I am 40 years old. I have Down syndrome. I want to tell you about my job and how important it is to me.
After graduation from high school, I began working at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. First I worked as a kitchen assistant at their Senior Adult Day Center.Now I work in the Health Club as a Courtesy Assistant. I have many important duties: I check the clients in and have learned how to use the computer; I make sure all the equipment is in good working order and clean;. I collect used towels and fold the clean ones. I sometimes work at the front desk. My job coach helped me learn my job and helps if I have problems. The thing I love most about my job is talking to talk to the many people who come to the health club. I know all their names, love greeting them and enjoy joking with so many people.
My co-workers have become some of my best friends. They help me when I need some extra help. We eat lunch together and sometimes go out on the weekends. I get paid just like everyone else at my job. I have worked at the MJCCA for 18 years and love my job. I get benefits like vacation and pay for group healthcare. I also have a Medicaid Waiver that helps me with a job coach and transportation. My paycheck helps me afford to live in an apartment and have a roommate. I also use my paycheck to pay for things I like to do, like going out with friends and my girlfriend.
It is important that people with disabilities be given the chance to have a real job. Some of my friends have been told that they can only work in a workshop or be in a day program. That is not fair! People with disabilities can work in community jobs at fair wages when they have a job that is a good fit and can get employment supports as needed.