Throughout her life, Miranda has fought to overcome limitations and pursue her personal dreams and goals. At only six months old, Miranda Wolf was expected to never walk, talk, or sit up on her own. Despite the prognosis, Miranda’s family would not let her succumb to a disability. Miranda’s family always encouraged her to develop skills far beyond what was expected. Today, Miranda holds two jobs and is involved in various activities in the community.
Miranda works independently, takes public transportation, and has been a reliable employee at Mini-Hops Gymnastics in Plymouth for over 7 years. In addition to Mini-Hops, Miranda found herself a second job in November, working as a greeter at Creative Kidstuff in Minnetonka. She is paid fair wages at each of her positions, and she has received bonuses in the past. Miranda is helping to defeat the notion that people with disabilities deserve to be paid less than minimum wage.
Miranda’s stepfather, Mike Mason, explained several programs she engages in through work and life. These activities have taught her how to advocate for herself and be interactive with people in the community. Her first job was through Transition Plus, where she worked at a local coffee shop. This gave her experience in developing her work ethic and skills.
After she graduated from Transition Plus, Mike said, “We found a wonderful organization, Community Involvement Programs. CIP provides two things for her: Employment Supports and Community Engagement on her days off from work.” Community Involvement Programs used a discovery process to find Miranda employment that fits her own personal skills, interests, and passions. The discovery process included interviewing Miranda, her family, going to informational interviews with companies that fit Miranda’s themes of interest, creating a job, and customizing a position.
The “perfect fit” for Miranda was found at Mini-Hops Gymnastics in Plymouth. Miranda had been doing gymnastics through Mini-Hops’ Special Olympics program since she was 10 years old. She loved participating in gymnastics there, and Mini-Hops had a need for someone to help clean and organize at their facility. Miranda has thoroughly enjoyed working at Mini-Hops for the past seven years. She has excellent natural supports from all of her coworkers. She is independent in her job tasks and is a valued team member keeping the building clean, sanitary, and organized for many scheduled activities throughout the day.
Several months ago, Miranda had a desire to earn more money. All of the skills she has learned over the years at her previous jobs gave her the self-confidence that she would be able find another that would fit her interests. Miranda and her support staff used similar philosophies from the discovery process to find her additional employment. She applied to Creative Kidstuff in Minnetonka with a great resume of work experience and community engagement. Miranda was offered the job on the spot as a greeter!
“The important message is that supporting people with disabilities with an ultimate goal of total integration into the general public can be successful. [It] will allow people with disabilities to contribute to society as a whole,” Mike explained. Miranda’s prognosis as a baby was very limiting, but she broke the mold of what was expected by not embracing the limits others bestowed upon her. She has gained confidence from working in an environment with real expectations, real wages, and cultivating meaningful relationships. Through these experiences and supports, Miranda has learned and utilized the tools she needs to make her goals a reality.
Author and photo credits: Alyson Kehn