Meet Doug B.

Doug B. came to Challenge with significant transportation barriers to employment when he entered our Supported Employment program in 2011. One of the job developers set him up with an interview with our Contract Staffing Manager, Larry Workman, and he was given a job as a dishwasher in January of 2012 in one of the dish rooms that Challenge operates at Ithaca College.

Doug was excited to be given a chance to show that he had what it took to work in a busy College Dish Room that serves thousands of students every day. The fact that he had no idea how to use public transportation did not prevent Doug from maintaining a job. He started out using Gadabout to get to and from work; however after Doug completed the Travel Training program that Challenge offers, he found that using TCAT was a more affordable option. Not only did Doug save some money by learning to ride the TCAT, he gained additional skills to become more independent within his community.

Doug wakes up very early in the morning; some mornings as early as 5:00 am. He completes chores on the family farm before heading off to work. Doug has cared for horses, donkeys, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, as well as his furry family of cats and dogs. This is no easy task when the winter brings freezing temperatures. He also bears the responsibility of helping to care for his young nephews who are staying in the home. When all of this is done, Doug gets ready for work. On the days that he takes the TCAT into Ithaca, he walks over a mile to catch the bus. Doug struggles with being confident of time passing, so he makes sure to arrive to the bus stop well before the bus. Once Doug arrives downtown he has to make a transfer, then he heads up to Ithaca College to work the Lunch Shift. Coworkers can rely on Doug to lend an ear when one of them is in need. He is such an integral part of the team that coworkers are first to notice if Doug is off from work, as this close knit family has come to depend on him as much as his supervisors do.Even when Doug experiences a few setbacks in his own personal life, he can be found pitching in to keep the busy flow of the dish room moving. Doug is the first one to ask his peers if they are in need of a cool drink while working in the hot and humid atmosphere.

What’s next for Doug? He aspires to get an apartment of his own. With continued supports in place, there is no doubt that he will one day reach his goal and live and contribute independently within his community. Doug has made great progress since first coming to Challenge and has become a valued member of the Contract Staffing team.

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