The past 20 months have been tough, but what is certain and consistent is that JEVS Human Services, its staff and clients are still on the move. We keep making hope happen and working together to change lives.

This was demonstrated at our 23rd annual Strictly Business livestream event on November 4, 2021, where JEVS honored two inspiring individuals who have faced great challenges in their lives and found the strength to achieve their personal dreams and career goals.

In addition, thanks to the support of our sponsors, attendees and donors, Strictly Business 2021 was able to surpass its fundraising goal, raising $295,000. This brings the total raised through all 23 Strictly Business events to over $4 million! We’d especially like to thank event sponsors Odell Studner and Aetna, Inc. Because of your generosity, we can continue to serve the most vulnerable in our community and “Get Philly Back to Work,” an important theme during the difficult times facing our region these days. Thank you!

> Watch the recording of the event here.

Award Honorees

JEVS Strictly Business event celebrated  JEVS’ Orleans Technical College graduate, Melissa, and JEVS hireAbility client, Ashton, with a glimpse of their journeys and how our job services/supports are helping them to fulfill their employment aspirations.


Melissa – Inspiration Award

Graduate, JEVS’ Orleans Technical College

As she looked to a life after high school, Melissa was forced to overcome some adversity and settled into the food industry for three decades of unfulfilling work. Recognizing that she always had a passion for working with her hands and even spent some time working construction on the side, by her mid-40s she decided to take the leap and head into a recession-proof career that she would love and could support she and her four children. Melissa enrolled in JEVS’s post-secondary career school, Orleans Technical College, in 2018 and spent 6 months learning air conditioning, refrigeration and heating skills that would lead to success in this in-demand field. With the assistance of our Career Services Department, Melissa found work upon graduation and is thriving in a job she loves, as well as a career that will be sustaining. Now 47, Melissa has worked throughout the pandemic, making house calls, monitoring, repairing and installing equipment, and she finds the best part is making her customers happy.

> Watch a video of Melissa’s inspiring story


Ashton – Inspiration Award

Participant, JEVS hireAbility Program

Ashton was born with Down syndrome, but from the time he was a little boy his parents dreamt about a future that included fulfilling work, and that future came to fruition. A JEVS career navigator began working with Ashton over four years ago, when he was a student and she was a teacher’s aide at a school-to-work program at Atlantic County Specialized Services School (ACSSS). After graduation, Ashton began working together through JEVS’ hireAbility program, accessing career readiness training and coaching support that would be crucial to a future job. The program offers supports to assist individuals living with a disability or chronic disease by preparing them for competitive employment and community integration. Ashton found employment success at the Marmora, NJ Wawa, joining the team in October 2018, and he has received wage increases and grown in his role since that time. Ashton has learned new tasks such as stocking the cooler and now excels at tasks he once struggled with such as tying trash bags and exceeding customer service standards. The entire Wawa team loves Ashton, greets him individually by name when he walks in, and many customers come in just to see him hard at work. A Special Olympian who competes in swimming, his family embraces how Ashton represents the hope that so many parents of those with disabilities have for their children.

> Watch a video of Ashton’s inspiring story

In The News

Fundraising Goal

Proceeds from the $295,000 raised at our Strictly Business event fund scholarships to JEVS’ vocational assessment, job readiness, skills training and career services for individuals most in need. Thank you so much to our generous sponsors and virtual guests for helping us to surpass our fundraising goal.

Posted in Blog Strictly Business