Shawn has thrived in the Community Based Day Services program on the vocational track, working on different skills each month to reach his goal of independence.
Today he’s working at McDonald’s in North Reading, 20 hours a week, four hours a day, Tuesday through Saturday. He barely sits still to have his photo taken – he has a list of things to do and he’s focused on completing those tasks, without interruptions.
“I like working by myself,” says Shawn, wearing his signature red McDonald’s gear. “I clean the tables and chairs, mop the floor when someone spills, and fill the napkin and straw dispensers. Sometimes I load up the French fries, get them ready for cooking.”
On summer days he’ll walk to and from work; weekdays his CLASS case coordinator drops him off.
“Shawn leaves from program to go to work, so every day his peers will ask, ‘How’s work?’” says Emily Horn, his case coordinator, who drives him to work on her way home from CLASS. “They see him change into his work uniform that is always clean and neat. Shawn is always on time, so he lets his staff and everyone know he’s leaving. Of course, they’ve all heard the stories of how he’s saving money for the infamous chain he has on layaway.”
“I already bought an iPhone 7, Beats headphones,” says Shawn, whose musical tastes lean toward hip-hop, Lil Wayne and Eminem in particular. “Now I’m saving my money, $50 every Friday, to buy my gold chain.”
So what are the other benefits of working at McDonald’s?
At that question Shawn breaks into a big grin.
“Two McDouble burgers, a chocolate shake and two apple pies,” he says, “Every day.”