Looking for new employment is hard but looking for new employment after spending 17 years at the same job is even harder! That is what Sarah is finding out. When Sarah started working at Cub, 17 years ago, Facebook was in infancy, the iPhone was two years out from being released and YouTube was just launching. A lot has changed since Sarah started working at Cub all those years ago, but she is ready to jump into the job market and face these new changes and challenges.
While, Sarah absolutely loves her part-time job at Cub, she is looking for a full-time opportunity with benefits. Unfortunately, Sarah can’t accept a full-time position at Cub due to the fact she could be transferred to a different store or be required to work at multiple stores throughout the area at the drop of a hat. Sarah uses Metro Mobility to get to and from work. While it is a wonderful service, there are some limitations using it across the various metro cities and it would not be sufficient in providing her transportation if she had to transfer stores.
Through her many years as Cub, Sarah has been given the opportunity to work in a variety of different departments, which has allowed her to learn a wide range of useful employment skills. Being a hardworking, reliable and positive employee, Sarah has earned various awards and accolades over the years and has even reached the top of the pay scale for her position. As Sarah says, “I love the people I work with and customer’s specifically come to my checkout line when they see I’m working. My store manager is very nice and I enjoy training in new employees.”
Currently, Sarah is working with Naomi, an Employment Specialist at Reach, to help assist her in finding a new opportunity that will fit what she is looking for. Sarah says, “17 years ago, I walked into Cub and they offered me a job on the spot. It’s not like that anymore.” Now, all job applications are filled out online and most interviews are done virtually. Using connections she has through friends and family, Sarah has had a couple of interviews, in-person and online, for various retail job opportunities. “My first interview I was really nervous. I haven’t had to do this for 17 years. Naomi has been able to help me prepare answers and now I feel comfortable interviewing,” says Sarah.
Getting more and more comfortable with interviewing, Sarah has had a couple of promising job leads but hasn’t found the right opportunity yet. She remains hopeful a new job is on the horizon that matches what she is looking for; guaranteed number of hours per week, earning the same or more than her current job, a schedule that works with Metro Mobility, benefits, 401k and a great company culture.
With every job application and interview, Sarah is one step closer to finding an opportunity that fulfills her needs and expectations. With over 17 years of experience, any business would be lucky to have such a hardworking, quality employee.
One Lyft at a Time
July 15, 2022
Finding reliable, flexible transportation to and from work can be tough especially for people with disabilities. To help solve this problem, Reach launched a Lyft test pilot program at the beginning of 2022. Lyft is an app-based ride-sharing service that allows people to schedule rides in advance or on the spot. To tryout this new program, Reach needed the perfect tester. Naomi, an Employment Specialist at Reach, had just the person! Sonya.
Sonya loves her job at the Mall of America but was looking for safer, more dependable transportation options. Working together, Sonya and Naomi setup a Lyft account that would use her waivered services funds only for transportation to and from work. For the first month, Sonya’s only goal was to test this program to see if Lyft was a viable option and if there were any limitations with the service. In the beginning there were a lot of trial and errors but after the first month Sonya says, “Lyft turned out to be a very good thing! It gave me more independence and at the same time more accountability and responsibility for my rides.”
Since the test run went so well, Sonya has continued to utilize Lyft and now has it as one of her set services for the next year within her waiver plan. Sonya is in charge of scheduling all of her work rides and to ensure she arrives on time, Sonya schedules all her rides an hour and 15 minutes ahead of her shift. One time, Sonya’s work schedule switched last minute, and she didn’t have a ride scheduled. No worries! With Lyft, Sonya was able to schedule a ride for immediate pick-up and make it to work. Sonya says, “It frees up family members that use to give me rides to work. I’m able to do it myself and feel comfortable making my rides.”
All of Sonya’s work rides are paid utilizing her waiver funds. The cost of each ride is based on the average distance to and from work. If she goes over her ride allowance, she pays the difference out-of-pocket. The ride allowance along with how many rides she plans to take for the year are added to a Lyft pass, a digital version of a punch card.
