Quincy woman finds employment with help from an organization in spite of her challenges

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:41 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

QUINCY (WGEM) - A local organization is helping deliver independence to people of all abilities.

One young adult in Quincy has now landed a job, all while living with hearing and vision loss and is taking steps toward a college education and getting her own apartment.

Aubrie Westmaas was born with heart complications, but she isn’t letting that stop her.

She became a client with Challenge Unlimited back in August which helped her find work at a local grocery store.

Her favorite part about the job she said, “...is probably sampling the popcorn.”

And Challenge Unlimited Westmaas said, “...is having the people support you.”

The 24-year-old said the organization helped her navigate her interests, helped her through the interview process and provided coaching once she secured the job and found her bearings.

“Even though the job coaches are not with you anymore, Challenge Unlimited is still a part of what you’re in and you can request the job coach at any given time during your employment,” Westmaas said.

“Aubrie does a great job. When she comes in she’s always happy, always smiling. Honestly its hard to not be happy when Aubrie’s around,” County Market Store Director Sterling Freed said.

Freed said it’s not just about them helping Aubrie, it’s about Aubrie helping them.

“And realizing everybody has value which is what’s great about an organization like this. Everybody has a value we just need to find it,” Freed said.

“Aubrie is, of course, one of our shining stars and County Market has really showed that they like diversity and inclusion and ready to have anyone in their workforce,” Lacey Moore Challenge Unlimited Director of Intake Recruitment and Employment Services said.

Moore said in the last four months, they’ve helped five people like Westmaas, gain independence through meaningful employment.

“Part of the program, we do a client profile and during that client profile we talk with individuals about what their dreams are, what they aspire to do, what they aspire to be and we help them to be able to reach those dreams,” Moore said.

To make her dreams come true, Westmaas said she has more to overcome all with the help of Challenge Unlimited.

“It’s pretty amazing just because we can be in the regular work force and not secluded in a day program,” Westmaas said.

More said Challenge Unlimited has been around for more than 60 years, with a Skills Training Center in Quincy for the last three.

They’re active throughout the Tri-States. They have offices in Marion, Ralls and Pike counties in Missouri and have helped someone with job placement in Iowa as well.

Moore said the people they help is not limited to physical disabilities. They also help those with mental health issues.

“The disability looks different for everyone and truth be told, we all have some type of disability, some way, just some individuals need a little bit more help with their disability to help them meet their goals,” Moore said.

You can call 217-222-7980 to get started.

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.