Success Stories 2022
Tara was unemployed for almost two years due to a wrist injury and Covid. In July 2021 she was hired at McLendon’s hardware in Kent for a part time summer position watering plants in the garden center. Tara demonstrated that she was a hard worker; soon she was moved to a full-time position helping to stock the shelves. She is thriving with her increased responsibility and regularly receives significant praise for her efforts. She is very proud of herself and enjoys her accomplishments. Recently, she took on more tasks as a leader with inventory control for the store as well as their online store. Kudos to Tara and her ENSO support team who was able to gain her trust and help her realize her abilities.
In addition to work, Tara is very athletic and has played softball and basketball for the Special Olympics several times.
Alex has been working at Safeway for the past four years. Originally, he had been splitting his time between two different stores.
Recently he has been able to work solely at one store. He had challenges with focus and lack of attention for a while but with some ongoing coaching support, he has shown great improvement. Alex was originally scheduled to work between 15-19 hours per week, but due to his ability to get back on task and being more dependable during his shift, the leadership team showed their appreciation of his efforts and has increased his hours to 32 hours per week! Some of his duties include customer service support of bringing carts in from the lot, bagging groceries and greeting customers at the door. When he is not helping people, Alex loves to watch comedy movies with his family.
Chris is an amazing person and incredible employee. He has worked with ENSO and Safeway since August 2019. He demonstrated great courage and dedication as he worked as a frontline worker through the pandemic. He is very well-liked and has so many responsibilities that he is considered a great asset to the team. His primary duty is as a courtesy clerk, where he's responsible for bagging groceries, monitoring the liquor cabinet as a key holder, greets customers, carries groceries to customers' vehicles, collects carts from the parking lot and runs products back and forth to the shelves as needed. He does a great job communicating with his teammates via a handheld radio. When not working, Chris loves playing video games and watching movies and just recently has been house sitting for his family’s puppies.
Rebecca started working at Trader Joe's in November of 2021. Before the pandemic, she worked in an office as an office clerk. She was able to separate mail and work with files. Rebecca enjoyed her employment but due to the pandemic, they laid her off. ENSO developed Trader Joe's and was able to carve a position for Rebecca to take out garbage, clean restrooms, and do some stocking. Due to Rebecca’s dementia, she has needed more coaching and cues to remember the tasks she needs to complete. Rebecca is loved at Trader Joe's; they treat her like a star. When she walks into work everyone greets her, says hi and waves. She gladly responds with a great smile and a wave. She has been learning so much and continues to work successfully with the help of the new visual cues that remind her which tasks are next and how to complete the tasks.
Jerome has worked at Cheesecake Factory in Tukwila since 2009. During the pandemic he was laid off from April 2020 to May 2021. Cheesecake Factory welcomed Jerome back when the restaurant’s business picked back up. Jerome has the same schedule as before of two days a week for two hours each day. Jerome did well in remembering his tasks and getting back into the swing of emptying the garbage, rolling silverware and assisting with other stocking activities. Jerome’s biggest challenge has always been clocking in and out of work Within about two months of his return Jerome was successfully clocking in and out on time. The management staff enjoy working with Jerome and his help is greatly appreciated.
Ben has been working at Boathouse 19 in Pierce County for six years. He started working in 2014 and stopped in 2020 due to the pandemic and returned to work in September 2021. There were some concerns that his position would completely go away because the restaurant was sold to new owners but happily, they have kept him on the team. His main duty is rolling silverware and after two months back, broke his record of rolling over 200 sets. Ben is blind and has been very patient with learning how to get back into the groove of work as the new management switched from paper to cloth napkins. Ben has a great sense of humor and can find the humor in everything. He loves loud noises and finds great joy when the train passes by the restaurant. He also loves music, especially Santana!
David started working at St. Vincent DePaul’s in September 2018. In March of 2020, David was temporarily laid off due to the pandemic. David, with help from ENSO, stayed in contact with St. Vincent DePaul to get his hours back when they reopened. In June of 2021, David was able to slowly start back to work as he regained his stamina. He wanted to work back up to his two days a week. David works to separate clothing, hanging some for sale and some for a discard pile. This is in addition to his other tasks of picking up hangers from the floor and organizing different sections in the store. Over the several years of his employment, David has learned to stay focused as well as to finish one task before he moves onto the next. David has been very productive with his tasks on his own and needs little support from his job coach. Moving forward David has big goals to expand his duties to other areas of St. Vincent DePaul, such as organizing outdoor items, participating in donation retrieval from customers, and pricing items. Management at St. Vincent DePaul has expressed their gratitude towards David’s work and the progress he has made over time.
