Gatesway Foundation offers skills training to disabled
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Monday, November 26, 2012
11/26/12 at 6:10 AM
For the last 12 years, Kyle Graham has worked for the Department of Human Service's Developmental Disabilities Services Division, where he picks up and delivers faxes, delivers supplies, builds boxes and helps with the supply warehouse among other duties.
"I like working here. It keeps me busy," Graham said. "I have a great boss and I love working with all my coworkers."
Graham, who was born with Down syndrome, found the job after his case manager directed him to the Gatesway Foundation, where he received job training and was paired with a job coach.
"He's done really great. He follows instructions well and is really motivated," said Pat Wisdom, employment consultant with Gatesway. "Our objective is for the people we work with to have respect, dignity and as much independence as they can."
Clients at Gateway receive skills training, interview help, undergo a skills assessment to find their abilities and even get help with clothes and transportation to and from work.
"We provide a lot of different services; anything we can help them to be successful," Wisdom said.
Graham has also volunteered with Hillcrest, St. John Medical System, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma, Special Olympics and the Gatesway Balloon Festival.
He is also involved with People First, an organization that promotes self-advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, and Oklahoma Professionals for Supported Employment.
"He's so good at advocating for people with disabilities," Wisdom said.
For all his hard work and dedication, Graham was awarded a Governor's Award of Excellence - Disability Employee of the Year for 2012.
"I loved that. I learned a lot," Graham said.
Graham's work supervisor, Nelda Fair, said he's a wonderful worker.
"Things have been added to his job like delivering supplies and making sure that there's paper in all the buildings," she said. "His job has changed and he's been able to adapt. I think he enjoys it."
Fair nominated him for the award.
"I think he deserved it. He's done especially well lately," she said.
Wisdom said that the effect Gatesway clients have on their coworkers is "amazing."
"They're inspired by people who have to work harder to do the same job and come to work on time and are enthusiastic," she said. "Employers who hire our people usually end up hiring more."
As for Graham, when he's not working or volunteering, he enjoys going to the movie theater. "I love going to the movies. I keep everyone updated," he said.
For more information, go online to tulsaworld.com/gatesway
Original Print Headline: Gatesway lauded for aid in skills training
Mike Averill 918-581-8489
Kyle Graham seals and labels boxes of papers to be shredded at his job at Developmental Disabilities Services Division in Tulsa. Graham was able to get employment at DDS through the Gatesway Foundation, which helps people with disabilities find work. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World