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Success Stories - Nathan

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Nathan grew up in Zumbrota, Minnesota, a small town outside of Rochester. He began his working years bouncing around between workshops and enclaves, as there wasn’t much else available to him. Despite this, Nathan knew he was capable of so much more than stuffing envelopes and cleaning fitness equipment. These “jobs” were generic at best, and said nothing of Nathan’s skills or interests.

Nathan Giving a Speech

Nathan has strong skills in planning and organizing. He is also a strong leader and loves to teach and delegate tasks. He runs his own meetings, plans parties for his family, and writes his own speeches, which he has given to crowds in excess of 500 people. Nathan is an active member of several disability activism groups and is also an avid participant in the Special Olympics. He took part in the Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Program and in 2004 was named “Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year”. Nathan is also a true performer and a few of his biggest passions are dance and cheerleading.

Nathan moved to the Twin Cities in the spring of 2010 with the goal of pursuing individual and customized employment. Once he began meeting with the Employment Team at Community Involvement Programs, he was thrilled to learn that he would be the star of his Discovery Process.

The three themes that Nathan helped determine were: Planning and Organizing, Public Speaking and Instruction, and Performance Arts and Music. Nathan went on approximately 20 different informational interviews with a wide variety of local businesses. Some of the informational interviews included: the KSTP Television station, where Nathan was given a behind the scenes tour; Mobile Entertainment’s Segway Tours where he got to try out a Segway; the Zenon Dance Studio where Nathan was able to perform a dance that he had choreographed himself for professional dance teachers; and the assistant coach of the University of Minnesota cheerleading squad, someone Nathan had always hoped to meet.

Nathan working with a Youth
Eventually, Nathan went on his final informational interview. It was with Heather Patton, a Youth Development Specialist at the Southeast Area YMCA in Woodbury. Heather was instrumental in developing a partnership between the YMCA and the Special Olympics of Minnesota and instantly recognized Nathan. Once Heather learned of all of Nathan’s skills and interests, it wasn’t long before he received a job offer.

Nathan is now working as a Youth Development Staff, teaching adaptive sports and cheerleading classes to children between the ages of three and twelve. Nathan is also leading a pilot program that is a partnership between the Special Olympics and the YMCA. The Young Athletes Program is for children between the ages of two and seven and is a cooperative learning experience for children both with and without disabilities. Since its launch, this program has been very successful, largely because of Nathan.

Nathan is very excited to be a part of something so big and to have a job that finally fits his skills and interests.