Students with disabilities need your help to learn, grow, and thrive!

Danny challenged his limits – and got the job!

For a long time, Danny was too shy to try. 

As he worked through Little City’s Employee Development Services program, the soft-spoken Danny had all the skills needed to land a community-based job, but the prospects of interviewing, interacting with customers, and expressing his needs was intimidating. 

So, Danny decided to face all those fears and take on one of the most public jobs out there – working at a grocery store. 

“Danny was really, really nervous at first,” said Jennifer Boland, business and program development manager at Little City. “But with the support and coaching that was provided by Little City he quickly came out of his shell and is doing an amazing job. I’ve seen him come a long way.”

Danny landed his first ever job in October when Mariano’s in Des Plaines hired him after a successful interview process. Since then, Danny has blossomed and has progressively improved in his communication, confidence, and interaction with customers. 

Tom Jahncke, Danny’s job coach at Little City, said Danny has transitioned as well as anyone he has ever worked with and has already seen him go above-and-beyond in the workplace. One day the store manager was urgently looking for someone to retrieve carts after another employee did not show up and Danny quickly volunteered despite never having done the task. Tom helped Danny learn all the safety procedures involved as Danny went out and did the job. 

“He helped them out when they really needed it and he had a great attitude about it,” Tom said. “The team at Mariano’s is great and they love Danny, and he is giving them reasons to love him. He cares about his work, and he loves his work.” 

Another instance where Danny showed incredible growth was when he helped a customer bring groceries to her car after bagging them for her. A situation that once seemed impossible given Danny’s shyness turned out to be a great moment as Danny learned the woman also had a son who went to Little City. 

Tom said he continues to work with Danny on gaining the confidence to interact with cashiers and customers, but he can leave Danny on his own more and more. Tom expects that, by mid-January, Danny won’t need his supervision any longer.

“He still has a tendency to look at me for help or answers when I’m there, but he doesn’t need it,” Tom said. “I’ve seen him figure out things on his own and the people at Mariano’s are great and a natural support system for him. He is doing great and will do great there. I can already see him just getting better and better with all his interactions.”

Thanks to supporters like you, dozens of people with disabilities just like Danny have graduated from Little City’s Employee Development Services program and gone on to land life-changing jobs – helping them reach their unique potential!