One of Sonya’s favorite things about using Lyft is the safety tracking feature that texts her emergency contact, the route she is currently taking. She also loves, “Meeting people. There have been some really nice, down-to-earth drivers. It’s always been a fun experience.”
Since using Lyft, Sonya has never had a driver be late or cancel a ride. Because of her success with Lyft, Sonya is looking into the option of using it for personal rides like to the grocery store, appointments or school. When it comes to everyday transportation, Sonya says, “Lyft is a very good option vs the others [Metro Mobility, Public Transportation]. It may cost less for the others but the reliability and safety features with Lyft cover the extra cost.”
Since Sonya has had great success using Lyft, Reach has officially launched the Lyft program with others we support through our services. All individuals that utilize our Employment Supports and receive waivered services, can get authorized for transportation services with Lyft. With reliable and flexible work transportation being a big barrier for people with disabilities, Reach is hoping to rewrite that narrative using Lyft. To learn more about this program, please contact Larissa Beck, Director of Community Living at email@example.com.
Courage Kenny’s Rider of the Year Award Winner
April 29, 2022
This March, Courage Kenny Adaptive Sports and Recreation held their annual winter sports awards celebration. One of the top awards, Rider of the Year, went to Tay, a person supported through Community Living services at Reach.
Tay won this award because he consistently showed up with a smile on his face, persisted though getting comfortable on his snowboard, had a great attitude, made people laugh constantly and was a team player filling in for other classes if needed. When asked about the award, Tay said he was shocked that he won because he had no idea he was even nominated.
For over six years, Tay has been participating in a variety of Courage Kenny Adaptive Sports. So far, he has participated in: downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, spin class, full body conditioning and cycling. Of all the activities Tay participates in, snowboarding is his favorite. For four years, Tay has been challenging his vision, particularly night vision, through snowboarding. The snowboarding program is held at night and Tay is completely night blind. Riding with two guides, Tay says each year he enjoys training them on blind riders.
Nervous about trying a new activity like snowboarding? Tay would like to encourage others to get out and try diﬀerent sports and rec programs because you never know where it may lead. Congrats on the award Tay!
Story by: Josie Marchant
2022 Reach Award Winners
April 29, 2022
We are pleased to announce the recipients of our annual awards. Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations. While we cannot recognize every nominee, we humbly acknowledge all who helped us this past year in fulfilling our mission. The following are this year’s award recipients:
Volunteer of the Year: Mike & Patty Molden
Mike and Patty Molden have been volunteering with Reach for Resources Non-Competitive Basketball league for many years. Their hard work and dedication to the participants and to Reach for Resources is inspiring. Their generosity means the world to the people that we serve. Mike and Patty Molden are truly the heart of Reach for Resources Non-Competitive Basketball league.
Corporate Partner of the Year: Plow World Power Equipment & Chris Daniels
In 2021, Plow World Power Equipment and Chris Daniels supported Reach in many different ways including being the major sponsor for the Radiothon and Cackle & Spur Charity Pheasant Hunt. Plow World also supplied an ATV to be raffled off at our Reach on Tap event. In addition to the corporate support, Chris donated quite a significant sum of his own personal money to support Reach. Plow World Power Equipment has already pledged to increase their support of Reach in 2022.
Advocate of the Year: Larissa Beck
Larissa has worked hard to advocate for rate changes for DD SILS. She has initiated a conversation among other service providers and leaders in the disability field. Her efforts have been successful in spreading awareness and efforts to make changes.
Matthew Smith Memorial Award: Jessica Preiner (Cermak)
Jessica has worked for Reach for over 13 years. She began working in our Community Living Department and then moved to Mental Health. During her time with Mental Health Services, she has managed and directed our Mental Health Services, added additional counties to our ARMHS supports, has been a lead for Procentive and has now been promoted to Managing Director. Reach is lucky to have Jessica in our Mental Health Department.
Reach is Now Certified as a Breastfeeding Workplace
April 11, 2022
Reach has been named a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for its contributions to the health of parents and their babies.
MDH recognizes workplaces and county health departments that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting breastfeeding employees by creating a workplace lactation support program.
Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow.
