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The Institute for the Redesign of Learning (IRL) is pleased to share Abel V’s story as this one is close to our hearts as Abel started as a client and now is an IRL employee.  In January 2014, Abel’s father, Modesto, a valued member of our transportation team since 2004, worked with the Regional Center to refer Abel to IRL’s Transition and Adult Services (TAS) for supported employment services.  TAS became Abel’s pillars of support in his job search. Abel quickly demonstrated a passion for computers, software development, photography, and graphic design, which helped him to secure a job offer working at our HQ office.  Abel started with an administrative role, inputting data into a new database to help track new trends, create statistics for the organization, search for grants, and serve as a photographer for events.

“He has always been a mellow guy and always behind the scenes with a big heart! Although he doesn’t express himself much, he really likes to be involved and took an active part on different projects when asked,” said Nita Davis, TAS Program Director. According to his current supervisor, Gabriel Vazquez, Abel was already an active and enthusiastic contributor to the development team, researching grants and taking on minor photography requests from the marketing department. However, Gabriel noted, “after observing his talent and interest in photography (a passion we share), I challenged him with bigger projects.”

Abel recently filmed the story of another TAS client and his video was presented at the San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce meeting in May.  IRL is proudly showcasing his work on our website under our Media Page (A Story of Success and Lexus R.).” Blog | Institute for the Redesign of Learning (

This month, in recognition of his contributions behind-the-scenes and his dedication to IRL, we wanted to spotlight him through an interview.

Gabriel: Abel, tell us about your daily routine… How does a typical day look in Abel’s life?

Abel: If it is one of my work days I wake up at 8:00 am, get dressed, have breakfast, and I get ready to go to work. Since last year, I’ve been mostly working through zoom, due to COVID-19. However, I had the chance to do a few projects outside home for IRL taking pictures and leading some interviews for our videos and newsletters. My work schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm with a break in the middle. If I am not working, I am at home helping with different tasks and doing homework and/or working in different photography and graphic design projects as I am attending Glendale Community College (GCC).

G: That’s great! What are you studying at GCC?

A: Since I am looking to pursue a career in photography, I am attending several classes in graphic design and photography to obtain a major in this field. I really enjoy taking pictures and capturing people’s life moments through the lens of my camera. I am just a few classes away from getting my degree!

G: Is your current job at IRL helping you to achieve this goal?

A: Yes, since I started working for IRL, about eight years ago, I have always been involved in some sort of photography project for the organization. Although, I’ve done several jobs photographing IRL’s events, I feel like I have actually been able to use my photography and graphic design skills learned at GCC, since I started working with you on the videos we did together. Each video had its own challenges, whether it was a physical issue (due to COVID safety regulations), or equipment, or software. But I feel like I was able to use what I’ve learned so far at GCC.

G: Yes, you are doing a great job!

A: I also think that going through the interviewing process has helped me a lot.

G: Why is that?

A: Well, since we get together to talk about the next interviewee and schedule a date and time, write the questions, and rehearse with the client a couple of times before the final recording, it has helped me to open up and communicate better with people outside my regular circle. This new task has forced me to be more outgoing and less shy. It is also helping me to take my work assignments and responsibilities more seriously. And I also like to know that my work is helping the organization and it is on the website for other people to see.

G: Would you recommend this program to others?

A: Yes, I would definitely recommend it. This program is helping me to achieve my goals and become more independent. But the program is just a tool of support. Everything starts with me and I have to push myself to want to be better.

IRL is proud of Abel’s accomplishments and that our TAS program has been a support to him for over seven years.  We look forward to Abel finishing his degree and the opportunities that await him!

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