Mackenna G. is a 24 year old extraordinary young man with Asperger’s. Mac (as he likes to be called), was referred to WOU from Belmont public schools, to prepare, and help with his transition out of the LABBB program and into the working world. On February 23, 2012, Mac began his journey with WOU.
Initially, Mac would only work at a convenience store down the street from his home, but as time went on he became more open to other ideas. WOU first secured Mac a work assessment at The Beech Street Center which is the local senior center actually located in his neighborhood. Mac began his time at the Beech Street Center cleaning up lunch, clearing tables, and cleaning the kitchen. At first he would not speak to the patrons, and would barely use a whisper when asking “are you done with that”. As time went on, Mac became a vital part of the lunch crew, helping to serve plates of food as well as cleaning up. Mac also began answering patrons’ questions, as well as, joking around with his fellow volunteers. Upon completing the work assessment, Mac continued to volunteer at the Beech Street Center and currently does so twice per week.
After Mac’s work assessment was complete we started working on his goal of working in his community. Due to a team member having a great CI at the Dollar Tree in Lexington, Mac filled out an application, and we dropped off his resume. Laurie the manager looked over Mac’s application and resume and asked Mac to come back two days later for an interview. A t the interview, Mac was hired on the spot, and I had never seen someone so beaming with pride, and accomplishment. Mac began working three days a week at the Dollar Tree as a “recoverer”. WOU was with Mac full time for the first month, until he grasped signing in and out, and until he became more comfortable with his co- workers. Mac was faded to half shift support, then a couple of hours of support each shift, and now we consult on the job site twice a week. Mac also performs many more duties at The Dollar Tree, he now stocks (and has some of the highest productivity on the stocking crew), as well as helps with balloons when needed. Mac also struggled with answering customers’ questions, where now he shows them where things are and always is polite and has great eye contact. One customer even went online to fill out a survey about Mac to say how helpful he was, and how she wished more workers were like him. Mac’s success is due to his determination to be independent in traditional employment, as well as, amazing natural supports he has developed at his work. Mac’s mom thanks me each time I speak to her about how much we have done for Mac and his family, but it is all Mac. It is his determination that has gotten him this far. Mac is a shining example of what we are about here at Work Opportunities unlimited and it has been an honor watching Mac grow into the great worker he has become.