Project SEARCH
Despite shifts between in-person and virtual learning, this year’s Project SEARCH students completed more than 300 hours of co-op work placements and training. (Photo: Courtesy Project SEARCH)

Congratulations to the 2021 Project SEARCH graduates

Congratulations to Project SEARCH class of 2021 who completed their final year of high school, while interning at Toronto Rehab and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. 

Project SEARCH is an international transition-to-work program for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In a year like no other, these students have gained the confidence, skillset and on-the-job training to join the workforce.

“I learned how to be punctual, always show initiative, and do my best in my placement," says Jennifer Lee, one of 10 graduating students who gained experience in housekeeping, materials management, facilities, administration, door screening and more.

For a group of three students, their co-op placements will extend into the summer at Toronto Western Hospital. Thanks to all our teams and colleagues who have hosted and supported a student placement.

Despite shifts between in-person and virtual learning, the students completed more than 300 hours of co-op work placements and training. They're now graduating with employment plans that they will be supported in putting into action.

Project SEARCH reflects Toronto Rehab's commitment to improving employment outcomes for patients and Ontarians with disabilities.

Together with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Ontario Disability Employment Network, Toronto District School Board, United Way and Community Living Toronto, Toronto Rehab's commitment to Project SEARCH also reflects UHN's strategic priority of building and strengthening partnerships with peers to benefit our society.

'A reminder how we've thrived'

Group in “Frontline Warrior” T-shirts
Members of Toronto Rehab’s 8 South Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation and Multisystem Inpatient Unit show off their customized T-shirts. (Photo: UHN)

“Frontline Warrior" is a term that honours the courage of individuals who are responding, head-on, to the COVID-19 pandemic. But for Hanh Bui, an occupational therapist (OT) on Toronto Rehab's 8 South Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation and Multisystem Inpatient Unit, the definition runs deeper. 

Gifting her occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietitian, social work and speech language pathology colleagues with customized, “Frontline Warrior" T-shirts, complete with their professions proudly displayed, was her way of celebrating the teamwork they have demonstrated during this very difficult time. 

“I wanted to commemorate the care, respect, and heart our therapy team has for each other, while acknowledging our growth and development over the past year," she says. “The T-shirts can be worn at work, or in the community, as a reminder of how we have thrived."

But the gesture supported more than just her colleagues. Hanh ordered the T-shirts through the daughter of one of her housekeeping colleagues, who had launched a small business after finding herself out of work, due to COVID-19. A win-win for all.

“Hanh's generosity left me speechless," says dietitian Heidi Wilk. “It not only boosted my morale but showed made me how much we really think of each other as family.

“The T-shirts are a permanent and important reminder of the support we have for one another, which ultimately leads to the best possible patient care."

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