Discussion in 'The Bench' started by Guy Parquette, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Guy Parquette

    Guy Parquette Platinum Level Contributor

    Please hear me out.

    As maybe some of you know I own a NAPA store. Owned it since March of 2006. Previously I worked for a Ford, Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat dealership as parts manager for 18 years. And of those years I was fortuned enough that the owner let me hire disabled and or handicapped people. And why not, as most of them became some of our best employees and moved up the ladder in other departments.

    Fast forward. As a NAPA store owner, I discovered eh, about six years ago, that our local high school had a program called "school to work program". What this involves is with there special needs people class.

    They reach out to local businesses to hire these kids for about an hour to two a day...Which equals one class credit for the day. The kids go through the whole hire process, fill out an employment application, resume, interview, fill out a WT-4 form, ect. It is actually the real deal. They are paid per hour as an actual employee, as they are. There're on the payroll, they pay taxes, they receive a pay check. I sit down with them and give out written reviews. (Which goes back to the school and they get graded on). A lot of times it is there very first job experience.

    Its a win, win. My employees love it. It's very rewarding to them to be able to teach these kids life meaning abilities. And so rewarding to me that I almost feel guilty for the great feeling!

    My last special needs employee left us yesterday to move on to the next place of employment (second semester).

    Now, I do not have any kids (that I know of!) But upon her leaving, I had a little talk with this young girl that literally didn't know how to use a broom when she first started. In that talk she said her thanks and also said "you are like a father figure to me". This is where the DANG comes in, I never expected that. Wow, I am not a father so I don't know the feeling a father has with there kids, but man, this one really tugged on me. Looking back I don't think she has a father in her life.

    Biggest reason for this post; If you have the means to reach out to something like this, I encourage you to. Like I said, you're not only helping someone in need to get through life, but you also will feel so rewarded, that the feeling may seem guilty. DANG
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  2. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I resonate right with you on that. As a camp counselor, primarily working with older kids (13-16), they see you as a role model so heavily during the 2, 4, 6, or even 8 weeks that they spend around you.

    By the end of the summer I was affectionately called “General Dad” due to my demeanor and how I dealt with the boys in the cabin. My other male co-staff had become “Lieutenant Mom” and they mirrored our actions in many ways.
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  3. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member

    Fully embrace and enjoy all of it. You certainly earned it.
    And you do make a real contribution in your efforts.
  4. dmfconsult

    dmfconsult Devil in a Blue Dress

    Thanks to you Guy! You are real credit to humanity! Not a lot of people could be bothered by the time and effort to do what you do for those kids and you should be commended, but I'm sure the feeling you get from helping these kids is reward enough. The benefits these types of programs provide to both the kids and their parents are massive, so thank you again!
  5. 1972Mach1

    1972Mach1 Just some guy.....

    That's an awesome thing to do, Guy. We also employ special needs people, although I can't claim any credit for it. We've got 1 with down syndrome who has been in the wash bay for 12 years, he's 32 now and as you said, the hardest worker out there. Also have 3 with autism and 1 with aspergers. All great workers.
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  6. Prairie Piston

    Prairie Piston Well-Known Member

    I wish more employers would recognize the benefits. My niece is special needs and going to university. She is in a life skills prep program with work experience. A great, honest sincere person who just needs a chance

    Thanks Guy for being a great guy! The world needs more of you Guys!
  7. Darron72Skylark

    Darron72Skylark Well-Known Member

    As the parent of a special needs kid, I know how much these programs are needed.
    My company also has two special needs employees working the packaging line. It has been a gradual transition, but their job coaches aren't even needed anymore - they are just regular employees now. Except that regular employees whine and complain a lot more than these guys do - they just stay on task!
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  8. OHC JOE


    My oldest son has autism so good news to read stuff like this
    We are all here waiting for a bus to go to barrett-jackson Scottsdale hopefully all goes well.
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  9. Buicksky

    Buicksky Silver Level contributor

    Guy, Thank you this was the best part of my day so far. I can see you appreciate helping them as they receive from you. Tony
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  10. 12lives

    12lives Engage! - Jean-Luc Picard

    Well done Guy! Scouts, 4H, after school clubs, sports, all of it is a good way to give back. I think about all the help I had growing up, and I needed a lot, and I try to do the same for the next group of adults coming along. I mentor high school robotics, done boy scouts, and I'm a substitute teacher. Give it a try!
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  11. Guy Parquette

    Guy Parquette Platinum Level Contributor

    Oh wow, thanks guys.
    Our very first special needs kid that I hired here...like I said about six years ago, needed a "helper" to come in and work with him. Anyway I made a to do list on a chalkboard, just simple stuff, sweep, throw out garbage, dust, edge shelves and on. They don't tell us for some reason there disability and I don't ask. But I'm pretty sure this kids was aspergers.

