BELLINGHAM, Mass. — For Seth and Chris, two clients from Community Strategies’ Bellingham group home, going to work is about more than just earning a paycheck.
For the pair, who recently started working as baggers at their local Market Basket, time at the store is a chance to build confidence, socialize with new people, and be active in their community. The quick chit-chat with customers while bagging their groceries is a high point for both clients.
“I like talking about everything and anything with customers,” said Seth.
Chris agreed, saying he enjoys “shooting the breeze with new people.”
Seth’s and Chris’ job responsibilities keep them active, bagging groceries, helping customers bring their bags to their cars, and other tasks supervisors assign.
“I’ll do whatever is needed,” Chris said.
Working at Market Basket has helped them gain confidence in their abilities to work with the public. Although their jobs can be a bit tedious at times, they look forward to going to work. Seth in particular has developed a positive attitude about his job.
“I absolutely love my job,” he said. “It gets me out of the house to talk with people who see me in a different light.”
Seth and Chris work five-hour shifts for a few days a week.
“The job can be boring at times, especially during snow days, but I need the money,” Chris said.
Working helps the clients develop patience while working in the community.
Occasionally, a day doesn’t go exactly as planned. Sometimes they get pulled off of their regular duties to collect shopping carts or work in the back of the store.
Community Strategies staff provide job coaching for clients who gain employment in the community. Staff help clients complete their resumes, engage in mock interviews, and prepare for life outside the group home. They also assist clients at the job site.
Staff are always available when needed to make sure that clients are able to exercise their right to try new things with adequate support in the community and to live as independently as possible.