Chris Martin, Director of Employment Services, established SOAR365’s partnership with Underground Kitchen and its non-profit arm, UGK Community First. To date, UGK Community First has delivered over 175,000 healthy, nutritious meals to food insecure communities in the Richmond metropolitan area while prioritizing disability employment.
SOAR365 is happy to connect them with qualified candidates to fulfill a wide range of roles, from garden to kitchen. That’s where you’ll find Dori, the first employee SOAR365 has placed with UGK.
When Dori’s multiple sclerosis started to affect her mobility, she began to have trouble finding work. The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services referred her to SOAR365, where she met her job coach, Adrienne Snead. Adrienne quickly realized that job opportunities evaporated when employers saw Dori’s walker; it seemed no one would give her a chance.
Luckily, Adrienne remembered SOAR365’s new partnership with UGK. She suggested that Dori complete a situational assessment in their kitchen, washing dishes. Dori picked it up easily, needing only minor accommodations to improve her stability. When she received her first paycheck, she was so excited!
And that enthusiasm and dedication hasn’t changed. Although Dori has experienced difficulties with transportation, she has persevered because she loves her job. This month, she’ll celebrate one year of successful employment!
“Underground Kitchen was a blessing for Dori, because they gave her the opportunity to prove herself as an employee who can do the work and be someone they can count on,” says Adrienne.