Oct. 30th: We Don’t Give Up! – Christopher S.

October is here, and once again we are celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (#NDEAM). Reflecting a commitment to a robust and competitive American labor force, the 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.T

Please help us in highlighting the accomplishments of all people with disabilities who are employed or have their own business by submitting success stories.  We had a great response last year, and are now in search of more great stories as well as updates!

Success stories can be submitted through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/666Z55P.

October 30, 2019: We Don’t Give Up! – Christopher S.

Christopher working at Outback Steakhouse rolling silverware

Chris is a wonderful guy – tall, dark and handsome. He is a social butterfly, smart with lots of charisma. He is a master of music and all sports. He also loves games. He’s very independent and dependable. Who wouldn’t want a guy like him working for them? For Chris, the only drawback seemed to be that he has a visual impairment – or so society thought!

Chris has held several jobs in his lifetime, but a lot of them were not the right fit, or new management came along and released him. His jobs have included laundry at a hospital, pulling weeds as a groundskeeper, scanning books at a library for the blind, being a soda-jerk at a café until new management came, and shredding at an office. But Chris wanted a real job, with real pay so he could buy gifts for his nephews and parents and help to pay some of the bills.

With assistance from CATCH, and networking, Chris considered opening his own business as a “Shred-man” in his community, but for Chris it would have been a bit complicated so, he had to let go of that dream. His supporters at CATCH assured  Chris they would not give up! Chris and his family wanted something that was the right fit, right area and the right company. Mom realized that they would have to expand their search outside his immediate area. Time was going by fast and people were starting to get discouraged, but Chris said, “I believe in you and we won’t give up.” This made supporters at CATCH keep pushing and work even harder.

Chris applied to a lot of places over the years, but there were always challenges and obstacles. Still no one would give up.

Finally – a lead – a friend told the folks at CATCH about a position at a restaurant. They mentioned it to Chris, and he was thrilled. Job developers had to speak with three different managers, but Chris finally got an interview. Chris spoke about his experiences and his abilities, then he put on the charm! By the end of the interview he had the job and could start the next week. Chris said, “See, we just didn’t give up!” Chris now works at Outback Steakhouse Restaurant rolling silverware and making real money.

~ submitted by December Ledbetter of CATCH