Congratulations to the Two Winners of the National Disability Employment Appreciation Month Statewide Award

Jawonio is beyond thrilled that two organizations we nominated for the National Disability Employment Appreciation Month Statewide Award have received this prestigious honor. 


Let’s have a round of applause for St. Joseph’s Medical Center and Bark & Purr Pet Store, both in Yonkers. The Jawonio family would like to offer our most sincere congratulations to St. Joseph’s and Bark & Purr, who represent the highest ideals of community support, collaboration and empowerment.


St. Joseph’s on an annual basis reaches out to Jawonio Employment Counselor Caroline to engage us on community events and new programs. The Medical Center’s recruitment each year of interns for summer employment is just one example of its extraordinary commitment, leadership and investment in the next generation and community at large. Summer interns have built strong relationships with St. Joseph’s and very often return to build on these bonds  and give back to the community. The strong links that are built underscore the impactful and lasting impression that St. Joseph’s leaves on its Jawonio interns. 

Jasmine and Caroline Alcocer

St. Joseph’s accommodates many of our program participants who attend high school, are enrolled in summer school and are completing their college studies. The hospital fosters work-life balance while creating an environment where employees can strive to reach their goals and gain real-life work experience. Jawonio is grateful to St. Joseph’s for accommodating the needs of our clients with nontraditional work schedules. And the innovation and independence fostered by this healthcare facility encourages interns from Jawonio to learn priceless time management and decision-making skills. 



The word that sums up St. Joseph’s Medical Center’s employment of our youth is “substantial.” High school students with no work history are offered positions with clerical and mailroom duties; jobs in IT and hospitality; and they are given roles at the front desk and as greeters. Students who have chosen a medical career path learn directly from St. Joseph’s professionals and gain insight into their cutting edge workplace environment and technology, which help drive healthcare today. 

Jawonio’s partnership with St. Joseph’s began in 2018 and since then more than 15 interns have been employed throughout the summer. Many of those interns are now enrolled in college or are participating in vocational training programs. St. Joseph’s has given our youth the invaluable experience, training and tools needed to thrive.

Jawonio is grateful to Bark & Purr Pet Store for supporting work assessments and welcoming at least three youth interns each summer. Bark & Purr works with us to establish natural supports and has shown tremendous flexibility with nontraditional work schedules. Above all, this safe space for our animal friends embraces two ideals at the heart of Jawonio’s mission—creativity and diversity.

Bark & Purr has shown during the pandemic just how strong its commitment to Jawonio can be. This business hosted virtual informational interviews for students at home; demonstrated the highest degree of patience and compassion; and never wavered in its eagerness to collaborate. Also, since 2018, Bark & Purr has employed at least three hearing individuals and one deaf person.


Jawonio interns are given the opportunity to shadow a groomer, work off-site while dogs are picked up and assist as booths are set up for events. Interns increase their social skills and learn about career paths while collaborating with Bark & Purr employees in a buddy system. 


Highlights of the Bark & Purr experience include Yonkers Riverfest, the annual animal pet parade and the opportunity to visit local college campuses for Bark & Purr events. Also, Jawonio interns are recognized for their hard work on Bark & Purr social media platforms. 


Jawonio is especially proud of a deaf client hired by Bark & Purr upon the completion of her 2018 internship. She outdid herself by communicating with the animals through sign language; and teaching two dogs to perform tricks and sit. The owner of a deaf dog was extremely grateful for her work with their cherished pet. 


Jawonio is grateful to Bark & Purr for its role in allowing the community we serve to achieve success in the workplace.

About us

We provide care for thousands of children and adults with special needs each year.

Our mission

Jawonio is a registered 501c3 organization and the premier provider of lifespan services in the Hudson Valley of New York State for individuals with developmental disabilities, behavioral health challenges, and chronic medical conditions. 

Jawonio is dedicated to advancing the independence, well-being, and equality of people with disabilities and special needs.