Solomons, MD- On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Southern Maryland Community Resources launched an all-new virtual speaker series entitled “Work in Progress”. The series aims to provide a window into all manner of occupations through the voices of experienced people working in various fields.

Throughout the series, SMCR’s members and the community are invited to learn about the occupation presented, and interview the guest speaker.
For the first guest speaker in the series, SMCR members were thrilled to be joined by author Ashley E. Kauffman of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Kauffman, the author of the children’s book “If You Should Meet an Elephant”, holds a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in Children’s Literature through Penn State University. She suggested the fortuitous date of March 2nd because it was Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

SMCR members and community members were treated to a virtual reading of Kauffman’s book, while the pages of the book were displayed in a different window. Following the reading, the author took questions from around the virtual room. Topics ranged from job-related questions to those about Kauffman’s life and experiences. Kauffman explained to the room that she is legally blind, which resonated with many of those attending the event who also have disabilities. “I refer to myself as differently-abled,” said Kauffman. She doesn’t let visual impairment set her back. Her visual impairment, she says, makes her unique. “If anything, it has made me more determined.”

Kristin Beaver, Chair of SMCR was in attendance that night. “I think it was really inspiring for me and especially for our members with developmental differences on the call to know that you can have a humble beginning and truly shine when you find what you’re good at and go after that dream.” Several members on the call remarked on Kauffman’s graciousness when taking questions, and her thoughtful answers. “For our first speaker in the Work in Progress series, Ashley was perfect. She set a high bar!”

SMCR is currently seeking guest speaker submissions for its Work in Progress series. The organization is particularly interested in hearing from those with jobs in the arts, service, hospitality, manufacturing, agriculture, aviation, or other very hands-on positions. Through this series, SMCR hopes to inspire its members to learn new skills and spark new interests, while providing nuggets of job-training through advice from experts in the field. If you are interested in learning more and applying to join one of our virtual events, please email SMCR at info@somdcr.org.

You may also visit the website at www.somdcr.org to learn more about SMCR.

“If You Should Meet an Elephant” by Ashley E. Kauffman can be purchased through The Charles Bruce Foundation at charlesbrucefoundation.square.site.


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