Meet Rick; he is a man who has never let his disability stop him and he doesn’t mind telling anyone he meets. Rick is employed at the Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley Lebanon Goodwill Store. He assists with donations and processing items for the sales floor. Rick was introduced to the Goodwill Store through the Job and Community Program (JobComm). The JobComm Program assists persons with disabilities; offering employment coaches that work with participants in community teams to provide work experience, along with job discovery and development. Employment coaches encourage individuals to become more independent.
Tracy Wright, Manager of the Lebanon Goodwill Store, has known Rick for more than 2 years. “He would always come to the store as a customer and brighten everyone’s day. Now he is an employee and we can’t imagine a day without him. He scans all our books and CD’s that come in for donations. He enjoys Interacting with customers and employees. Everyone that donates really enjoys it when he comes out to unload their donations because he greets our customers with such excitement. Rick wants to make sure they have such a pleasant experience.”
JobComm is thrilled to have Rick on their team. He is an asset to the Lebanon Goodwill Store and only see great things in the future. But for Rick, it hasn’t always been as smooth. He has encountered many other challenges in his life.
In the fall of 1986, Rick was a freshman in high school and up till then he attended mainstream classes, but high school changed it all. Why is that a big deal? Because it was important to Rick to still be able to attend “regular” classes. “No one with a disability was allowed in regular classes, but I wanted to be in classes with all the other students. The assistant principal of our junior high was transferred to the high school, so he helped advocate for me to the High School, but the principal was not easily convinced.”
So, Rick and the principal negotiated a deal. The deal was that he needed to achieve a C average for 2 quarters in order to stay in mainstream classes. Rick obtained more than just a “C” average; he made the honor roll each quarter!
This is the same perseverance that has led Rick to Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley. “It is my desire to use the perseverance I learned in life to help learn about the retail store and eventually become a manager. I overcame so many challenges to even get the chance to be viewed like everyone else. Just because I have a disability doesn’t mean I am not able to do things like everyone else. It really is all about the mind set and the limits are endless. It just means I must approach things in a different way!”