Gabby Gibson was born with Down syndrome, a disorder that causes developmental and physical delays. After aging out of school, the St. Clair Shores resident attended the Lutz School for Work Experience – part of the Macomb Intermediate School District – where she learned about careers and practiced different types of work and skills.
Gabby was ready for her next step – getting a job.
She was connected with the JVS Pathways to Careers program, where Rita Yarber, JVS career navigator, helped Gabby discover her preferences, interests, talents and aspirations. Yarber then worked with Gabby to identify an ideal career path and match her with an employer.
“I think it would have been difficult for Gabby to get a job if we didn’t have JVS helping her and looking out, finding jobs for her,” said Lorna Gibson, Gabby’s mother.
Gabby found a good match at the KFC restaurant on Hoover Road in Warren. Gabby’s exceptional work ethic and positive attitude have earned the admiration of her boss and coworkers. Initially, she was hired to do cleaning work, which she loves to do. Over time, she has been asked to help with food preparation also.
“Gabby is awesome working with the team members,” said Ashley Heard, the restaurant’s general manager. “She loves coming to work. She always has a big smile. She comes in and she goes straight to work.”
JVS recently honored Gabby with the JVS Employee of the Year Award for overcoming barriers to employment to become an exceptional employee. The award was presented at the JVS 21st annual Strictly Business Networking and Awards Luncheon in June with a crowd of more than 600 business and community leaders.
“Gabby loves people and people love her,” said Yarber. “She’s involved in everything. Wherever you go in the community, people know Gabby and everyone says amazing things about her.”
Watch Gabby’s video here!