Horry County, South Carolina-based businesses are lending youngsters with disabilities a helping hand by giving them summer jobs – and these local companies are not at a loss either.
The owner of The Roasted Bean, a one-of-a-kind coffee shop where they roast their own beans, Tj Weeden says it not only gears up the employee with various skills that incite an incredible feeling of achievement but also show other employees that there are ample of people on this big blue marble. Savannah Thompson of Savannah's Playground was recently hired by The Roasted Bean in The Market Common. Weeden saw her at the register and without wasting much time, he asked her if she'd be interested in working there on Mondays in the summer after her graduation.
She's an enthusiastic worker, Weeden adds. She emits pride and joy just as if she loves waking up on Monday and head straight to work. What stands out, though, is that she is learning teamwork and helping them at the same time.
Thompson was born with a rare condition called Williams Syndrome, which leads to mental as well as physical disabilities. According to Lance Thompson, Savannah’s father, she underwent an open-heart surgery when she was just a little over 3. As a result, she's had major problems growing up, he added.
However, that did not dash Savannah’s hopes and she graduated high school. Now, she manages two jobs, working at The Roasted Bean and at Stephanie’s Salon and Day Spa without breaking much of a sweat.
Thanks to such opportunities, people with disabilities have a chance to develop some social skills and much-needed work experience, thus giving them a sense of self-worth, her father said.
Thompson is ready to start the LIFE program at Coastal Carolina University this fall.
Gabriel Rodriguez, who is popularly known as G, is a self-proclaimed Chanticleers’ No. 1 fan.
G is already in the aforesaid LIFE program. This summer, he has an internship with a computer lab at CCU and there's a possibility that could change into a part-time paid position this fall.
His job involves greeting customers who have problems either with their mobile devices or computers.
Rodriguez was just about three years old when he was diagnosed with autism, according to his mother Aixa Rodriguez. Despite being completely aware of his own limitations, Rodriguez has never failed to achieve the goals he sets for himself, she said.
In fact, he has already started planning his course of action after college. But for the time being, he just wants to be a banker.
It is imperative to bear in mind that people with disabilities have the same goals as those without a physical or mental disability. This comprises a relevant job, self-reliance, and the ability to contribute.
They have expertise that businesses can utilize even though they are different and might adopt an unconventional way to develop the skills. As part of the society, we must support them so they can be more productive, Aixa Rodriguez suggests.
Aside from helping people with disabilities to get jobs and giving them the technique to be successful, SOS Health Care offers a lot of other services. Executive director Sarah Pope claims it is one of the biggest job placement companies for disabled people in the region.
For about a couple of years now, SOS Health Care has hosted a job coaching program. In collaboration with life skills program, the organization has helped around 75 adults.
Not too long ago, four participants were offered a job at Paula Deen’s new restaurant to roll silverware, Pope noted.
In addition to that, several people were placed at Ripley’s Aquarium to do food prep for their kitchen. One of the recently hired people now takes part in the live mermaid show. In the bid to train youngsters for future jobs, SOS Health Care is hosting a career camp right now. (Image: Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay)