David Fuentes never gave up.
His Personal Agent, Sheila Conroy at Full Access High Desert, has known David for a long time. She said he worked in a community job when he was younger but didn’t know the full benefits until six years ago, when he was hired at Madras Cinema.
David, 39, is a member of the Warm Springs Tribe and was supported in his job search by Steve VanHouten, retired Vocational Rehabilitation counselor.
“David has never given up hope,” Sheila said. “He never gave up his dream of community employment.”
Lydia Hemsley, Supported Employment Program Manager of Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon, said Madras Cinema has been an ideal employer to partner with to support job opportunities.
“This is a great example of a long-standing employer who is dedicated to employing individuals with diverse abilities,” she said.
Part of the reason for David’s success is the encouragement and support of his wife Sara Fuentes. Sara and David met while they both were in employment path services at the Opportunity Foundation thrift store in Madras. Sara supports David with communicating. She said David wanted to do more than he was at the thrift store.
“He likes the movie theater better,” Sara said. “He makes more money and he likes not being around a lot of people.’
David comes in and cleans before the movie theater opens. He works three days per week for about 12 hours per week.
“I like it when it’s quiet, when the customers aren’t here,” David said.
David enjoys the other perks of working at a movie theater, including free movies and discounted candy. He likes action movies and was excited about the latest Mission: Impossible film.
“David has always had big dreams and aspirations,” Sheila said.
David said he is using his paycheck to buy equipment for his bowling league. He also goes on fishing trips with his uncle.
“His job helps him pay for fishing tackle,” Sara said. “He likes that he can buy that himself now.”
David’s employment team includes: Ryan Johnson, job coach with Opportunity Foundation; Sheila Conroy, Personal Agent with Full Access High Desert; Steve VanHouten, VR counselor (retired); Marisol Lopez Moreno, Personal Support Worker; Jill Hannemann, benefits counselor; and his wife, Sara Fuentes.
View a photo slideshow of David at work.