits her success, in part, to RSA Business Relations Specialist Sylvia Bailey-Charles and Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist Miriam Bolanos. “They prepared me for interviews and made sure I knew how to advocate for myself to secure appropriate accommodations.” This support forged Gaymon’s message to employers: “People with disabilities need equity, not equality.  We deserve respect, not tolerance. Yes, recognize our disability, just don’t focus on it. Consider our mental strengths, our intelligence and dedication. Expect more.”