For 13 years, Ervin has worked at local movie theaters in Savannah. Though he uses an electric wheelchair and has limited mobility in his arms, he’s able to tear ticket stubs with the help of a simple accommodation – a ruler. Ervin has known he’s a people person, and that’s exactly why working at the local movie theater is the perfect job for him.
With the explosive growth of streaming services, movie theater popularity has waned, and so when one theater closed, Ervin would pick up a new job at another theater to maintain a steady income. But with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing and local theaters closed for public safety, Ervin has been furloughed from his job since April 2020 and the future for theaters becomes more and more uncertain.
“My job gives me independence, happiness, and it gets me out of the house! If I had to give up on my theater job – which I don’t want to do – I think the next job I’d want to try is to work in a hospital in an area with kids where I could talk to them and comfort them or tell them jokes while they or a family member is hospitalized. I just love being around people!” he told us.
We share a lot of stories of hope and encouragement, but 2020 has also been a year of obstacles for the program participants in our Supported Employment program. With both determined workers and Job Coaches looking for every possible opportunity for job openings, and we know that COVID’s impact will stretch far into the future as businesses struggle to support themselves and their employees.
Continued community support is the key to successes for adults with IDD in the community.