(Dis)abilities + Work + Beaverton = No Problem! Meet Riley Merrill, Hard work reaps Nintendo rewards

By Dirkse CC Team

We all remember our first day of work – the nerves, uncertainties, and anxieties of new beginnings. If this was the case for Riley Merrill, it certainly didn’t show. Riley entered his first day at Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District’s Howard M. Terpenning Complex like a pro and hasn’t looked back.

Riley, a third-year student of the Beaverton Community Transition Center, set a goal for himself: To find employment before he graduated. Joining in the crusade was Dirkse CC Employment Specialist Michael Shareshian. Not surprisingly, Riley met this goal well before his final year started. Now, five months into employment at the Athletic Center, Riley’s self-confidence, personality, and determination to succeed are on full display.

With the support of Gretchen Gorman, THPRD’s Adaptive and Inclusion Specialist, Julie Rocha, and supervisors George and Robert, Riley has found meaningful employment in the community where Riley’s countless positive attributes, not his developmental disability, are illuminated. And, thanks to Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Eric Stone, Riley has the resources to eliminate barriers and contribute to society in meaningful ways.

When asked what Riley enjoys most about working with THPRD, Riley replied, “The people there in general…They’re funny, they’re nice, and they completely understand.” All team members of the Athletic Center have Riley’s back just as Riley has theirs. While on the job, one of Riley’s favorite tasks is vacuuming. Other responsibilities include inflating basketballs, disinfecting surfaces to reduce the spread of germs, and sweeping basketball courts.

When Riley started earning paychecks, his unsolicited generosity shined through when he gifted his step-mother Tanya a piece of jewelry. Riley assured us that he got a good deal. And, in the interest of “self-care,” Riley was finally able to buy himself the long-coveted Nintendo Switch. His team at Dirkse CC and THPRD know that with his strong work ethic, Riley will never be late to work because he’s playing videogames.

If you would like to know more about how your business can access motivated and hard-working people, contact Cindy Bahl, Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events at Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. 503-258-7715 cindy@dirksecc.com