Tiffany started working at JoAnn’s Fabrics in November 2021. Tiffany was welcomed by her manager and all the staff at JoAnn’s. They were excited to get to know her and assist her with any questions she may have. Clocking in was a difficulty that Tiffany was quickly able to overcome and could do it on her own successfully. Tiffany's first task was learning how to put away fabrics, and then straighten fabrics. She now works throughout the store to ensure that all the fabrics are straightened. She also makes sure all the T-shirts are folded and checks the other areas around the store to make sure they are organized and straightened. Tiffany loves her job and is always excited to see her coworkers. Currently, Tiffany works two days a week. ENSO and Tiffany are continually speaking with JoAnns to identify more tasks allowing Tiffany to grow in her position and hopefully work more hours. She has been saving up to go on trips and get some tattoos.
While Michael was starting his first paid job, ENSO staff had a lot to learn about how Michael, who is visually impaired, uses his senses to navigate through public interactions. We learned how to work by cueing and how Michael could listen for approaching footsteps to say thank you when money was dropped in the kettle. ENSO’s job coach would cue by saying “Good morning” and then Michael would say, “Ho Ho Merry Christmas” in response as he understood that the customer was in front of the kettle. Michael will be moving into Meals on Wheels as a volunteer position and is excited to return in November 2022.
Makalya learned customer service by greeting people, having conversations and interactions with the public. Makayla dealt with some of the coldest conditions and was bundled up to stay warm and did it all with a great smile and attitude. Makayla experienced a few mild seizures during her shifts, ENSO and Makalya were able to work through the seizures with little knowledge to the public and she was able to regain her composure and continue the conversations seamlessly. She was excited to have paid employment to purchase gifts for her family for Christmas. Makayla’s next steps is to find paid employment working a few hours.
Mindy has been a bell ringer with the Salvation Army for seven years. Her love for bell ringing is beyond compare. Any time you mention work or looking for employment she always wants you to know that she is a bell ringer and will always do bell ringing no matter what job she has at the time. For all the years she has been bell ringing she has continued to improve with 2021 being her best year yet. When Mindy started, she needed reminders to smile and engage with the customers, and last year, she had many engaging conversations, greeting everyone often and regularly with a beautiful smile. Last year, Mindy worked long hours, five days a week by herself. The only support needed by ENSO is at the end of her work shift in the evening when she was in the dark with the full kettle. Mindy consistently has the highest amount of donations in a day among the bell ringers which Salvation Army appreciates. When Mindy looks for employment for the rest of the year, she always wants to make sure to have the flexibility that allows her to work with her schedule of November and December bell ringing.
Robert has enjoyed being a Salvation Army bell ringer for years. He had to take a few years off due to medical issues but was able to return in 2021 and ring for two to three days a week. He has a jolly personality that fits the season, and everyone loves his boisterous inviting “Ho Ho Ho”! He enjoys the interactions with the public and enjoys encouraging donations. Robert has been excited about getting back involved with Salvation Army this last year to see how his new limitations can be tested for other potential paid employment. Robert and ENSO learned a lot about his ability to persevere and adapt to changes that bell ringing presents. Robert is excited to continue next year with bell ringing and is hoping to increase his days from two or three to three or four days a week.
Cliff started at Albertsons in October of 2021 and has been growing in his position ever since. Obtaining employment for Cliff has been a difficult road with many medical obstacles creating barriers to successful employment. In October Cliff was healthy enough to move forward with a courtesy clerk position at Safeway. When Cliff started, he was eager to work, although it required some flexibility on Albertsons behalf to understand Cliff’s health struggles. ENSO and Cliff worked together to advocate for Cliff’s needs and have a better understanding of his obstacles for optimal success for Cliff at Albertsons. After a several months of building up his stamina and medical awareness, Cliff started thriving in his position as a courtesy clerk. Cliff was able to move from full support to only a once a week check in due to his growth in his position. He successfully bags groceries, retrieves carts, and does other cleaning tasks at Albertsons. His managers and coworkers appreciate all his hard work.