The designation acknowledges Reach for Resources commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing employees. The designation is achieved by adopting a written policy and educating staff about it; ensuring adequate break time for breastfeeding employees; providing a clean, private place to pump breast milk; and demonstrating a strong commitment to supporting breastfeeding in the workplace.
This is MDH’s recognition program, which was created and is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).
Now Accepting 2022 Award Nominations
January 5, 2022
Bill began using Reach’s Employment Services in August 2021. With Bill’s previous job ending in May 2019, he had been unemployed for a little over two years. His previous work experience consisted of a variety of light industrial positions such as order picker, assembler, and fabricator. Bill expressed interest in building on his past work experience and obtaining employment in a similar industry. Teaming up with Marcus, one of Reach’s Employment Specialists, Bill began searching for those kinds of opportunities.
In September of 2021, Marcus stumbled upon an ad for a part-time mailer/newspaper assembler at the Star Tribune. Knowing Bill had previously worked as an order picker for Dakota News, it felt like this position could be a good fit. Since Bill’s primary means of transportation is Metro Transit, Marcus went on the Metro Transit website and calculated what Bill’s rides would look like using the “Trip Planner” tool. This tool indicated Bill wouldn’t need to make any transfers and the bus could get him to and from work in less than a half hour.
After confirming Bill was interested in the position, Marcus guided Bill in completing the application, along with following up with the hiring manager and securing an interview. To help ensure Bill’s interview went smoothly, Marcus was in attendance. During the interview, Marcus helped Bill advocate for a work schedule that was optimal for him. After the interview, the hiring manager took them on a tour of the facility and said he would be in touch about the position.
Later that day, Bill received a phone call with a job offer, which he accepted! Marcus assisted Bill with completing his online onboarding paperwork and attended his two week on-the-job training program. Since then, Marcus has provided on-site employment support for nearly all of Bill’s shifts. Like with any new job, Bill was nervous and unsure of himself, but the more he learned about the job, the more comfortable he has become in his new role. To help Bill in his new position, Marcus made a point of learning just about every aspect of Bill’s job so that he can assist him with staying on-task and working in an efficient manner. Bill has been employed for nearly four months and said that he enjoys his new job. Plus, Bill is currently earning the highest wage he has ever received!
Article by: Marcus Skallman, Employment Services Manager at Reach
Robert loves to cook with staff and try new recipes. To start off the holiday season, Robert requested to bake a brown sugar glazed ham. Fresh out of the oven, Robert is neatly slicing his baked ham with brown sugar glaze. Robert reports that it was a really good ham!
Looks yummy! Great job Robert!
Robert’s Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
- 1 spiral cut ham with bone-in approx 7-9 pounds
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice or orange juice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Combine dijon mustard and pineapple juice. Brush over ham.
If your ham has a plastic disk on the bone, this should be removed and discarded. Place the ham, flat side down in a roasting pan, and cover tightly with foil. Roast 12-15 minutes per pound (or according to package directions).
Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer 2-3 minutes. Cool.
15 minutes before ham is done, remove from the oven and turn the oven up to 425°F.
Brush with glaze and return to the oven until the glaze is caramelized and the ham has reached the safe cook temperature.
- If you purchase a smoked ham, it has been cooked, be sure to check the package to ensure it says it is “fully cooked”. If your ham is fully cooked on the package (as most spiral hams are), it will need to cook to 140°F (basically just to heat it).
“Sometimes you have to be satisfied with a small amount of progress but remember, it’s still progress.” ~ Mary Ellen Kaul
A $5,000 challenge match has been given to Reach for Resources in honor of the memory of Mary Ellen Kaul and her son, David Kaul. This generous gift will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000 during the Give to the Max Day campaign.
Mary Ellen was a parent, special education teacher, and journalist. As a mother of a Down Syndrome son, Mary Ellen thought, “There must be something I can do to help.” And help she did. In her many roles in helping out REACH, Mary Ellen sat on our Board of Directors, volunteered by advocating at the city and federal levels for housing funds for people with disabilities, and acted as a mentor to many at REACH. What was remarkable about Mary Ellen is that she had an acute sense of justice for individuals with disabilities that was handled with a special positive energy that was so attractive to all who met her. Nowhere was this more evident than it was when it came to her children.
