David at the Woodland Park Zoo! November 18, 2019 – Posted in: Global News
When David arrives at the Woodland Park Zoo he’s overcome with excitement. This is where he works! David works for Levy Foods, the food vendor at the zoo and is incredibly proud of…
this fact. He tells everyone where he works, excitedly explaining his day in detail. Work was a new frontier for David. He had had other internships before this but this is his first paid position and his first role with a supervisor.
David started working with the Zoo back in July of 2019. Since then David has learned a lot of new skills, including time management. He loves working with his team and is always eager to learn more. David specifically works at the Rainforest Pavilion where he cleans the tables and chairs, sweeps the floors, and ensures the general tidiness of the area. His work ethic is contagious, high energy and cheerful about the task at hand. When he arrives for his day he clocks in independently. He grabs his cleaning supplies and gets straight to work. David starts his day by cleaning the metal tables outside of the Pavilion. He loves to be outside so this is his favorite part of the day. He carefully inspects them to ensure they’re clean from top to bottom. David and his team are working on getting him more familiar with setting up the dining area before guests show up, which will soon be a new task for him. David is a super playful and fun person, bringing energy to the Pavilion that wasn’t there before and David’s team can feel it. They love having him be a part of the crew. He takes directions well as Jason instructs him on his next task. David then heads out to refill the napkin holders and sauce cups, all of which he does independently by himself.
“David’s smile is contagious. He is always in a great mood. He follows directions very well and will be adventurous and try new things and tasks.” – Jason, David’s AtWork! Employment Consultant
This is so much more to David than just a job. It’s a family, and they even call him “Fam”. This group is always hugging and fist-bumping one another. They’re super included in every part of each other’s day. Apart from his direct team, there are even a few regulars that drop by and keep an eye on David. Joyce, affectionately known as the “cookie lady” comes with her group of Zoo Walkers every Tuesday and Thursday to say hi to the team and give everyone a home-baked cookie. The team even makes sure that David can have his favorite pizza for lunch (pepperoni!), ready and waiting at break time.
“David has been such an amazing addition to our team at the Woodland Park Zoo. David is the first to say good morning and will catch your eye from across the room just to wave and let you know he cares. He is always happy to be at work and does a wonderful job while he is here. Jason, his coach, does a fantastic job empowering David by allowing him to work independently while helping him focus on the task at hand. David’s genuine spirit and kind heart make every day working together an absolute pleasure.” – Shelby Britton, David’s Manager at Levy Foods.
And what are David’s job goals? Well, he wanted to work first and foremost so he could go to Great Wolf Lodge, and he did just that! Nowadays David spends his paycheck on interactive games such as bowling with his friends and family. David has an incredibly supportive community of other Down Syndrome individuals. They all even planned a day to come to visit him at the zoo to celebrate his achievement. His mom is also an amazing support, encouraging him to fulfill his dreams every day.