Hi! I am Emily. I love my family very much – mom and dad, Dawn and Michael; my brother, Matt; my grandma, Audrey; and my dog, Molly, as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins. We do lots of fun things together and we work together. I help with chores at home and I help my mom with her school papers.
I’m proud to be part of Special Olympics. I have been participating for 29 years! Bowling, basketball and bocce ball are my favorite sports. I love the friendships I have made in Special Olympics. We have tons of fun at state competitions. I’m also a volunteer with my church. I love helping out with Sunday school and being a member of the Ladies’ Guild. When I’m with my church group, I help tie quilts, collect food and help raise money for people in need.
I’m a hard worker. I have been employed as an Associate at the Walmart in Wentzville for 18 years! While I was in high school, I was asked to be part of a six-week summer work pilot program. I worked at Walmart doing different jobs. I was able to learn what my strengths were and what I liked to do. When the six weeks were over, Walmart asked me to interview for a part-time job. I did and I got the job!
Before I graduated, I was introduced to Community Living’s Employment Services program and a job coach. If I didn’t have the help of a job coach, my job would be difficult. I, like everyone else, can get frustrated with my job. My job coach helps me communicate with my support managers and also gives me positive ideas to overcome my frustrations.
I continue to learn new things about my job and myself. During my time at Walmart, I have learned how to cope with stress, and sometimes I surprise myself at how well I get through it. My job coach has taught me breathing techniques that help me face any situation that comes my way. I am a caring person and I enjoy helping customers at Walmart. I also like helping my coworkers when they need help. “We are a family,” that’s what our store manager tells us. I take pride in what I do to be part of this family. Even though I have special needs, I focus on doing my best on the jobs I can do.
My job is also important to me because I am making a difference by being a helpful member of my community. I have volunteered my time when our store helps others in need. In August, we stuffed book bags with new school supplies for local children.
It’s great to earn my own paycheck! I have learned how to save money and balance my checkbook. I spend some money on the fun things I like to do. I buy things I need like clothes and new bowling shoes for Special Olympics. Next year, I will attend a convention in New Mexico with my church friends. Right now, I am saving money to do that. I am so excited because I have never been to New Mexico!
In my spare time, I enjoy listening to soundtracks from musicals and playing games on my Kindle. I also like to watch Disney movies, “Full House” reruns and old movies like “The Sting.”
Community Living’s Employment Services program has been a big help with my job. I am glad they are there for me. Thanks for reading my story.
This letter, written by Emily, was done so for Community Living’s 2016 Year-End Appeal. If you would like to make a donation to Community Living’s Employment Services program to provide tools and training to help individuals like Emily who are served by the program, click here.