Jonathan Armer has a job, and he has a purpose.

Jonathan has friends.

He’s become more independent.

He’s confident.

“VersAbility has made a big difference in our life as a family,” says his mom, Lori Armer. “I highly recommend it to anybody and everybody, and I cannot promote VersAbility  enough for the difference it has made in our life.”

A Denbigh High School teacher connected Jonathan’s family with VersAbility Resources’ Transition to Work program, which ensures students with disabilities move from the special education classroom to paid employment.

Students learn a variety of technical and soft skills that include following instructions, working well with others and the importance of proper attire, a strong work ethic, attendance and productivity. Jonathan started earning minimum wage as a high school junior, working onsite at VersAbility Resources.

Jonathan has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems challenges. But Lori Armer refused to limit her son’s potential. The time the VersAbility Resources staff spent helping him transition to the workplace reassured her that he could achieve there.

“When I came to take the tour, the staff there was wonderful,” Lori says. “They took the time to explain things to me, which made me very comfortable sending him there. They started him with doing things that were pretty easy and gradually worked him up to things he can do and to the things he enjoys doing.”

Jonathan’s transformation included fewer angry outbursts — one of the effects of Fragile X Syndrome is aggression — and he lost more than 20 pounds. He walked with his class, graduating from Denbigh in 2019.

Lori never heard Jonathan mention friends prior to his job. He had acquaintances, but never referred to them by name. Now he has lunch buddies and others he engages with on the job.

“He mentions them by name,” Lori says. “As a parent you want your child to have friends.”

If you have time, visit VersAbility’s YouTube channel here and hear Jonathan’s story from Lori herself.

Parents always want the best for their children. Jonathan is finding the best of himself thanks to the Transition to Work program that believed he could do more.

Jonathan is showing us all the power of what he can achieve and we are excited to see what the future has in store for him.

For more information or to speak with a representative in the Transition to Work program, contact Kenita Ricks at (757) 896-8430 or kricks2@versability.org.