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  • Writer's pictureGigi

Thank You Marshalls!

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

I, a young lady, with long dyed red hair wearing a black face mask and leaning behind a shopping cart that says "Marshalls." There is a glass sliding door in the background

Securing employment is probably one of the biggest responsibilities of becoming an adult. For someone with a disability, there are additional challenges to hitting this milestone - finding employers who are empathetic and patient, availability of jobs that are practical for one's skillset, and competing against typically-abled candidates. Finding options that fit those criteria is already challenging, and that doesn't necessarily even include finding work that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Even the most common entry-level "starter jobs" can be daunting for a person with disabilities if they require accommodations to perform the required tasks successfully. For example, scooping ice-cream or lifting 50-pound boxes, communicating with customers in person or over the phone, or even being able to drive yourself to and from work independently, might come easy to most 16-year-olds looking for their first job, but for me? Having less coordination and strength, an atypical speech pattern, and needing special accommodations to operate a vehicle, are all common challenges for someone with cerebral palsy, and all things that kept me from finding steady work for nearly a decade.

I, a young lady, with long dyed red hair, standing behind 5 blue shopping carts in front of the store entrance with glass sliding doors

Over the last several years, there seems to have been an increase in programs supporting individuals with disabilities at all stages of work - the job hunt, interview coaching, and even paid internships with side-by-side training. While I was lucky enough to have access to a paid-internship program last year, that definitely doesn't seem to be the norm for most people in my position. I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with 24 Hour Home Care's program that funded my paid internship with Marshalls.

I, a young lady, with long dyed red hair standing in front of the store getting ready to walk in. One hand is on the handle of the glass door and the other hand is holding up a name tag with the name "Gigi"

I was able to secure a paid internship with Marshalls last year where I would work alongside my LIFE job coach who could give me the support needed to become a valuable employee. I started off in the beauty department, organizing cosmetics, toiletries, and women's accessories. I also got experience preparing products from incoming shipments to be displayed for customers - removing packaging, hanging up clothing, and organizing items to be rolled out onto the floor. Eventually, I was also on the salesfloor, sorting merchandise according to department, and ensuring they were delivered to the appropriate areas. All was going great until March of 2020...

I finally felt like I was getting closer to my goal of having a steady job, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans! Just like that, all non-essential operations were severely limited and I found myself unemployed once again.

I, a young lady with long dyed red hair, leaning on the glass window at the front of the store and standing behind a shopping cart that reads "Marshalls."

Nearly 6 months later, I decided to finally go back to Marshalls to clear out my locker and ran into my former manager, Dawn. We chatted for a bit, and she mentioned there MIGHT be a job opening, though nothing was guaranteed. I left my number with her anyway, with very low expectations, and was so pleasantly surprised when she actually called me back to encourage me to apply for an open position! I am so grateful to Marshalls leadership, especially Dawn, for giving me a second chance to prove myself and to transition to an actual position with Marshalls.

Red, holiday themed digital copy of a letter that reads "Dear Dawn, The holiday season is the perfect time to show those most important to us how much they really mean. While you may feel like you were simply doing your job as a manager this last year, I wantd to let you know that what you've done for me means so much more than that. s a paid intern, relatively new to the workforce, I was still working on gaining my confidence while working at Marshalls. As a person with a physical disability, I have experienced firsthand how difficult it is to meet people who can see my potential versus my limitations. From allowing me to take on growing responsibilities, treating me like every other employee, to even giving me another chance when my internship came to an end, you've proven time and time again that you are clearly a manager that brings out the best in your team members. This holiday season, I want to simply say "thank you" for being you, and giving me the opportunity to discover the best version of me. Best wishes for you always, Gigi

Working for Marshalls this past year has given me so much more than just a paycheck. For the first time in my life, I am able to contribute financially to my family's living expenses, purchase nice things to treat myself on occasion, and shower my loved ones with gifts to show them my appreciation for the years of support they have given me.

Picture of me, a young lady, standing behind a cement pillar in front of the front of the store

Even though I might have had to push my mind and body to greater limits than my typically-abled peers to perform the same tasks, having this job has brought me even closer to achieving the independence I've always wanted. I've also made friends and found meaning in a job that many people might take for granted.

Me, a young lady, standing in front of storefront of Marshalls on a sunny day. I am holding both arms up and wearing a black face mask

Thank you, Marshalls!

With Love,

Gigi <3

Me, a young lady with bright red dyed hair, standing in front of the Marshall's storefront. I am leaning on a cement pillar with a blue cart in front of me, with one hand playfully in my hair

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