Jared, one of six high school students who spent their senior years in internships at Boone Hospital through the Seamless Transition through Enhanced Partnership (STEP) program, knew from that experience that he wanted to find a job after high school graduation. In order for a that plan to become a reality for him, Jared needed to learn about public transportation.
As his senior year was coming to an end, Jared worked with Life & Work Connections Community Skills Specialist, Christi Brown, on bus riding skills. “First, we rode the bus together to different places,” said Jared. “After that we learned to read the bus routes on a city map.”
This past summer, Jared found part-time work at Old Navy, where he unpacks clothing items and stocks shelves in the store. “It’s kind of like what I did at the hospital. Just different things. Anything you might wear: jeans, shirts, sometimes shoes.”
He said his experience in the STEP program helped make him good at what he does now. “At the hospital, I worked in surgery. Not doing surgery… stocking things. I would take equipment out of packages and stock them on shelves in the supply rooms. I liked my work there. But it was harder than the work I do now.”
Jared, who lives in Columbia with his mother, two brothers and a sister, says his workdays start early — before the buses start for the day. “My mom gives me a ride to work before she goes to work. Then after my work, I walk to the bus stop and take the bus home.”
“Jared progressed quickly through learning about the basics of riding the bus, then to meeting me at places in the community and lastly reading the bus map so he could go anywhere,” said Christi. “He was then prepared to attend a job interview without having taken that particular bus route before.”
Last year was one of major transition for Jared as he graduated high school began the adult phase of his life but he says he’s taking it one step at a time. “I’m happy with things now,” he says. “Some day I will have more work hours and will be able to save money and some day I’ll live on my own. I’m not thinking about that yet.”
We wish Jared all the best in his continuing transition.