December 28, 2017

Ky-Lee’s Story – “I’m a Better Person Because of Project SEARCH”

Ky-Lee Barnes has found her path to a brighter future, thanks to Project SEARCH. A partnership between Mission Health, The Arc of North Carolina, A-B Tech, NC Vocational Rehabilitation, Vaya Health and the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities, Project SEARCH has 400 sites internationally and offers a one-year internship program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Its goal is to help the students, who range in age from 18 to 30, achieve their goal of securing meaningful, competitive employment.

Hear from Ky-Lee, her mom and her program leaders about how Project SEARCH helped her secure employment at Mission Health.

“Project SEARCH is an opportunity to learn, gain new skills, gain independence and have a future,” said Ame Gaddis, Ky-Lee’s mom. “This program has changed both of our lives for the better.”

Project SEARCH instructor Emily Danciu-Grosso concurs. After completing three internships over the course of a year, she said, “Now Ky-Lee has the language and skills to understand herself and how to advocate for herself.”

And Pete McQuiston, Ky-Lee’s supervisor for her third internship and now for her job in Mission’s Food and Nutrition department, noted that Ky-Lee adds a lot to his department. “She’s really uplifting for the department and the guests who come into our cafeteria,” he said.

Project SEARCH is now accepting applications (through 5 pm on January 31, 2018) for the 2018-19 academic year.

To request an application or for more information, attend an information session or contact Emily Danciu-Grosso, Project SEARCH Instructor, (828) 230-4973,

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