From a childhood filled with communication difficulty to flourishing as an assistant at a local farmer’s market, January 2017 Participant of the Month Jamie Kirk is a young man on the move.
Jamie’s mother, Lisa Kirk credits this to years of hard work and the support of many professionals along the journey. As a child, Jamie’s inability to communicate and connect with the world led to him throwing multiple tantrums and acting out. When Jamie was five years old, Lisa Kirk found a way to communicate with him: using quotes from his favorite movies to ask and answer questions. It was the beginning of a breakthrough, and progress was rapid.
“More important than his success with employment is the fact that he is happy.”
Lisa attributes Jamie’s success to his strong work ethic and desire to complete each task to the best of his ability. Jamie is also very good at being able to working independently once he understands expectations. These qualities helped Jamie stand out from his peers during a job training program through Lebanon High School. Jamie was the only person hired by Hometown IGA upon completion of the program.
Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley was privileged to see Jamie’s strong work ethic firsthand through the Warren Co Summer Youth program. As a participant in the Job Com summer youth employment program, Jamie’s favorite volunteer location was a local organic farm. Jamie would be given a task of harvesting the onions, and would only stop when he knew he had completed his row. He also was able to easily adapt to changes in the schedule or job expectations. One of his invaluable skills is his ability to give perfect directions to anywhere in Warren County. Jamie also always had a positive, happy attitude.
As a mom, Lisa Kirk said she knew the world would not conform to her son, and that it was her job to help him be able to live in the same world as everyone else. She is very proud of the progress her son has made, that he is employed and continuing to take classes during the week.
“More important than his success with employment is the fact that he is happy,” she said.