Jacob is an affable young man with a keen sense of humour. He’s a kind and caring young man who has a variety of interests, including attending concerts and political debates; he loves trains and buses; and he loves new experiences.
Jacob has disabilities, specifically Autism, with a learning disability. He also has a visual impairment— he’s legally blind. These disabilities create barriers in his life, including employment, which sadly is a common story. “Life and employment skills are a necessity for his independence,” mom Marilyn told us. “But finding a program for someone with multiple barriers can be extra challenging.”
One day, she came across the CompassWorks program at Easter Seals House. The program offers 22 weeks of hands-on paid work experience at Easter Seals House, training young adults to work in the hospitality industry. After informing Jacob about it, he was interested in applying for a seat. He met with the Easter Seals staff, and he felt accepted, so he decided to enroll. Jacob was immediately supported by both staff and classmates, making this a very positive experience for him. “He realized how much he enjoys hospitality because it matches his big personality and he loves providing a service to others,” his mom told us.
While in the program, Jacob learned employment skills such as computer applications, résumé building, interview preparation, understanding compensation, and front desk operations. He also learned softer skills such as bed making and self-advocacy. “Some of the most important outcomes for my son were his increased self-confidence, a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging,” said Marilyn. “The program was an inclusive, safe and reliable place that put the person ahead of the disability.”
For both Marilyn and Jacob, the encouragement and support were not only instrumental in his success, but his happiness. Since completing the program, Jacob found he has a passion for hospitality—especially the front desk duties. “It was an amazing experience. A big thank you to the staff for their acceptance, patience and for always encouraging Jacob in every way.”