Molly was working with ENSO, since 2019, as a participant for several years as a bus aide for Durham Bus Services. She did a great job memorizing all the bus routes and learning the names of the regulars on her route who eventually became her friends. After leaving her position in March 2022 due to the challenges of the Covid pandemic, she demonstrated great initiative and began networking to create an opportunity for herself at Target. She contacted someone she knew who worked there and after applying for a two-week temporary position, was asked to remain on staff as a full-time employee in April 2022. Molly is known for her great customer service and is responsible for welcoming customers and helping them to find their way around the store during a current remodel. During her shift, Molly is assigned to half of the store and utilizes walkie talkies to communicate with other team members as needed. Other duties include answering the main phone and transferring calls to other Target locations. Molly loves spending time with her family and dog Daisy. She also loves to play the slot machines and hang out at Fizzy Mulligans in her spare time.
Maddie was hired as a dishwasher at Evergreen Fountains in September 2021. This was a carved position that emphasized her strength in organizing, desire to work hard, and dedication to doing a good job. She loves what she is doing, and her confidence has been increasing every day. She currently works by herself as the only dishwasher and really “owns” the dish pit area! She has increased her speed over the last few months as well as improved her organizational skills becoming extremely efficient at her job. Maddie has become so confident in herself and her job that she has been assisting her co-workers in the dining area by pouring coffee to the guests when she is caught up with her duties in the kitchen. Maddie is very well-liked and has made a lot of friends. She likes all kinds of music and is known to laugh a lot.
Adam joined ENSO in April 2021 and was hired at Cyrus O’Leary’s making pies in June. Unfortunately, his time there was over in December of 2021, and he remained unemployed until June 2022. During his unemployment, Adam was very proactive in applying for jobs on his own and had several phone interviews. He was asked if would like to go back to work with one of his previous employers from several years ago. He was thrilled at the opportunity! Adam is back to work doing janitorial duties with Cleanworks and has embraced it wholeheartedly. He has shown for up every shift on time and is ready to go. His current contract is to prepare several apartments for new students at Gonzaga University. Duties include scrubbing shower stalls, vacuuming carpets, mopping all floors, and washing windows and doors inside and outside. Adam is a hard worker and likes to listen to his radio while working.
In November 2021, Cathryn got her first job at Rose and Blossom. Unfortunately, when her mom passed, she had to move into a group home and resign her job in May, 2022. Up until that time, Cathryn worked at Rose and Blossom 2 hours a week as an Office Assistant. She took on many tasks and learned some new skills during her time there. Cathryn caught on to her tasks quickly and had the ability to do them independently. Some of her tasks were cleaning, pricing, filling water tubes, attaching food packets to cards, making logo cards as a bouquet attachments, inventory, and filling buckets with card holders. Rose and Blossom employees were incredibly supportive of Cathryn and enjoyed her being around the shop. Cathryn always had a positive attitude when she came to work even after her loss and enjoyed what she did there. She hopes to find something similar that is closer to her new home. Cathryn enjoys listening to country music and eating pizza!
Megan was hired as a janitor for Anthony's Fish House in October 2021. She has come a long way from working a very part time schedule of six hours a week to currently being able to work between 12-16 hours each week. She originally found her position challenging and got fatigued very easily but now she has increased her stamina as well as her tasks and duties. Some of her duties include vacuuming all areas of the restaurant, and surface and deep cleaning in the rest rooms. Megan was able to develop a routine that made sense for her and is motivated to achieve several personal goals. She is working hard to increase her independence, learn how to communicate appropriately with others and demonstrate improved decision making about money management. Megan has improved her workload by completing the tasks required of her at Anthony's and is a self-starter once she arrives to work. She has been demonstrating great awareness about tasks that may have been missed and will circle back to make sure they are completed. She is also now able to take paratransit by herself and is becoming more social with some of the staff. Megan likes to get books from the neighborhood library to read and loves her dog and new puppy. Megan is very proud to be working at Anthony’s and her recent accomplishments!