June 1, 2023

Jana Kennedy’s Recipe for Meaningful Employment

Jana Kennedy’s passion for doing work in the prep kitchen area stems from her marriage with her grandma. Her grandma, who is 83 yrs previous, now has a difficult time cooking. Kennedy took that as a cause to learn her way all around the kitchen to make points simple on her. It is a little something she’s passionate about and she can take it critically. “It signifies a great deal since that means I am equipped to just take that added load off her, so she won’t have to be like ‘oh, I have to prepare dinner now,’” Kennedy says. “Like, no grandma, I bought it.”

A woman smiles for the camera. She's standing outside in front of mountains.

Jana Kennedy employed the expertise she developed on the playing industry to put together her for work.

Her dedication to assisting her grandma encouraged her to come across entire-time work and turn into much more impartial. And the route to her recent placement at Steak 48 was 1 several people with mental disabilities can relate to. When attending the South Facet Occupational Academy, Kennedy was launched to Exclusive Olympics. Athletics was the 1st sport she experienced and competed in and at some point observed her way to skiing, flag soccer, and golf. But whilst she enjoys competing it’s the human interaction that she enjoys the most.

“I love observing previous friends and the academics that I went to college with,” she shares. “So, a whole lot of persons and the songs and the dancing of study course.”

For numerous individuals like Kennedy, Distinctive Olympics is so a lot much more than just competitors. It is a pathway to dwelling an independent existence and getting financially steady. With the support of Special Olympics Illinois staff members member Melissa Garritano, Kennedy was on her way to that intention.

“Melissa Garritano known as me up and asked if I required to implement for this occupation,” Kennedy states. Right after the original conversation took put, the two commenced performing on the software. And with the assist of a single of Garritano’s friends, Kennedy was equipped to redo and spice up her resume a bit.

A group of 4 people pose for a photo in a restaurant.

Kennedy (front) and her loved ones rejoice a night out at Steak 48, in which Kennedy is utilized.

Just before she was employed in 2021, they took her on a tour of the cafe and gave her some heritage at the rear of it all. With a number of positions open up, when asked, she opted for prep operate.

It was not her competencies with kitchen work or her enthusiasm to study cooking for her grandma that gave her the self esteem to use for a task like this. It was Special Olympics.

“Special Olympics prepared me for this occupation by telling me what to do and what queries to inquire,” Kennedy says.

At perform, she commences the working day by placing on her white chef’s coat and planning the knives and other provides for prepping. Ahead of they start, she normally remembers to put on her hair internet, that way nothing receives into the food stuff. With a tone of enjoyment and a bit of laughter in her voice, Kennedy states her favourite food to prep is lobster.

“It’s seriously fun simply because it is difficult and I enjoy to study new factors,” Kennedy claims. “They have live lobster and when they would open the box, you’d have to decide on them up and place them in the boiling drinking water. All people was constantly scared and so I’d do it and joke with everyone.”

She enjoys to browse in her spare time and enjoys the assumed of what’s up coming for her. For now, she will go on operating in the prep kitchen, together with taking part in Distinctive Olympics and cooking for her grandma. However, she’s brief to issue out that she’s continue to youthful and nonetheless in the system of locating her correct self, whether in the restaurant enterprise or inevitably going to an institution of larger learning.