By Shaun Szkolnik, for the Tribune
TRUSSVILLE — One of the mottos for Workshops Inc. is “A job is more than just a paycheck. It’s self-esteem…it’s pride…it’s Community”. That is a fitting piece of wisdom from an organization that exists to connect differently abled workers with employers in need of hardworking, dedicated and loyal employees.
One of Workshops Inc.’s success stories is Nadihesda Funes. Funes has been working for The Great Harvest Bread Company for about seven months now. Owner-operator David Snyder could not be more pleased with the arrangement. Funes is a huge asset who is always adding value to the company.
“Workshops Inc. is an organization that assists those with barriers to employment to not only gain employment but their independence,” said Snyder. “We were introduced to Nadihesda Funes, we refer to her as Nadi, back in October through Natalie Brasher who works for Workshops. She went ahead and explained to us that Nadi (and her family) …came to us from Hondorous and Nadi is deaf. She is hearing impaired and was looking for some kind of employment. We taught Nadi how to knead the bread and do some of the behind the scenes kind of things that makes us Great Harvest, and she has thrived and done a great job.”
The commitment that Workshops Inc. makes does not end with employment. They remain a part of the relationship and make sure that all of the pieces fit together.
“Workshop provided us with a sign language person on the onset to go ahead and assist with Nadi’s adjustment to this work environment,” said Snyder. “Nadi has been independent of that individual for the last six months and is just doing great. That organization is amazing. Workshops is really one of those organizations that change people’s lives. It has really helped us, employers, to make sure that Nadi had the resources to go ahead and perform the functions and the things we do.”
Workshops Inc., however, cannot take all the credit for Funes’ success, nor would the organization want to. Funes is a hard worker, and her positive attitude brightens everywhere she goes.
“She’s amazing,” said Snyder. “She’s very punctual. Is willing to do anything. Always has a smile on her face, always eager to tackle any kind of job duty or anything that we ask her to do. She is really pleasant to work with.”
As anyone that has held down a job knows, what happens between the nine-to-five is only a part of the equation. There are support systems that go beyond the work week and must be in place if that work week is to take place. One of the most integral aspects of this coordination is transportation, and for Funes’ tenure at The Great Harvest Bread Company, she has not had means of providing for it. All of that changed Thursday, April 25.
“Recently, Workshops was donated a car, and Ms. Brasher was giving Nadi rides back and forth,” Snyder said. “Transportation is something that Nadi lacks. With this car they were donated, they went ahead and selected Nadi to be the recipient of it, and they’re going to go ahead and makes sure she gets that.
“This is another step towards Nadi gaining her independence. This is a life-changing circumstance for her. It is really going to help her and her family out.”