Kerrie has been a client of PWI since 2000. During her time with our organization, she has found more than just a meaningful job, supportive community, and a greater sense of personal agency, she has also found true love. She met Eric, another PWI client, at one of our PWI job workshops.
They became the best of friends and eventually got married in 2012 and have been living happily together ever since. Now, Kerrie is enjoying her time working for Qualcomm and spending quality time with her supportive family, husband, and PWI community.
Eric Readinger: Always Ready and Able
Eric is an expressive and enjoyable young man who experienced a satisfying and productive life with support from his family and PWI team members. Eric had been working at Point Loma Nazarene College (PLNC) since 2003. He obtained skills that helped him achieve a sense of independence, pride, and accomplishment. Then, unfortunately, COVID-19 hit and the campus closed down. Eric was out of a job and feeling unsure. He was safe at home but missed the daily interactions he had come to appreciate through his employment at PLNC.
PWI sprang into action and proactively faced the challenges that the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders presented. PWI had to reinvent how to provide client support. That’s when Alternative Services was born. PWI reached out to their clients and explained Alternative Services and the benefits for clients.
Alternative Services incorporates phone calls, text messages, emails, and online meetings to inform, connect, check in, teach, explore, and open up a seemingly shut-down world.
Eric enthusiastically joined Alternative Service meetings and has become an expert with specific operations of participating in online sessions. Eric learned how to mute and unmute his microphone, turn on and off his camera, and he is learning the acceptable ways of communicating on the internet while using proper online netiquette. Eric now has a new platform to practice his reading skills.
Present-day Eric looks forward to Alternative Services and joining in with the online group of old and new friends. He is happy to explore different places through virtual travel and learn about the latest subjects using platforms such as Brain-Pop and TedEd.
Eric is not so worried anymore and is looking forward to 2021.
Willston: 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 learning to use his computer
Willston, 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.
Even though Willston did not have a computer or a good understanding of the Internet, PWI provided Willston with a computer as well as support from 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 PWI provides. Most recently, Darren 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 with a strong work ethic, so 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 Store Employee
Juan hard at work
Juan 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. He is a true example and leader for his fellow PWI coworkers.
Christopher: Hard-working and Loyal Employee
Regal Cinema employee, Christopher
Christopher is a veteran PWI client and has found employment through PWI’s Individual Placement service for over 16 years. Christopher is a loyal, hard-working, highly capable young man who has used the opportunities for growth and development offered by PWI to the fullest. Christopher’s ultimate goal is to buy a house and has focused on that goal by accepting positions that will help him advance his career. He recently accepted a position in customer service at Regal Cinemas in Carlsbad after working in the housekeeping division of La Quinta Inn for two years. PWI is proud to support Christopher, not only in excelling in all his jobs, but in pursuing his ultimate goal of buying his first home.