Nine years ago, Jennifer came to ODC as part of the Beginnings service, available to individuals with very significant behavioral or medical challenges. She would accept one and only one staff person as her support while training in the facility; stress or excessive sensory stimulation would cause her to run from the situation or even injure herself.
Over the years, through the dedication of Jennifer’s Beginnings staff, she is now accepting of any staff person to support her. She trains at the facility five days per week, and is able to complete her tasks with quality and speed. She also participates in community outings with ODC’s Day Services groups, which have helped her to become more comfortable and communicative with those she meets.
Was it time to see if Jennifer was ready to try a community employment experience? When approached, she was hesitant, but agreed to give a Goodwill “experience” a try.
How did it turn out? Jennifer struggled a bit during her first visit to Goodwill, but soon after became acclimated and enjoyed the experience. Carla Czarny, ODC Service Navigator, explains:
“Jennifer said, ‘Thank you for taking me to Goodwill’,” said Czarny. “Knowing Jennifer’s struggles with communication, that was huge!”
“To actually see Jennifer now happily leaving ODC every Wednesday to go to Goodwill is an amazing accomplishment,” she said. “Jennifer shows us that each of us is unique, and that our so-called “limitations” should never define us or hold us back.”
Congratulations, Jennifer, on your nomination for ODC’s 2016 Personal Achievement Award!