Making decisions can be hard. But, for Daniel, participant in Community Living, Inc.’s Employment Services program, walking in Community Living’s doors was easy.
He came to Community Living’s Employment Services Department because he was looking to become a more active member of his community and wanting to enrich his life through competitive employment. What he maybe doesn’t realize is how he has touched the lives of the staff and regulars at Brewskeez Bar and Restaurant in O’Fallon where he is a porter.
He works on Wednesday nights, which is Church at the Bar night! Yep, you read that correctly – Brewskeez hosts a non-denominational church service in a judgment-free zone from 7-8 p.m. every Wednesday. “I like the people here,” Daniel said. “I have a fun time talking to the regulars. It’s my favorite part of my job.”
He admits that sounds strange. When Daniel first started, he was shy, which caused some difficulty when he entered the working world. Community Living’s Employment program helped Daniel grow and achieve success in his position; however, so did the regulars. “Daniel is dearly loved by us all,” one of the regulars said. “He brings a sense of joy to our night.”
Daniel knows the regulars care for him, but the staff also cares. “He’s always nice to me and always makes me happy to be here,” Alison McCormack, server, said. “It’s inspiring to see someone with such warmth.” As Jennae Beine, server, pointed out, “He brings a lot of light to Brewskeez. He’s very welcoming to all.”
When Daniel heard what others said about him, he blushed and then added, “I like being here,” Daniel said. “It’s my happy place and I feel excited to be here.” He also enjoys the independence of having a job and the paycheck, which he spends on traveling and food. Recently, he went to New Zealand and Australia with his family where he said the food was delicious.
Now, Daniel is working independently and has tremendous pride in his accomplishments. “My job has helped me realize who I am as a person,” Daniel said. “I’m strong and independent.” He has also commented that through the help from Community Living, he is now able to work on his own and he has the confidence to do so. “I’m no longer afraid of my disability,” Daniel said. “I know I can do my job myself.”