Fifty years ago, a young man rode his bike to Jewel and filled out a job application. He was interviewed, hired, and hasn’t looked back!  That 18-year-old was John, an individual served by Little Friends Supported Employment Program who celebrated his golden anniversary at Jewel this May. 

As a utility clerk, John bags groceries and collects carts at his community store.  He shares that learning to separate the food was difficult when he first started, but now his customers can be confident their bread won’t end up squished at the bottom of the bag!  John likes helping the customers he meets the most, especially older people and those with babies. All the customers make him smile, along with his coworkers and job coach. 

Little Friends job coaches help John navigate job skills such as appropriate customer and co-worker interactions, maintaining a professional work appearance, and scheduling and troubleshooting transportation to and from work. They also serve as a liaison between Jewel and John’s home staff, as he also participates in the Little Friends Residential Services Program, to schedule time off and address any concerns related to John’s overall well-being.

During an anniversary party celebration hosted by Jewel, John told everyone he loves his job and his boss. He loves it at Jewel!

And they love him right back.  To commemorate this milestone and the memory of the young boy who rode his bike to Jewel, he was not only celebrated with cake but was also gifted a new bike at his party. We are grateful to the staff at Jewel for supporting John all these years and helping him become an important part of his community.