Strong Bond … Stronger Friendship

We all have that one, maybe two (or more), coworkers that are more than just a coworker. It’s someone you really connect with and usually you’ll end up hanging out together outside of work.

We all meet friends differently, but usually school and work are the two most common places. For Shelley Moore and Karen, a participant in Community Living’s Employment Services program, they met through work so to speak.

Karen works at the Marriott St. Louis Airport and eight years ago, she was referred to Community Living’s Employment Services program to receive a job coach. Shelley was Karen’s job coach for seven years before transferring roles at Community Living and, during this time, the two formed a bond. “She’s a special part of my life,” Karen said.

Three years ago, Karen invited Shelley to her work holiday party. “When I went to the Marriott as Karen’s coach, she would introduce me as her job coach,” Shelley said. “When I attend the holiday party, she introduces me as her friend.”

This year, the invite meant a lot to Shelley. Karen had foot surgery a few months ago and is currently using a walker and unable to work. “Unfortunately, Karen was exhausted,” Shelley said. “By the time she parked, walked into the building, visited with her coworkers, ate and got a picture with Santa, she was ready to leave. It was such a big effort for her to come. I told her she didn’t have to come and she looked at me and said, ‘But I know how much you like it.’ She truly believes this event means just as much to me as it does for her.”

And, yes, Shelley admits she is happy when she gets the invite from Karen. And, Karen says it’s a time she can hang out with her friend.

Even though Shelley is no longer Karen’s job coach, the two continue to talk weekly. “I enjoy catching my friend up on my week,” Karen said. “And, I enjoy her telling me about her week. Isn’t that what friends do?”

Photo: Karen and Shelley take their picture with Santa Clause at Karen’s 2016 work Holiday party.