IHOP, Skip and a Jump

photo (2)
Pam is a hard and dedicated worker. She has spent the last year working with her Employment Consultant, Emily, learning about job possibilities in her community. For the past five years, Pam worked at IHOP in Bloomington, but recently decided to leave that position and really focus on her process of exploring her skills and interests during her job search. While she has been exploring other opportunities, Pam has been able to  do some independent volunteering with the Lyndale Neighborhood Association (LNA), where she works prepping their monthly mailings, making volunteer folders, labeling envelopes, and a variety of other supporting tasks with which they need assistance.All the while, Pam has been engaged in learning about other possible jobs. She has participated in several informational meetings so far, most recently, at  Wagner’s Garden Center in Bloomington.  The manager gave Pam a tour of their store, explaining what a “day in the life” of a Garden Center employee looks like.  The manager also mentioned that they offer a class that could give Pam a chance to experience what their employees do–teaching classes and getting dirty!
photo (3)The class Pam joined taught students how to make a ceramic “leaf bowl”, which could be placed in a garden or used indoors as a centerpiece.  After applying to Community Involvement Programs‘ Participant Fund, she was awarded money to offset the cost of her registration for this class, and excitedly signed up for the next available offering. Pam had the opportunity to learn just how messy work can get at Wagner’s! She had to build a pile of sand and then cover it in plastic wrap.  On top of the plastic, she placed a leaf provided by Wagner’s Garden Center.  She combined water and powdered cement, pouring the mixture over the leaf.  The bowl required at least a week of setting time, and two weeks later, Pam and Emily returned to Wagner’s to paint the bowl.  By this visit, everyone knew Pam, and she was greeted warmly and shown where she could set up a work station to paint her bowl.  With a little help from the staff at Wagner’s, Pam was able to go home with TWO bowls, which she happily reported that she intended to give to each of the women with whom she lives.  Pam really enjoyed the class, and hopes to visit her new friends at Wagner’s again soon…perhaps in response to a job offer!
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