Aliyah Jackson, a second-year psychology major, instantly loved the mission of her co-op at a Boston nonprofit organization called You’re with Us!—which expands access and inclusion in everyday activities for young adults with disabilities. The work also opened her eyes to the difficulty that young adults with disabilities face after they turn 22 years old and age out of most of their federal and state support services.
The disability mentoring program pairs young adults with mentors who work to improve their independence, ensuring they can access whatever is needed to get a job, get groceries, join a club, or to enjoy any other aspect of their lives.
Jackson says the co-op has also taught her key workplace lessons, such as the differences between working at a nonprofit organization versus a private company and the rewards and challenges of working with marginalized populations. Even her interview experience helped broaden her understanding of the kind of workplace in which she’d like to end up when she graduates and the kind of people she hopes to work with. She spoke about the co-op during a wide-ranging interview with News@Northeastern that’s been lightly edited for clarity.
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Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.