Student Boosts Job Skills, Gains Work Experience at Ladies of Charity Summer Program | Community Spirit
While most students spent their summer vacation soaking up the sun and enjoying a break from school, 20-year-old Matt* came to Buffalo from upstate New York to gain work experience and job-readiness skills at Ladies of Charity, an affiliate organization of Catholic Charities of Buffalo.
Matt came to Catholic Charities through the Summer Employment Experience (SEE) program at the Olmsted Center for Sight, 1170 Main St., Buffalo. Matt, who has special needs and is visually impaired, can read large print and travel independently using public transportation and a cane.
As a SEE participant, Matt gained valuable technological, employment and independent living skills in a supervised job setting from June 26 to July 29, with his career goal focused on working in retail. The SEE program provides blind and/or visually impaired high school students the opportunity to learn about the world of work over a five-week period.
“He is just wonderful with people, has a great disposition and does not mind working hard,” said Joli Morgan, job placement specialist with the Olmsted Center for Sight who worked closely with Matt. “He is just an amazing kid.”
Matt worked at Ladies of Charity, 1122 Broadway Ave., Buffalo, five days a week folding clothes, working the cash register and assembling gifts for the organization’s Shut-In program. He filled more than 600 book bags with school supplies which were distributed to children in need through Catholic Charities’ caseworkers this summer.
“He was eager to learn and really focused on the work we had for him,” said Patra Mangus, Ladies of Charity team leader. “He positively glowed after the first shift at the counter and register.”
Matt traveled from his home in Malone to take part in SEE through a sponsorship with the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH). He was housed at Canisius College, where he was able to develop strong and productive relationships with other participants as well as the mentoring and supportive staff. According to Morgan, Matt received a stipend through the CBVH. When he was not working he was taking a college preparatory class at night as well as other activities, including a visit to the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo. In his leisure time, he also enjoys playing chess, board games and cards.
Of his experience, Matt said he “loved” working at Ladies of Charity and hopes to return next year.
Ladies of Charity assists several hundred children with schoolbags and supplies, is one of the largest participants in the WNY Holiday Partnership supplying Christmas gifts for local children, and operates a Fresh Start program which provides people who have experienced loss through fire or another disaster or had to leave an abusive situation with gently used household items.
To assist Ladies of Charity in their mission or for more information, visit www.locbuffalo.org or call 895-4001.
Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving all eight counties of Western New York, with 70 programs and 61 locations. Founded in 1923, Catholic Charities also provides, without regard to religious affiliation, comprehensive counseling services for children and families, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social and mental health services.
* Student requested to not include last name.
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