Meet Kelly: enjoying her job and team in Rochester, MN

Meet Kelly, a 26 year-old Supported Employment Client in Rochester, MN. Kelly has been collaborating with Opportunity Services for 3 years with her job at the School Aged Childcare Program (SACC) at Elton Hills Elementary School. Kelly graduated with her degree in Childcare in 2012 and wasn’t sure where to turn for help finding a job. Kelly has a high functioning disability and previously worked at a daycare but wasn’t getting the support she needed. She decided to reach out to her Special Education Teacher for employment resources. After visiting the Workforce Center in Rochester, Opportunity Services was the first place Kelly called and she had a good feeling about it. “The Opportunity Services office in downtown Rochester is right by my apartment. I went in for a visit and got good vibes so I decided to work with them. I’m so glad I did!”

Originally Kelly wanted to work with older children or become a paraprofessional at a school. When a position opened up at Sunset Terrace Elementary School for their SACC Program, Kelly saw it as a foot in the door. Kelly loved working at Sunset and after a year the school district asked her to move to Elton Hills Elementary. “It was scary to move at first,” said Kelly. “I had to relearn the school, the students, co-workers, everything, but once I got the hang of it- I realized that Elton Hills was a much better fit for me.” Kelly has an amazing team that she works with at Elton Hills and really appreciates the good communication between them. Kelly’s team lead, Bridget has even set Kelly’s schedule around her arriving on the bus!

In addition to her amazing team, Kelly loves building relationships with the students. Since she’s worked there for over 2 years now, Kelly really understands their needs and is having fun getting to know them! She also enjoys learning from her co-workers and amazing team. “Kelly really is the best,” said Lisa Lindquist, Opportunity Services Employment Specialist. “She truly is the case of ‘the right person, right job.’ We found the perfect fit for Kelly and I am extremely proud of her success.” Having an independent job that is the perfect fit has helped Kelly become more capable and courageous in all aspects of her life. “For a long time I was trying so hard to find a way around my disability,” said Kelly, “but now I am utilizing help and finding a way to work with it.” When asked where she sees herself in five or ten years, Kelly hopes she is still with the Rochester School District. She loves working at the school, maybe in the SACC Program still or as a paraprofessional. Kelly is excited to see where her life leads her! Congrats on your employment success, Kelly- we are all so proud of you at Opportunity Services!