Growing up, Kristen Camacho always wanted to earn her own money. Almost five years ago she moved from her parent’s house into one of Thrive’s community residences. Kristen shares a carriage house with another participant where she does her laundry, cleans her home, is learning to cook and has recently fulfilled her dream of getting a paying job. Kristen is a proud employee of The Local, a restaurant in Wayland, MA.
Flashback to 2017, Kristen was a future LEADer in Thrive’s LEAD (Leadership Experience And Development) initiative. “I learned a lot of things in LEAD, especially how to speak up for myself and to set goals,” Kristen shared. “So, I began setting goals after graduation. My first goal was to get a job and start earning my own money,” she added. With the help of a job coach and utilizing her ability to advocate for herself, Kristen soon found a position at The Local.
Working every Saturday night, Kristen assists the servers by assembling the silverware. “Since Saturdays are busy at the restaurant they really need my help,” she explained. “My favorite thing about working there is the people. They are so nice to me, and I have made a lot of friends,” she added. She credits her success to her participation in the LEAD program and the support she has from the staff at her residence. “The LEAD program is fantastic. Caitlin (Director of LEAD) and the staff at my house are the best because they helped me so much.”
Since reaching her goals Kristen has a new aspiration, to give back. “I want to come back and be a mentor for LEAD. I look forward to sharing what I have learned with the new LEADers,” she added. Let’s give a standing ovation to Kristen, who LEADs by example and shows us all that when you work hard and set goals, dreams do come true.
SIDE NOTE: Kristen recently represented The Local, at the 2019 MetroWest Work Opportunities Coalition Annual Employer Luncheon. The Local received an “Accommodation Award” which recognized MetroWest employers’ efforts and commitment to employing and retaining people with disabilities. It’s so exciting that Kristen to receive this award with her co-workers. n