Mary Ellen’s son, David, was the middle child of five but the only boy. David was a person REACH supported, as he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. But like his mother, David never let that get in the way of volunteering and being a positive influence in the lives of others. David enjoyed riding his John Deere lawn mower and cutting the grass at Camphill Village MN, near Sauk Center, MN. David was also an honorary member of the local volunteer Fire Department. He loved emergency personnel, whether they were fire fighters, ambulance drivers, or police officers, and they loved David right back.
David’s passion for helping others was evident even in death. Due to an unfortunate accident, David lost his life, but as an organ donor, his organs were shared with two other people, giving them a chance at life.
This challenge match is a fitting way to honor the memory of Mary Ellen and her son, David. Even after their passing, they still are helping others and Reach for Resources.
Meet Jenna! With the guidance of Carolyn, one of our Employment Specialists, Jenna found a job that she loves. Jenna interviewed at several companies but felt they weren’t the right fit. Then a position opened at Covenant Living for kitchen staff. From previous jobs, Jenna had some great experience in that field and applied. After an interview, Jenna was offered the job! With minimal guidance from Carolyn, Jenna completed all of the pre-employment tasks like paperwork and background check.
Jenna is enjoying her job and looks forward to going to work each day. She has made friends with many of the residents that live at Covenant Living. Some of Jenna’s work tasks include working with the dishwasher, putting dishes away and filling water pitchers.
Awesome job Jenna! Keep up the great work.
James and Calli’s love story reads like a romantic movie script. College girl and boy fall in love. After dating a few months, boy breaks up with girl because he’s not ready for commitment. Boy regrets the breakup, realizing he just let the love of his life slip through his fingers. Fast forward 15 years. Girl is looking at a new apartment and in the lobby is the boy from 15 years ago. They start talking online a few months later. Jump ahead four years, they are very much in love, living together and just had a commitment ceremony.
Let’s start from the beginning. Calli and James first met at college where they were attending classes at Vector. They dated for about a year. James says, “Unfortunately, at the time, I wasn’t really ready to settle down yet.” Calli and James mutually agreed it wasn’t the right time for their relationship and amicably broke up. After they broke up, James says he thought about it and realized “She was a great girl. Why did I let this one go? If I have the chance to be with Calli again, I’m taking it, no matter how long it takes.” It took 15 years.
In 2017, Calli was touring apartment buildings. She was standing in the lobby of a building waiting for the tour to start when she recognized one of the individuals in the lobby. “Hey, there’s James!” Fast forward a couple of months and Calli moves into the same apartment building as James. One night, a bunch of people from the apartment complex went to a Timberwolves game. During the game, one of Calli’s friends needed assistance. Cue James! James came over to try and help with the situation. Calli said that she liked the way he was so kind and helpful to her friend. A couple of days later, Calli messaged James on Facebook, “Hi. What’s up?” The rest is history!
After about a year and a half of dating, James approached Calli’s father to ask if he could have his permission and blessing to propose to Calli, when the time was right. Calli’s father said he would be happy to give his blessing. Fast forward a couple of months. James has purchased a ring and is waiting for the perfect moment to pop the question. James said “Heck, I would wait till I die to marry her. I don’t care how long it takes. I just want to be with Calli the rest of my life. There’s no one else in this entire world I would rather be with. There really isn’t.” He didn’t have to wait long. One day, Calli and James were in the kitchen of their apartment. Knowing Calli doesn’t like big, grand surprises, James says he saw the perfect opportunity. He got down on one knee and proposed. Calli says, “YES!”
After a couple of months of planning, James and Calli had their dream life commitment ceremony on August 29th in front of a few family and friends. It was an outdoor ceremony presided over by Pastor Kathy at the Brookview Golf Course, which James is a member of. The ceremony, was followed by a small reception with lots of fun h’orderves and yummy wedding cake. For their honeymoon, they spend a few days enjoying Wisconsin together.
Congratulations Calli and James. Everyone at Reach is wishing you a lifetime of happiness together!
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