No matter how tough life gets or how many doors might close in her face, Jessica knows that the secret to perseverance is a positive attitude.
The spunky 19-year-old is living proof of the adage.
“Jessica is definitely an enthusiastic person and a hard worker,” said Maya Tarter, a Client Services Coordinator at Boone County Family Resources where Jessica received on-the-job training. “She is a great example of how important a good attitude is inside and outside the workplace.”
In March 2011, Jessica returned to BCFR and began receiving training for a more independent life. She learned about personal hygiene and the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. Kitchen safety was also part of her training and included instruction on how to safely use kitchen knives and prevent and extinguish a stove fire. Jessica continues to work on these skills and others such as creating a grocery list, following a recipe and using measuring cups and spoons.
She’s been empowered by her new abilities.
“I’ve learned to cook more on my own,” she said. “Learning about hygiene and grooming have helped me take care of myself and look good.”
In January, Jessica joined the janitorial work crew at BCFR which provides young people with an opportunity to develop work skills and interact with a supervisor and co-workers. They also learn the importance of punctuality and how to follow directions.
In June, Jessica was hired to work in the kitchen and dining room at The Bluffs, a not-for-profit skilled nursing facility in Columbia. She’s clearly proud of her accomplishments.
“I’ve met new friends at my new job, and I get to clean and do dishes,” she said. “My new job makes me happy.”
Maya said that throughout her job training at BCFR, Jessica maintained an up-beat attitude, even when she was struggling to understand a task.
“This determination and positive attitude were strengths during her six months of training on the crew and while searching for community employment,” Maya said, adding even when there were “setbacks and job leads that didn’t pan out, Jessica remained positive and focused on her goal of finding employment.”
Jessica’s enthusiasm for life isn’t limited to work, but spills over into all aspects of her life, especially when discussing her family, dogs, sports and food.
“When Jessica talks about a good meal, you know the details including who made it, how much chees the dish contained and how delicious it was,” Maya said.
During her graduation celebration from the BCFR work crew, Jessica shared some words of wisdom with her co-workers.
“Don’t get discouraged” when looking for a job,” she said. “It will work out.”
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