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Brandon Cruz is aware of his strengths, but with cerebral palsy most people focus on his limitations. For Brandon, this is a significant barrier in securing a living-wage job.

That wasn’t true at OakLeaf Partners – A Center of Excellence at United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland and a United Way funded agency. The program works to help those with disabilities overcome barriers and find meaningful work.

Brandon, 19, admits he was “a little scared,” but he soon felt at ease while becoming a top student in the one-year Project SEARCH initiative that places students in internships as they transition from high school. Brandon joined the Cleveland Clinic, working behind the scenes doing filing, mailings, logging information, printing downloads, stamping and more.

“The program has shown me how to be prepared, how to always be on time and shown me a lot about team work,” Brandon said. “Everyone has that dream job of wanting to be a fireman or policeman, but I feel like I’m best suited working behind a desk doing clerical work. I feel it’s my best strong suit.

“That boosted up [my] confidence… knowing that there were other students like me with working-class jobs now and good benefits.”

Please donate now to help United Way and the organizations it supports give Brandon and others like him an opportunity to find meaningful employment.

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