David Evans began working at Opportunity Enterprises in the Outsource Solutions industrial services division in May, 2012, and currently works five days a week assembling piece work. David also participates in enrichment programs at OE including Community Integration and Assistive Technology, and takes part in the After Hours Activities Club, or AHA Club, where he is learning to cook. His favorite recipes so far have been tacos, biscuits and gravy, and “dirt” pudding, a chocolate pudding recipe with crushed cookies and gummy worms.
While David has been at OE for only one year, his level of self-sufficiency has increased significantly. David tells his family he loves coming to OE, and enjoys having structure and routine as part of his day. David’s grandmother and guardian says that because of his time spent in OE’s day program and services, David has become much more independent and helpful at home.
In recent months, David has decided to try his hand at laundry, regularly makes his own breakfast and lunch, and even made an entire spaghetti dinner on his own.
“David is so much more grown up now, and takes on more responsibility at home,” shares David’s grandmother Lois. “David absolutely LOVES to cook, and will often ask me what WE are making for dinner.”
At a doctor’s appointment a couple of months ago, when David’s name was called by the nurse, his grandmother stood up to accompany him into the exam room as she always had. This time, however, David asked her to please wait in the reception area as he wanted to answer his own questions and participate in the appointment independently, respectfully telling his grandmother, “I’m a man now!”
David’s growth and independence are inspiring, and it is amazing that in such a short time, David’s experiences with OE have had such a positive, lasting effect on his life. Through his participation in OE’s programs, with positive staff support, and through peer relationships, David is truly flourishing.
“David loves all of his supervisors in OutSource, and also loves the other clients. While he didn’t mind missing school, he wouldn’t dream of missing work,” says Lois.
To celebrate David’s accomplishments, he was awarded an Amazing Client of the Year Award at OE’s Celebration of Achievement in March of this year.
During his acceptance speech, David shared his gratitude. “I would like to thank OE for giving me the opportunity to do what I’m good at. I would like to thank my mom for getting me into OE. Some of the things I like best about going to OE are socializing with friends, going to computers and cooking,” said David. “Going to OE gives me something fun to do each day.”
While sending David to OE was a little scary at first, Lois can’t say enough good things about how coming to OE has helped David. “OE helps the clients grow within themselves, and it’s a special place that’s just for them,” shares Lois. “Going to OE isn’t about me or David’s family, it’s about David. It’s HIS job and HIS money. He is so proud, and we are so proud of him."
“To other families who are thinking about sending their family members to OE, I would say they should give it a chance and let their child experience this wonderful place. David’s life has just been one miracle after another, and OE is another miracle in his life.”
For more information about OE’s OutSource Solutions program, contact Sherrie Benkovich at (219) 464-9621, ext. 271.
Since 1967, OE has been a non-profit organization which works to maximize self-sufficiency and enrich the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. For more information, visit www.oppent.org.