Meghan Jones is a woman on the move. When not working on her forthcoming book or doing volunteer work, the Rockville, Maryland resident juggles two part-time jobs, one at a grocery store, where she does a variety of general duties, and the other at a non-profit organization, where she is an office clerk. Her enthusiasm makes her a valued team member at both. So does her speed at getting things done.
Meghan, who has Down syndrome, had several work experiences before finishing school, both paid and unpaid. These included volunteering in schools and working part-time at Target, a Project SEARCH placement at the National Institutes of Health, and an internship at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. For some of these experiences, she had the support of a job coach through Maryland's Division of Rehabilitation Services.
Meghan's long-term employment goal is to work in an office full time, especially one where she can put her sign language skills to use. Although still working toward that goal, her employment path thus far clearly illustrates the importance of early work experiences. Furthermore, they demonstrate the critical role family members play in helping people with disabilities grow up expecting to work. Meghan's parents set high expectations for her; in turn, she set them for herself.
The book Meghan is writing is about growing up as a person with Down syndrome. Through it, she hopes to dispel misconceptions and break down barriers for others, especially when it comes to employment, which is such an important part of life, she says. In fact, the non-profit where Meghan works focuses on improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Working two jobs and writing a book doesn't leave Meghan with a huge amount of downtime, but when she does manage to find some, she enjoys being with her family and singing, which seems particularly fitting. Whether at work or play, she's determined to make herself heard.