Success Stories

Sara Scharick spent three years trying to find a good job match.

She had some experience – including volunteering at a local charity kitchen that serves free hot meals to all.

However, the Prineville resident was not able to secure a job in her rural community – until she met Kari Clark.  

Sara, 35, was referred to Kari and her agency Central Oregon Employment Solutions through Cortney Gibson, I/DD Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

Sara works at Dillon’s Grill in Prineville

Kari got to know Sara and realized that Sara is a people-person. She approached Erin Keaffaber, manager at Dillon’s Grill in Prineville. Dillon’s is a favorite restaurant with locals, and known for its upbeat, family atmosphere. Kari had developed a relationship with Erin from before she met Sara. She learned that Dillon’s had an opening for a hostess. Kari asked Erin to meet with Sara for the position.

“I wanted to snag her the first day I met her,” Erin said, laughing and squeezing Sara’s shoulder. “She is just so personable. I thought Sara’s personality would be a great fit for the team.”

Now Sara works 15 to 18 hours per week as a hostess at Dillon’s. She greets customers, buses tables, refills customer’s drinks and folds towels, among other duties. With her bright smile and professional demeanor, Sara has become a favorite with Dillon’s regulars.

“Our guests remember her and ask about her when she isn’t here,” Erin said.

Sara walks to work from her apartment, or sometimes rides her electric scooter when the weather is bad.

Kari supports Sara with job coaching and is working on building natural supports and fading. Sara said her advice to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities worried about community employment – try it.​

Sara Scharick: Let the good times flow

“I was really nervous but after the first day, my nerves went away,” Sara said. “Take your time and find something that feels right.”

Sara is now part of the Dillon’s family. She loves meeting new people every day and is friends with her coworkers.

“I think I’ve found the perfect job, because I love people and I love to laugh, and there is plenty of that here,” Sara said.

Sara’s employment team includes: Cortney Gibson, I/DD VR Counselor; Kari Clark, job coach/job developer and owner of Central Oregon Employment Solutions; Sarah Moore from Full Access High Desert is her personal agent; and Jill Hannemann with Abilitree/Work Incentives Network provided benefits counseling.


View a slideshow of Sara at work.