When I first met Alex Gumz, he was a sophomore at Spencer High School participating in a school-to-work transition program supported by DVR. He was a shy, quiet young man. The first question I asked him was if he had thought about his future career path… and the look he gave me was priceless. What sophomore knows what they want to do for the rest of their working life?
We began to talk about Alex’s interests and hobbies. He wanted to start with something that was familiar to him, and he liked working with children, so we set up his first temporary work experience at Spencer Kids Group. Alex loved working with the kids and when his work experience ended, he asked to stay on as a volunteer and is still volunteering to this day.
Alex then expressed an interest in working with animals, and he loved the idea of working on a farm. Farming is not an easy job, but Alex stepped up and did everything that was asked of him! During this time, both I and the other farm employees saw tremendous growth in Alex.
Alex then did an internship at the local grocery store in Spencer. The shy kid I first met a year ago was no more. He finished that internship, and it set him up for where he now is… a permanent employee at Festival Foods. Alex was able to go into that interview with confidence and knowledge of the day-to-day operations of a grocery store. They hired him on the spot.
Alex is a great young man. He was able to get his driver’s license and is now looking forward to volunteering at an animal shelter as well as at Spencer Kids group, where he is a role model for the children he works with. Alex continued to grow with each work experience and he left each workplace a better place, one which recognizes that ‘disability’ does not define ‘ability’.
Congrats Alex on your Personal Achievement Award!
CLICK HERE for photos from Marshfield Awards Celebration.