“This is a really big step for him,” said Rickie’s mom, Kimberly. Rickie started working for Innovative’s Janitorial Services program three months ago and already loves his new position, team, and new-found independence.
Rickie spent many of his teenage years struggling to feel accepted. When he was thirteen, he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum that can cause affected individuals to have trouble with social skills. Unsure whether the world would ever accept him for who he was, Rickie attempted to take his own life. “He was having an extremely difficult time,” his mom, Kimberly, shared. “There was some really unsafe behavior like jumping out of windows and running into the highway. We ended up in the hospital with crisis support.”
Feeling desperate for a solution, Kimberly enrolled Rickie in a therapy program that utilized horses as animal therapy for youth with difficult behaviors. The program helped him find structure and learn respect and compassion for himself. It gave Kimberly hope that her son would one day be happy and independent. With time and dedication from Rickie and his family, “he completely turned around,” she said.
Once Rickie graduated from high school, he was excited at the prospect of getting a job. He jumped at the opportunity to apply for an open position in Innovative’s Janitorial Services program. “They accept people like me, even if they have autism,” he said. He started cleaning at a childcare center and took the initiative to ask for a second site only one month into his position. “He’s talking more to people, which he doesn’t normally do. It’s been great for him.” Kimberly said. He’s even purchased his first truck and he’s planning to move out on his own for the very first time.
Rickie is enjoying his new position, and sees the opportunity to excel, “I plan on just staying here, and continuing to clean. After a few years, maybe I could become a supervisor,” he smiled. “That’s my goal.”
Innovative Services NW Janitorial Services is a nonprofit that delivers a quality janitorial service while providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities or other challenges. We’ve offered a full range of services to private businesses and State, County, and City facilities for over 25 years. If you know someone who might be interested in our Janitorial Services, you can visit our website here.