Three years ago, Billi Ison, Employment Specialist at Pathfinder Resource Connection, shadowed Kristian at the Pathfinder Services Fort Wayne office. Kristian thrived so much that when a janitorial position opened up, Billie contacted Kristian and had him meet with the Office Manager. As the old saying goes, the rest is history.
In the past three years, Kristian has learned a lot. Ashley, Pathfinder Resource Connection Program Coordinator, continues to assist him from time to time and he says about John, another Employment Specialist, “He’s been instrumental in my success.” He’s learned not only janitorial services from John but also other life skills that have helped him to grow in his job as well as personally.
During this time, he has been involved also with Pathfinder Community Supports, going out with Jessi on Monday and Tuesdays and Nakita on Thursday Activities have included bowling, enjoying the fresh air while walking around Jefferson Pointe, and having lunch at Foster Park. Still, Kristian’s favorite times are working and being at Pathfinder Services itself.
“My dad always tells me that things could be a lot worse for me in certain ways,” he says. For Kristian, it brings a sense of encouragement and inspiration to see the different services provided for people with a disability. “Working makes me feel pretty good. People automatically write you off when you have a disability. Then when you do something, it amazes them. They say, ‘Oh, she can do this,’ or ‘He can do this.’ Just because I’m not in a fast-paced environment doesn’t mean I can’t succeed.”
This bubbly man who isn’t afraid to dance, should a song strike him, doesn’t allow for Cerebral Palsy to slow him down or stop him from achieving what he wants out of life. Pathfinder Services has helped him grow, while uncovering his capabilities. A man who strongly believes God gave him what he could handle, Kristian adores the family atmosphere at Pathfinder Services and looks forward to visiting other locations. He takes those goals one step further and dreams of becoming an advocate for younger people. In a culture where many companies won’t hire someone with a disability, and while understanding the struggles to people with a disability, Kristian remains optimistic about the future. “You never know who is going through something.” He adds, “You can do anything as long as you try.”