When JJ Hanley realized that people with disabilities often have great difficulty living and working in their communities, she didn’t just sit still.
She founded JJ’s List, a non-profit organization that trains people with disabilities in technology, professional and social communication skills, with a goal of employment and community interaction.
With the help of volunteers, JJ’s list has worked with more than 300 teens and adults who have a wide range of disabilities, including autism and Down syndrome, to learn safe Internet skills through the Safe and Productive Internet Life & Literacy Skills Curriculum (SPILLS). This program provides the Internet skills necessary for employment and community integration, and is being taught in middle schools, high schools and post-high school programs for young adults with disabilities.
Volunteers with disabilities have trained more than 500 business employees in disability awareness and have added more than 250 businesses to the jjslist.com Disability-Aware Business Directory. This directory is a listing of stores, entertainment venues, restaurants, schools and more which are reviewed by those with disabilities on how easily accessible and accommodating they are.
JJ’s List also offers Employment Skills Internships to help prepare transitioning high school students and young adults with disabilities for further education, community participation and employment. The interns have the opportunity to run and manage the JJ’s List website, learning valuable on-land and online skills.
JJ Hanley’s work and progress is inspiring, and she isn’t stopping anytime soon: “We are committed to doing what we can to help people with disabilities build the skills they need to successfully participate in the day-to-day life of every community.” Visit JJ’s List to help them continue to achieve success stories like these:
“At JJ’s List, I’ve learned Internet skills that I need to get a job.” — Allissa, 26
“I joined the JJ’s List Disability Awareness Players and learned how to talk to a person in a business. Now I teach businesses how to be disability aware.” — Tim, 18
“JJ and her professional and volunteer staff see the abilities of young adults, not their disabilities. My son’s experience with JJ’s List has been a fun, but no-nonsense route to learn Internet skills and how to communicate and interact in a professional environment. It’s invaluable!” — Dana, mom of Matt, 25.