Meet John & LaVon

There are those we meet in life with the power to make us smile or laugh without ever needing to try. John and Lavon are two examples of such people. John and Lavon work together as a team at the Goodwill Outlet Warehouse on Woodman Drive in Dayton. For over a year, the two of them have been responsible for producing bales of cardboard and salvaged clothing that will be sent to recycling centers around the country. John and Lavon are also a part of Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley’s Job and Community Connections program (JobComm), a program that helps individuals with developmental disabilities find and retain employment through skills training that promotes professional development. With the help of their Job Coach, John and Lavon have blossomed and achieved greater independence in their lives.

As participants in the JobComm program, John and Lavon are assigned a Job Coach, an individual who is responsible for transporting them to and from work and encouraging positive outcomes while they are working in their positions. John and Lavon both have a set production goal of 2 bales of cardboard/salvaged linen a day, a goal that they both hit regularly. Their Job Coach ensures that Lavon and John are working to meet this goal while demonstrating appropriate behavior for the workplace. “This program is teaching me good skills and how to be a good employee,” says Lavon. This is made clear by Lavon and John’s outstanding performance. The two of them are quick to help others, diligent in their work and do it all with a smile. They are both currently working on listening skills with Kim, their job coach. “Lavon is working on active listening and the importance of eye contact,” Kim reports. “John is working on listening to directions all the way through before taking action.”

John and Lavon have both held positions outside of Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley where job coaches were not provided. John previously worked at Taco Bell for 30 years but felt he was limited in his advancement. Lavon had previous jobs at O’Charley’s and Do It Best, but also felt a lack of professional growth. “Our coach here helps us out a lot and teaches us new skills,” says John. With the support provided by the JobComm program, John and Lavon have been able to flourish in their professional development while forming strong bonds with one another. “They make a great team,” says Kim, their Job Coach.

John and Lavon’s professional success allows them to live fuller lives off the clock. With their hard-earned dollars, the two like to relax in different ways. John loves buying new clothes and getting dressed up for local dances, while Lavon loves renting old movies and buying classic ’60s records. “JobComm has definitely enhanced their lives,” Kim attests. “They look forward to coming to work, they have friends…they’re making progress. It’s a wonderful thing.”

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