Success Stories

Through the links below, meet DRS consumers who have experienced work-related successes and have shared their stories.

Tyler Heffner: Achieving Long-Term Goals with Help from DRS

Tyler Heffner: Achieving Long-Term Goals with Help from DRS Tyler Heffner worked very hard to get where he is and continues to be diligent in his quest to meet his long-term goals. Tyler attended Lewis County High School, where he graduated in 2015. He was diagnosed with autism in middle school, where he worked hard…

Keonea Cooper: Increasing Skills and Reaching Career Goals with DRS

Keonea Cooper: Increasing Skills and Reaching Career Goals with DRS With a smile, Keonea Cooper helps customers and performs her other job tasks at a Goodwill store in Huntington. The Goodwill store is part of Goodwill Industries of KYOWVA, a multi-service agency that provides training and employment-related services to people with disabilities, according to Community…

John McDowell: Perseverance Through Adversity

John McDowell: Perseverance Through Adversity When faced with several challenges, some people choose to quit. But John McDowell used his strength to persevere through adversity. John has several disabilities, including some mobility issues, which make walking difficult, especially on uneven surfaces. He also has a speech disorder, which makes communicating with and being understood by…

Andrew Rager: How Determination and DRS Helped this Ability Works Winner Thrive

Andrew Rager: How Determination and DRS Helped this Ability Works Winner Thrive Andrew Rager’s determination to do more and a thriving partnership helped him foster job skills and self-confidence to meet his employment goal. Anxiety and an intellectual disability have made things difficult for Andrew throughout his lifetime. After graduating from Brooke County High School…

Amber Sweet: Achieving Career Success with DRS

Amber Sweet: Achieving Career Success with DRS Amber Sweet’s goal was to help people. As a crisis counselor for First Choice Services in Charleston, Amber achieves that goal daily.  According to Terrance Hamm, Director of First Choice Services’ 988 program, this non-profit organization operates helpline services throughout West Virginia and other states. The 988 program…

Jayla Williams: How Fashion Brings This Retailer Fulfillment

While in high school, Jayla was referred to the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) for assistance with her transition from school to work. Jayla has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental delays. She was extremely shy and insecure, and she needed help with acquiring independent living and life skills and with…

Michael Moore: IT Guru Advances Career with Help from DRS

Michael Moore: IT Guru Advances Career with Help from DRS This Ability Works Award Winner turned a love for computers into a successful career in technology and encourages others to seek out DRS resources to help them do the same When technology troubles strike, Michael Moore is there to help. He works as an Information…

Ismael Calzada: How Skills Training and Job Coaching Led to Opportunity

Ismael Calzada: How Skills Training and Job Coaching Led to Opportunity This Ability Works Award Winner Used the Skills He Learned from DRS and Goodwill to Jumpstart His Career Ismael Calzada works as a dishwasher at Perkins Restaurant in Moundsville. This is his first real job, and he is happy to have the opportunity and…

Ashley HigginBotham: Achieving Career Goals With DRS

Ashley Higginbotham: Achieving Career Goals with DRS This Ability Works Award Winner is pursuing her dream career with help from DRS Since middle school, Ashley Higginbotham’s dream has been working with and caring for children. Now, she is a care teacher at Sacred Heart Early Learning Center in Charleston. Ashley connected with the West Virginia…

James Sparks: How this Teacher and Coach Prepared for the Future

James Sparks: How this Teacher and Coach Prepared for the Future This Ability Works Award Winner achieved his dream of becoming a teacher with help from DRS James Sparks teaches social studies at River View High School in McDowell County, his alma mater, where he graduated in 2016. While playing football in high school, James…