When asked what Fonteize does on the janitorial crew at Boone Country Family Resources, he gives a very detailed response. It starts with cleaning the mirror and ends with mopping the floor and wiping down handles to ensure the office stays clean and germs that could cause sickness are wiped away. Fonteize is a focused 19-year-old with purpose. He recognizes why he does what he does and likes the solitude of cleaning the bathroom. “I can stay on task without distractions,” says Fonteize.
His supervisors and co-workers appreciate his drive and dedication. “Fonteize’s attention to detail and strong work ethic make him a shining star on the janitorial crew,” said Maya Tarter, Client Services Coordinator with the janitorial crew.
“I can’t believe what he does. I thought that because he used a wheelchair, he wouldn’t be able to do as much as other workers, but he can do everything I do and even more” said one of his co-workers.
Since graduating from Hickman High School in 2013, Fonteize wasn’t sure what his next steps would be but became really engaged during the summer of 2014. He participated in Mizzou’s Wheelchair Basketball Camp and began taking Life & Work Connections Transition Network classes focused on learning employment skills.
Fonteize began his work on the janitorial crew in November 2014 and after a bumpy start, he has excelled. Organization and communication skills helped Fonteize overcome his inability to get to work on time. “I had to talk to my family and figure out how to make sure I had a ride or had enough time to roll to BCFR,” Fonteize said. He also talked to his support coordinator about alternative transportation options such as ParaTransit and was able to get the supports in place to successfully arrive at work on time.
Fonteize has also learned the importance of leadership while developing work skills on the janitorial crew. He enjoys demonstrating his leadership skills and showing new co-workers how to successfully complete tasks.
In his free time, he likes to play games on his phone and listen to music. Looking towards the future, Fonteize wants to be in the kitchen. “I really like to cook and make my own flavor and share it with people,” he said. One thing he is not willing to share is his secret ingredient for his “old-fashioned favorite omelet”. “My mom asks me what the secret ingredient is, but I am not telling,” he said.
If Fonteize’s commitment to keeping his secret ingredient under wraps is anything like his commitment to work and improving his employment skills, his mom is in for a long wait.