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Matt River Terrace rinsing
Community job builds Matt’s confidence
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Matt River Terrace put away pot

Over the last four years Matt Hower has adapted from a 24-hour home to a training apartment to living independently with his best friend, Adam.

Now he’s taken the next step toward true independence: Establishing himself in a community job.

Matt was initially reluctant to get a job, and his first two attempts didn’t go well, in part because he wasn’t willing to work more than a couple of hours a week.

But in his third try, at River Terrace, he’s finally putting in enough hours to establish a routine and form relationships. Cook Marcia Miller and dietary aide Katie Counterman both said they enjoy working with him in the kitchen, where he’s a dishwasher.

“He comes in with a good attitude,” Miller said.

Matt says what he likes best about his job is “making friends and doing my job right.” Obviously, he enjoys getting a paycheck as well.

On Monday, in between breakfast and lunch, Matt was rinsing pots and pans and loading them in an industrial dish washer. When they were clean, he moved them onto a cart he pushed into the next room to put items away on the appropriate shelves.

“He’s slowly moving from waiting to be told what to do to just doing it,” said DSP Warren McLellan, who helped Matt get the job and has been assisting him on improving his work performance. Warren explained that the better Matt learns the routine, the more comfortable he is and more willing to pick up hours – which then makes him that much more comfortable and confident.

Warren, who’s worked as a job coach in the past, says it’s important that consumers not just work for the paycheck, “because that’s unsustainable.”

“Their attitude has to assist them in helping them figure out how to make it enjoyable,” he explained. “Because that’s something everyone has to learn how to do, whether or not you have a disability.”

Matt puts items away in the kitchen at River Terrace.