    About a month into it the helper couldn't make it in for a couple days, so they dropped him off here. I and my employees got thinking this kid has more ability to do other things than what's on the list. So the next day I asked him if he would like to change things up a bit and he gets excited about it. So we had him start putting the daily stock ordered parts away. He caught on faster than I've ever seen. Learned the numerical order system, remembered where the front end parts were located. So one of my guys thought that he would teach him the correct way to check in parts. He learned that in about an hour! Next doing inventory...caught on right away.
    Turns out he loves numbers and is amazing with them. I am not kidding you, he was like the rain man. For the rest of the year no more "helper".

    He now has a local factory job and is doing very well there. he among a lot of the other kids that worked here on that program stops in every once and a while to say hi. Pretty cool.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  12. Guy Parquette

    Guy Parquette Platinum Level Contributor

    Ha, the school just contacted me and came in to drop off the employment application for the next kid.
    This one they told me his disability, and will need an assistance aid.
    Interview Tuesday afternoon!
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  13. rolliew

    rolliew Well-Known Member

    Very nice reminder of what is really important in life. Thank you for sharing that.
  14. 1969RIVI

    1969RIVI Well-Known Member

    That's awesome Guy!! I wish more companies up here in Canada did that, some do just not enough. A big cheers to you my friend :)
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  15. 70staged

    70staged Well-Known Member

    Awesome Guy. I was working at a project and the lunch cafeteria only had special needs people. If I was near there I would eat lunch there. They would need assistance with giving back change and I would help them out. Found out when our project there was done, the closed the cafeteria.
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  16. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    Excellent Guy! Here in SW Florida Publix markets does hire some special needs kids for positions such as Baggers, cart in parking lot getters, and assist ole pharts load groceries into cars. It's a great experience for the kids, and some of them do actually graduate into full-time employees. As you said, it's a win win. Years ago when I was in college, I worked in a production machine shop because the work hours fit my college schedule. The owner of the shop was in a program that hired prisoners prior to their release to give them work experience. They would work full-time, then would return to a halfway house. There were two prisoners working in the shop when I was hired, and when they were totally released, the shop hired both of them. Another win win.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  17. Guy Parquette

    Guy Parquette Platinum Level Contributor

    That's pretty cool!
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  18. Storm1

    Storm1 Silver Level contributor

    The Kroger i shop at employs special needs kids and adults. One guy in particular, a big Michigan State fan, has me grinning from ear to ear every time I go there. He's a bit loud and boisterous especially when the game is on. If you wear anything U of M...Your gonna get an earfull. Being the center of attention is his thing and to be honest, he makes the terribly mundane grocery shopping experience fun as he jokes and kids around with people as they leave. Laughing and smiling all the way to their cars.
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  19. Guy Parquette

    Guy Parquette Platinum Level Contributor

    A while ago the instructor that heads up this program told me something I didn't realize but now I see it and is sooo true.

    The littlest thing brings joy and makes a special needs person happy. I think that is so cool.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  20. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    Years ago I worked part time, about 2 days a week for maby 10 hours total at a place called "Work Inc". as a work station setup man to what ever job was needed.
    Anywhere from counting parts and bagging them, to making dog or cat collars from small local owned company's.
    "Work inc" was all for different levels of special need adults and kids and paid them for piece work.
    Basicly it got them out of group homes that most lived in, or some out of their own places and gave them something to do and feel productive. They all worked at different paces and some maby made a $1 a day or even up to $20 a day. No pressure what so ever.
    Like Guy said the littlest things brought them joy, for example knowing the group home at night was going to have pudding for desert.
    Payday was so exciting for them because it was was their money in hand and not a government check that went to a home they lived in where they got maby a $1 a day for allowance.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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