When you ask Linda Valdez how work is going, her response is quick and eager, “Great!” She loves the people. She loves the work. And she loves her team at McAlister’s Deli.
With a desire to find work, Linda and her mom, Rebecca, joined the BDI family in 2017 after a lead from the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA). But this wasn’t the family’s first encounter. The two had worked in the past with All About Developmental Disabilities – an organization that merged with BDI in 2018. With prior knowledge of the organization, Rebecca was confident that BDI would be able to effectively connect her daughter with an equitable work opportunity where she felt seen and heard.
In 2019, Linda officially began working with BDI’s Workforce Resources team. With the help of the team, she went through training associated with preparing for, gaining and maintaining employment. She scored her first-ever job in February 2020 at McAlister’s.
“One of the team members at BDI went with her on her first visit to McAlister’s, so she felt confident and comfortable” said Rebecca.
Linda immediately fell in love with her work at McAlister’s. In her role as a Dining Room Attendant, she greets and serves customers, packages orders and more.
“Her work has boosted her self-esteem significantly. It’s her favorite thing to do, so we’re thrilled that she’s thrilled” Rebecca said. “Even the team at McAlister’s shared that having her around has boosted the general morale and energy in the work environment.”
Like so many others, Linda was furloughed during the onset of COVID-19, but she was able to return to work in May 2021 and continues to thrive.
“We’re proud that Linda has been able to return to work and look forward to continuing to provide job coaching and case management support to her and her family as she navigates the workforce,” said Lyndon Wilburg, BDI case manager.
Linda is an amazing example of the power and joy that employment brings. We’re excited to continue to follow her story and support her along the way!