Ashley: a Quantum Leap Success in Kasson, MN

Ashley Prairie Meadows Ashley with Prairie Meadows Team

Meet Ashley, a 25 year-old Opportunity Services client in Kasson, Minnesota. Ashley has an amazing story: she “quantum leaped” from an Opportunity Services work team to independent employment. After her high school graduation she wanted to work and gain employment skills. Ashley had been a part of the work teams at Opportunity Services since July 2009 and officially moved to a job of her own at Prairie Meadows Senior Living this past March. Over the years, Ashley participated in work teams at the Comfort Inn, TJ Maxx, Kasson/Mantorville Schools, Oxbow Park and Chester Woods Park. At each job site Ashley worked hard to master her employment and social skills. “Ashley came to Opportunity Services to build her work skills and confidence in the community,” says Ann Korecky Opportunity Services Regional Manager in Southeastern Minnesota. “It was never a question of how, but when she would make that transition to independent employment.” Always a leader of the pack on the work teams, Ashley’s former colleagues at Opportunity Services miss her a lot, but are happy for her employment success!

Ashley found an ad in the Kasson newspaper for a Dietary Aide position at Prairie Meadows Senior Living and decided to apply on her own last September. At first she was only interested in working weekends and sticking with the OS work team during the week, but everyone at Prairie Meadows enjoyed Ashley so much they wanted her on the schedule all the time! Ashley officially quantum leaped in March 2016 and now meets with Betty Lamecker, Supported Employment Supervisor for job coaching through the Ticket to Work Program. “It’s exciting to see Ashley doing so well at a job she loves, utilizing her Ticket,” says Betty. “Ashley is working hard to support herself and hopes to eventually discontinue her social security benefits which is the ultimate goal of the Ticket to Work Program.”

Ashley’s manager at Prairie Meadows is Kabrie Miller. Kabrie has been the Food Service Manager at Prairie Meadows Senior Living for 10 years now. “I wish I could clone Ashley,” says Kabrie. “Ashley handles this job with grace and class. Coworkers and residents alike enjoy working with Ashley because of her positive attitude and her ability to get the job done with a smile on her face.” Being at Dietary Aide at Prairie Meadows is not an easy job. During a shift Ashley will clean dishes, serve food to residents, clean and reset the dining room, restock supplies, prepare resident food trays and take out the garbage. Ashley’s mastered the art of asking questions on the job and always looking for the next task to complete. “I like working at Prairie Meadows because of my coworkers and the residents that live there,” says Ashley. “I miss working with the Opportunity Services team but I love being on my own at a job that is the perfect fit for me.” Congratulations on your employment success, Ashley! We’re happy you reached your goal of independent employment in the community- it’s what we hope for all our Opportunity Services clients.