Throughout life all anyone ever wants is to feel welcomed and a part of a team. Figuring out how to do so can be a difficult challenge especially when you are searching for this in your employment. Christina Kempainen is an example of someone who just wanted to be accepted for whom she is at work and finally she found that. Christina is a Ride Operator at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America and absolutely loves working with the kids. When asked what her favorite part of the job is Christina replied, “It is fun to be a kid again because you can make kids laugh and turn their day into a good day.” This is something Christina is very good at!
If you are ever at Nickelodeon Universe you may hear someone telling your child, niece, nephew or sibling “No texting and driving!” That someone is not just anyone, it’s Christina! The first time her employment consultant, Molly Palm, heard Christina do this; she had to walk away because she was laughing so hard. The kids’ responses back to Christina were priceless and Molly could tell that Christina was right where she needed to be all along.
Not only does Christina bond with each and every child that comes to her rides, she also
is able to connect with some of the most important people in the children’s lives; their parent(s) or guardian. Christina has a very friendly personality and she is able to let her true self come out at work. She is always aware of her surroundings and will go out of her way to help if she feels there is a situation where help is needed. As Christina’s employment consultant, Molly’s biggest success has stemmed from Christina thriving at work and receiving excited phone calls from Christina explaining the kid’s reactions to her jokes.
Being in a customer service role can be very challenging and demanding for Christina. The biggest lesson Christina has taken away from this is being able to let her true personality shine. “They love my creativity and I’m awesome like superwoman.” She also thinks that the staff at CIP are awesome, “CIP has the best job coaches in the world because they have stood by my side and have helped me have a voice.” Christina is someone that we can all learn from.
As a ride operator Christina is responsible for: scanning tickets, checking children’s heights, checking seat belts operating the ride and most importantly having fun. Each shift Christina is a part of a team and environment that welcomes her personality which is nothing short of fun and spunk! “We all have an inner child in ourselves” Christina stated to her employment consultant while explaining one of the many reasons why she enjoys her job.
Christina has many goals for herself while working at Nickelodeon Universe. Ultimately she wants to help others the way they have helped her by becoming a team leader. She also wants to continue working super hard and make sure all the kids have a super great time! Next time you are at Nickelodeon Universe make sure you say hello to Christina, chances are she may tell you no texting and driving.
Author credits: Molly Palm, Employment Consultant
Photo credits: Meg Lee, Assistant Program Manager – Supported Employment Services