I’ve known the Krikacs for many years because our children went to school together. We all have wonderful memories of many theater performances, camcorders in hand. I remember walking into Our Thrift Store for the first time in September of 2005. Dave was at the register and we had a catch up chat. He soon asked if I might be interested in a job and a few weeks later there I was, learning to job coach some incredible adults with special needs, many of whom are still employed. We slowly grew the clothing department into the huge production it is today. Early in my career I was a high school music teacher and have experienced the reward of positively impacting students. But the reward of job coaching special needs adults is so much more. We are a family that laugh, cry, grieve, sing, dance, and pray together. We encourage and lift each other up when needed. The only thing more rewarding than working with these incredible special needs adults is seeing the pride in their parents’ faces, knowing their child has a fulfilling and important job. While challenging at times (and definitely exhausting!), job coaching these amazing people provides immense joy and satisfaction. It has made me a better parent, wife, daughter and human being. These lyrics from the song “For Good” from the musical “Wicked” sum up my feelings much better than I ever could.

I’ve heard it said 

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn

And we are led 

To those who help us most to grow

If we let them 

And we help them in return

Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true

But I know I’m who I am today

Because I knew you….

Like a comet pulled from orbit

As it passes a sun

Like a stream that meets a boulder

Halfway through the wood

Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?

But because I knew you

I have been changed for good

by Karen Rowland