I met Aiden in the fall of 2022 when he came to Causeway Work Centre looking for support in finding employment. It became evident how focused he was on success, determined to find employment and brought an entrepreneurial spirit regardless of the many challenges he faced. Aiden was born with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder involving chromosome 21 and associated with developmental delays, high anxiety, intellectual disabilities and various physical disabilities.
I was very impressed with what Aiden had achieved thus far in life, like selling his artistic creations online and running his own cat-sitting business. He was also attending a special program at Algonquin College to strengthen his life skills. But equally important, Aiden is a kind, gentle and outspoken young man who lets you know what he needs or not, and who is willing to do what it takes to live his best life. With his positive can-do attitude, the active support of his wonderful family, and an understanding employer, I knew we could find success for him.
He had a vision to work at McDonalds near the college and it was the Employment Specialist’s task to make that happen. I reached out directly to the store and met Katrina, the General Manager at the McDonald’s at 1850 Baseline Rd to see if there were any opportunities available for Aiden. With Aiden’s consent, I spoke about the challenges he faces, his desire to work there, and how Causeway would assist both the participant and employer throughout the process before requesting an interview. As luck would have it, they were in need of a Lobby Cleaner in the evenings and Katrina invited us to submit his resume directly to her in addition to applying online through the corporate office.
After completing all of the online requirements, the next step involved two interviews to ensure the job was a good fit for both parties. The first interview was scheduled with Katrina at the store, where we were greeted by a friendly staff member who offered us a hot cup of coffee on that cold fall afternoon, while she went to announce our arrival. We sat in the study area, a closed off portion of the seating area where it was quieter. Katrina’s friendly and gentle demeanor made it possible for Aiden to subdue his anxiety in order to express himself fully and answer her questions like a superstar interviewee. The second interview was a week or so later with a different Manager named Sarah and a crew member. Again, the warm welcome from staff who greeted us enabled Aiden to shine through and with that, he was hired.
Through ups and downs and every hiccup in between, this McDonald franchise and especially the manager, Katrina, committed every step of the way to ensure Aiden was well supported to succeed on the job. The desire from management, staff and the owner to provide opportunities to folks with disabilities is heartwarming and serves as a role model for all businesses. Aiden has reached a huge milestone. Today he is proud to celebrate 1 year as a crew member and I’m very proud of his accomplishments!
Employment Support Specialist
Causeway Work Centre