Kelby, age 29, is a Center client who lives with cerebral palsy. He began his employment journey as sales associate in Wags in a Bag, building his customer service skills and making steps towards his next career path. He came to our pre-employment program with reasonable vocational goals of becoming a front desk attendant to be able to utilize his well-practiced skills in communication. Kenda Curativo, one of our employment specialists, worked with Kelby. She discovered that Kelby had challenges using a keyboard and his speech was slurred and at times he was difficult to understand. She realized that there were going to be some obstacles to overcome for Kelby to be successful.

Kenda reached out to other members of the employment team to share ideas. As a team, they researched and brainstormed ideas for accommodations to help Kelby overcome his challenges. They were able to find an assistive device to aid Kelby in the use of a headset to ‘talk to text’ to create documents using Microsoft Word and Kenda worked with Kelby in focusing on enunciating when speaking. Kelby never lost his sense of hope or courage throughout the entire exploration process. When he hit a road block, he remained patient while Kenda went back to the drawing board to discover new options, reaching out to the Center’s occupational therapists for ideas and recommendations. Kelby’s self-driven motivation, and his desire to overcome and succeed, was the force behind their efforts. He was willing to try new things, reach a little further, broaden his scope a little more, lift a little more weight and work in tandem with Center staff. He held himself with integrity and portrayed a sense of surety that he was going to find a job, and find it soon.

Through the Center’s transition services coordinator, Kenda learned of a business contact looking to fill a position at the call center for St. Louis Clothing Donations, a business that collects household items and clothing for charity by reaching out to consumers via phone across the nation for donations. Kenda assisted Kelby in completing the employment application and set up an interview for him. She also prepared Kelby for the interview and accompanied him during the interview. After the interview, the manager spoke with Kenda privately, because he was concerned about Kelby being a good fit for their business. Kenda persisted and the manager agreed to hire Kelby for a three week trial period, to see if he would be able to meet the expectations of the company, in terms of speed and production. Kenda worked with the floor leader to provide Kelby with legal accommodations to allow him to succeed at this position. After the trial period, Kelby was very pleased to report to his parents that he had been given a permanent position at the call center.

The manager shared with Kenda what a fantastic job Kelby is doing and what a great fit he is for their business. He has been on the job since December and he is one of the top solicitors at the call center and their sales percentages have increased. Kelby is enjoying his job and is making minimum wage plus commissions.