When Cody “Cole” Whittaker began working at Opportunities in Tyler (OIT) in 2007, he felt like he finally found where he belonged. Having attended Andrews Diversified (ADI) in the summer for several years, he discovered he could make friends and bring home a paycheck.
Working at the old OIT, he learned how to do many tasks and also learned to work independently. He was trained on nearly every job that came through OIT. Cole was reliable enough to work independently. He was a great material handler able to expedite finished product to the docks via pallet jack, or even replenishing supplies for the line.
In 2015, OIT became Commercial Services and Cole was there for that transition. Now at a new building and a new program, Cole finished up his Pre-Vocational program with anticipation of going through the Work Adjustment Training Program (WAT) offered at Mission Services.
In May of 2015, leaving many friends behind, Cole took a confident leap into the WAT program. With his great work ethic and ability to learn, through the WAT program. He gained necessary skills to work outside of the Goodwill family and move into employment in the community.
In December, Cole began working at Super 1 Foods. He has been able to learn new tasks and make new friends. Cole can be found in the parking lot doing a “buggy round up” helping customers return buggies. His co-workers say he is helpful and learning very quickly.
Cole wants to remain at Super 1 so that he can help take care of his mother. He has new friends, a much bigger paycheck and his mother is very proud of him.
He wanted to thank staff members from Commercial Services, Flo, Leroy, Sandy and Gloria for always being patient with him and willing to teach him how to do different parts of jobs. He still gets to see his old co-workers and friends from Commercial Services at the regular dances held at the Glass Center sponsored by Community Access. He enjoys movies, Special Olympics where he plays basketball, track, swim, bowling and softball.
Congratulations Cole! We are certainly proud of you!