Brenda, at 58 years old, had years of experience working in different group employment programs and had a lot of time spent within group settings.

Through your support, the employment program at Little City provided her – like so many others – with group work opportunities doing jobs at hospitals and even a publishing company putting stickers on books. The group settings are comfortable for participants, but for Brenda it limited her desire for independence and growth. So in 2021, she took the leap to pursue a community-based job that would require her to be all on her own.

Midway through the year, Brenda was paired with a new job coach, Anna. The pair clicked immediately as Brenda started in the EDS program and began her classroom work – an intensive course to develop interview skills, job etiquette, and the independence needed to handle a full community-based job.

“From the very beginning, she’s been genuinely excited to get into the workforce,” Anna said. “It was a dream situation for her. She works really, really hard to learn the tasks on the job.”

In just six months, Brenda found success in the classroom and her dream job became a reality – she landed a job at the Daily Herald as a paper processor. Proving that it is never too late to make a change and accomplish a dream. It is support from donors like you that participants are able to be provided with classroom training and intensive coursework to help prepare them for community-based jobs. It was the classroom that Brenda excelled at and prepared her the most for her leap!

“Brenda is very focused and works so hard on her classwork. She’s always paying attention and trying to learn everything she can,” said Cheryl Burke, a classroom teacher for the EDS program. “You have to prove yourself in the classroom and show you have the skills someone would desire to hire you. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or how old you are, these students can make these great accomplishments happen like Brenda.”

It didn’t take long for Brenda to become a leader by example in the class and now she is employed. Brenda works three days a week at the Daily Herald and is learning to use the PACE system to handle her own transportation. She said she plans to keep working at the Daily Herald for as long as she can.

“I think this is a perfect fit for her,” Anna said. “The work environment here has been great, and they are very patient and let her grow into the job and get comfortable.”