success_alex_brustersA Sweet Carved Job!!

Alex M. is an inspiration to all those he encounters. His story is one of perseverance despite incredible odds. In June of 2011, Alex was on summer vacation following his second year at Carolina Coastal where he studied Marine Biology when he was involved in a car accident. The resulting Traumatic Brain Injury took his life down a much different path. A path that would require perseverance, self-motivation, and patience. Despite the challenges, he has maintained his focus on healing himself, and throughout it all has maintained an extremely positive attitude. In November 2012, Alex began receiving supported employment services from the Maryland Central team. With the help of WOU, Alex works each week at Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in Glen Burnie where he makes waffle cones and waffle bowls. Alex is supported by his CRS, Victor Campbell from the Maryland Central team, who has worked with him on volunteer jobs and at Bruster’s. Victor and Alex work well together and Victor has been instrumental in helping Alex transition into the work environment. Alex enjoys working with his peers, and of course the occasional broken cone that ends up as a snack.

Alex came to WOU after completing his rehabilitation program and ever since, has made steady progress. Alex, who is very interested in arts, worked as a volunteer for KIDZART where he was an assistant instructor for their first and second grader art program. Alex used to be involved in graffiti art, some of which still hangs in his bedroom, but his art at KIDZART was a little more traditional.

After some time with KIDZART, Alex decided he wanted part time paid employment, which is what brought him to Bruster’s ice cream, but the job at Bruster’s offered even more. It helped him with his motor skills, vocalization of speech through conversations with his co-workers and most of all perhaps – his memory. For example, the first day Alex was shown the steps of the process, mixing the batter to make the bowls and cones. He was shown two times and he had written directions on how to mix the batter, but after a couple of days of the CRS helping Alex, he’d picked up the process by himself.

Over a short period of time, Alex has become more independent, and does not require his CRS to do any of his tasks at Bruster’s for him. Soon Alex will progress to making ice cream sandwiches and cakes, as well as making the actual ice cream in the machine and ultimately interacting with the public as a cashier. All of this helps to fulfill one of the rehab requirements which is to participate in activities that stimulate the mind, to help it heal.

When Alex isn’t volunteering or working at Bruster’s, he attends as many Ravens and Orioles games as he can, plus attending his younger sister, Abby’s college lacrosse games. Alex also recently purchased a paddle board and will be paddle boarding on the Bodkin Creek as a way to improve his balance. He goes for speech therapy and is a member of a TBI support group. One day soon, Alex hopes to go back to college. This time however, Alex would like to become an elementary school teacher like his mom Colleen and his older sister Breeyn. With his positive attitude and resilience there is no doubt Alex will reach whatever he goal he sets his mind to. In the meantime, he’ll continue to work at Bruster’s enjoying the friendly atmosphere and the occasional snack of a broken cone or bowl.