HARLINGEN — Special needs people are like everyone else and they’re capable of doing a lot of things others can do, like working.
However, sometimes parents need help learning more about career resources like receiving job training and where to find jobs in their community?
This is why several organizations like Capable Kids are hosting an educational support group session tomorrow that will help families with special needs children learn how and where their children can be hired if they’re interested in working.
Student HireAbility Navigators from the Lower Rio Workforce Solutions board will be at the group session to help families learn more about opportunities for their kids to receive job training so they can find jobs in their community. A vocational rehabilitation counselor from the local field office will also be at the group session to provide information on services and answer questions.
Capable Kids Foundation Lower Valley Director Stephanie Wilson said people usually have a lot of questions on transportation and how it works.
“We want our kids to be included,” Wilson said. We want them to be part of society not apart from it. So, it’s great when we find things that work for them and positions they’re able to be successful at. They’re capable of a lot of things,” she added.
This month, a member of the Capable Kids Foundation was offered a full-time job at a Chick-fil-A in Harlingen. Alex Garza, 22, was involved with a high school work program and worked at the fast-food restaurant a few hours a week for about a year and a half.
Before Alex graduated last May from Harlingen High School, the owners of Chick-fil-A told her if she was interested in being permanently hired, she just needed to fill out an application and be interviewed. After the interview the owner who is also the manager of the fast-food restaurant, offered her the job and Alex happily accepted.
When Alex told her mother she was hired, she was so excited that her mother could not even explain in words how happy she was.
Immediately after telling her mother she accepted the job, she told her the list of plans she had. Alex wants to buy a truck and a house and go to college.
“Those are her plans and that makes her happy,” Idalia Garza said in a phone interview.
Alex’s mother describes her daughter as “a people person who loves helping customers and cleaning.” She said Alex “also does a really good job with organizing everything” like the condiment area at Chick-fil-A.
“Whenever she gets out from work, you can tell she loves working there because she tells me ‘Mom, what do I do now?’” her mother said. So, she does other things she loves to do like “singing, dancing, exercising and writing songs.”
Idalia said her daughter “feels like she is like every other kid and loves to feel included.” This is why she loves working at Chick-fil-A because “the owners treat everyone the same.”
“Alex and others like to be included and feel like they are part of the community and are the same as everybody else,” her mother said.
Who: Capable Kids Foundation Lower Valley
What: Special Needs Community Educational/Support Group Session
When: Tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Church of Christ, 2205 N. Seventh St.
For information, contact Capable Kids Foundation
Phone: (956) 277-1776