Diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD) at the age of 24, PYD’s newest Pre-Employment Program Specialist Keisha Greaves has spearheaded a variety of ventures, partnerships, and campaigns to inspire persons with disabilities and remind them that they rock, no matter what. This is shown through Keisha’s clothing company, Girls Chronically Rock, which aims to promote self-love and confidence in the disability community.
Although Keisha just recently joined the PYD team in October 2021, our relationship with Keisha began earlier than that. Keisha and PYD Founder and Executive Director Regina Snowden met in 2018 at a disability event at the Boston Innovation Center. Knowing that it was a connection that she wanted to maintain, Keisha sent an email to Regina after the event to stay in touch. This led to a series of collaborations between Keisha and PYD, including:
- Speaking to students virtually and in-person at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Boston
- Designing a special t-shirt collection for Girls Chronically Rock and PYD
- Getting inducted into PYD’s Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame in 2020
- Receiving the Oswald Mondejar INNOVATOR Award at Party for PYD in 2021
When Keisha was seeking a part-time position a few months ago, PYD was the first organization that came to mind for where she’d want to work. She reached out to PYD’s Career Readiness Program Manager Becca Cronin to find out if there were any open positions, which is when Becca shared that PYD was looking to hire a Pre-Employment Program Specialist. Keisha applied, held an interview, was offered the position, and has since joined the team.
“I don’t need to hide my disability or ask for extra accommodations because this job gets it,” Keisha said. “I can be open and honest with PYD about what I’m going through, and it makes me feel so comfortable.”
As a Pre-Employment Program Specialist, Keisha will be working with students to get them involved in the different programs and find out what they’d want to see in the program, such as taking classes on entrepreneurship or fashion. These students are between the ages of 14-22, and Keisha will help them get ready for college as well as prepare for their career by providing support for resumes, cover letters, interviews, and more.
She felt particularly called to get involved in this program because she has a career that she loves and wants to show other persons with disabilities that they can have successful careers, too. “It’s nothing like talking to somebody who understands what you’re going through. I love talking with the kids and saying, ‘Look at me, I have a disability, too, and here’s what I’m doing,’” said Keisha.
Keisha hopes to inspire kids to reach the goals they want just from seeing what she has been able to do. She and the students have a special connection because they don’t often see other individuals with disabilities being able to accomplish a variety of things.
Although there are many parts of her new role that excite her, Keisha is most excited about connecting with all of her team members at PYD. “They’ve been so nice and so awesome, letting me know to reach out if I need anything,” Keisha said. “I feel very supported and excited to see what this journey brings me with PYD. I’m feeling all of the good vibes and excitement.”
Keisha currently works with students virtually, but starting in 2022, she’ll be working with them at Spaulding in Cambridge. She has many different ideas of what she’d like to do within the Career Readiness Program and can’t wait to bring them to the table, knowing that this is only the beginning for her.
If you’d like to learn more about Keisha or our Career Readiness Program, contact her at email@example.com.