Pushing Through Change

Getting back into the workforce as soon as possible was a goal of Derris Q.’s since his High School Transition Project SEARCH graduation in 2016. He originally came to Goodwill Industries of Kansas through the Kansas Vocational Rehabilitation Program as a referral for Community Employment. He continued onto a successful job for almost six years before company policies and changes in management left him without one.

Derris had to learn to start over. He had the will, but not the confidence or knowledge to continue onto something brand new. The Goodwill Community Employment team was able to help introduce job possibilities to Derris. As he was rebuilding his confidence, he became open to new things while working side-by-side with a training specialist. 

He began a job at Maize USD 266 last fall as a Para Professional on a Special Education bus. Every school day Derris awakes bright and early at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to assist students on the bus.

Derris was named ‘Para of the Month’ in December of 2022. This award was voted on by his coworkers, peers, and supervisors in the USD 266 Transportation department. He is willing to lend a hand where it is needed and has a known nickname of ‘D’ around the department.

Since coming to Goodwill, Derris’ independence has blossomed, and he has become a happier person at home. He is now open to the different changes in his life and career. Goodwill set the original foundation, but Derris continues to strive for new achievements.

Learn more about our Community Employment program here.