Given a chance one individual shines
Colvon Young’s favorite part of being employed at the U.S. Army Reserve in Arden Hills, Minneapolis is working alongside people with similar challenges.
Employed as a janitor at the Army Reserve through AccessAbility, a nonprofit agency in the SourceAmerica® network, Colvon has consistently demonstrated his talents. Prior to joining AccessAbility, Colvon had a difficult time maintaining employment due to his disability. This is the first organization that has provided Colvon with the right training, support, and accommodations needed to truly flourish in the workplace.
“The people here help me a lot, they always have encouraging words and encourage me to think ahead,” said Colvon. “One word can make someone’s day and everyday people lift me up. Sometimes people want to give up, but they help me keep going. There’s a huge positive vibe around here. Some people might be going through their own thing, but they don’t bring negativity. They always bring sympathy and that’s what I like.”
Jenna Deardoff, Program Services Supervisor at AccessAbility has been working with Colvon since his first day on the job. “He has made such a change. He comes in and he receives the support that keeps him going and moving forward. He always shares that this company [AccessAbility] has helped him get through the hardest times. I am proud of him and everything that he has accomplished.”
A day in the life of Colvon
Colvon wakes up in the early morning hours to begin his daily routine. Once at the reserve at 9 a.m., he is responsible for mopping, cleaning windows, swapping out supplies, and running the various machines transported that clean the floors. The contract work Colvon supports is part of the AbilityOne® Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Throughout his day, Colvon also has plenty of opportunities to talk with service members, and says it is those interactions that made him realize the effect his work has on Army staff.
Colvon hopes that more organizations will give people with disabilities like him a chance. “If given the opportunity to put our foot in the door, we can make things happen,” he said. “Just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference in the world.”
AccessAbility has provided Colvon with a case manager who has taught him coping skills and helped him work through the challenges associated with his mental health. That support has proven to be invaluable and showcases the skills people with differing abilities have when they’re given a chance. “I don’t like coming here to just earn money, I like to get their feedback and become a better person day by day,” he said. “They want me to be better and do better. I love it here so much.”
The success Colvon has experienced with AccessAbility has propelled him to think about his future. He will be going back to school to study political science with a goal to make a difference in the world and bring people together.
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