by Alex Kuethe, Mentor Associate

Since May 2018, PIN member Connor has worked several jobs. In August 2018 he started working at an airport pizza restaurant, and then GET Café and ACME. He also volunteered at New Horizons Senior Program. Since February 2022, he has worked at Bryn Mawr Hospital as an Environmental Services worker, where he is thriving. At his 6th month review, he was called a “shining example” and received a raise. At his one-year review, Connor was promoted from part-time to full-time, which came with health benefits and regularly scheduled pay raises. Connor has been able to increase his financial independence because of his job.

While Connor thrives at Bryn Mawr, his journey to get there was not always easy or encouraging. Connor says, “In 2019 while I was job-searching after I left my job at the airport, I just started to feel lost because I applied for several new jobs” without getting them. Connor recalls some interviews during which he chose to disclose his disability status; saying, “after the interview, we didn’t get an email or a phone call from them.” Connor also struggled to have a workable relationship with a supervisor in one of his former jobs, which ultimately influenced his decision to find a new position. While at times it may have been a struggle to get there, Connor notes that Bryn Mawr is fine with his disability status, and they support him by supplying check lists and clear directions.

Along with his efforts at work, Connor continues to pursue his dreams. He says, “my goal is to become a voice actor for anime, video games, cartoons, and others.” Inspired by his co-workers, he started an account called “Connor the Impressionist” on TikTok, where he shares weekly impression videos. Initially hesitant, he now finds it confidence-boosting and rewarding. Connor supported the business of fellow PIN member Dillion by commissioning him to design business cards. Last year, Connor’s aim was to post his first online impression video; this year, he intends to audition for a voice acting role.

It is evident that one of the reasons Connor has been able to succeed is because of the personal connections he has made throughout his life. He credits both his family and past and current PIN staff with helping him find jobs, organize paperwork, and complete other job onboarding requirements. At work he is a valued contributor and popular coworker, thanks in no small part to his lively impressions that break up the workdays. Connor has made many friends with other PIN members who have influenced and expanded his interests in things like anime and fan conventions. When asked why he wants to be a voice actor, Connor recalls fond family memories of re-enacting his favorite TV and movie scenes with his brother and sometimes their father. It seems that no matter where he goes, Connor has a positive impact!

Posted in Blog JEVS Program: Independence Network