Wilston – The pandemic won’t stop him

PWI’s commitment to people with disabilities includes providing the tools and resources they need, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Covid-19 affected PWI clients in many unfortunate ways. The corona virus outbreak tore their safety net, leaving many PWI clients at risk–confused, stressed and struggling with a disrupted routine.

Willston at computerWillston, a PWI facility janitor, was one of them. More than 10 years ago, Willston became a PWI Contract Services client. Later, he began working as a janitor. He loved his work and looked forward to his daily interaction with peers and colleagues that revived his sense of purpose.

But, then in March 2020, Covid-19 hit and the PWI facility was shut down. Willston, age 70, was at home, alone, disconnected from the world. He truly missed the PWI facility folks he had come to know and appreciate.

PWI understood the isolation that the “stay-at-home” orders had created for their clients and realized the need for additional support, especially for the economically marginalized. In response, PWI developed a virtual service that has been a lifesaver to many PWI clients dealing with social isolation.

Although Willston did not have a computer or a good understanding of the Internet, PWI supplied him with a device and a tech-savvy Employment Training Specialist. In turn, Willston provided the enthusiasm and willingness to join the virtual services and is now online daily with his peers.

Willston persevered and did not give up even when he was frustrated. He stuck with it. Today, Willston has a much better understanding of the Internet. He has even decided to purchase a computer and Internet service.

Willston enjoys watching old westerns and has discovered YouTube. “Rawhide,” “The Lone Ranger” and “The Rifleman” are now at his fingertips.

When Willston reflects on the pandemic, he says, “The world is different, and I was scared. At first, I did not understand the computer, but I did not give up. Now there is a new window for me to look through. It is fun, and I am not scared.”

Darren – PWI Client since 2012

Darren disinfecting shopping carts at work.Darren has used many of the services that we provide. Most recently, Darren has transitioned from CORE to Tailored Day Services. While in the CORE department Darren was a great employee at a local business a few days per week. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Darren was laid off at that company. PWI knows that Darren is a hard worker who has a great work ethic, and his supervisor encouraged him to transfer into PWI’s new Tailored Day Service and begin the process of searching for a job once again. Darren jumped on the opportunity and met with his supervisor numerous times per week discussing job opportunities, different types of employment Darren would be interested in, and doing some personal growth activities. Darren received a job offer at the Home Depot in Mira Mesa and was the first PWI Tailored Day Service client to obtain employment in the community…ALL during a national pandemic! Way to go Darren!

Juan – Lowe’s hardware store employee

Juan - Individual Placement at Lowe'sJuan enrolled joined PWI in September 2011. A bit shy and reserved at first, Juan slowly began to display leadership skills and asked for more responsibilities. PWI staff quickly recognized Juan’s potential for employment in the community and encouraged him to pursue employment through the Individual Placement service. Juan was hired by Lowe’s Hardware Store, through the Individual Placement service. Within the first month, Juan was named “Employee of the Month” by Lowe’s for his outstanding work performance and customer service. Now confident in his abilities and skills, Juan expressed the desire to return to the South Bay Work and Training Center to share his growth and to encourage others to meet their full potential. On his day off Juan did just that, a true example and leader for his fellow PWI coworkers.

Christopher – Regal Cinemas employee

Christopher - La Quinta Inn Employee

Christopher is a veteran PWI client, and has found employment through PWI’s Individual Placement service for over 16 years. Christopher is a loyal, hardworking, highly capable young man who has utilized the opportunities for growth and development presented by PWI to the fullest. Christopher’s ultimate goal is to buy a house, and he has focused on that goal by accepting positions that will help him advance in his career. Christopher recently accepted a position at Regal Cinemas in Carlsbad in customer service, after working in the housekeeping division of La Quinta Inn for nearly two years. PWI is proud to be able to support Christopher, not only in excelling in all of his employment opportunities, but also in pursuing his ultimate goal of buying his first home.