We close April, Autism Awareness month with the story of Frederick “Freddy” Mok, a twenty-two year-old man with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who found work at Uniqlo.
When Freddy came to Goodwill NY-NJ in March 2013, he told our Bridges to Success staff that he wanted to work in retail. He said he didn’t like “down-time” and liked to be active. Soon he proved it.
Here at Goodwill NY-NJ, Bridges to Success serves individuals with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders, who want to work. Located in Long Island City, Queens, Bridges offers comprehensive services for residents of the five boroughs of New York City.
The statistics about individuals with autism are staggering:
- More than half a million young Americans with Autism Spectrum Disorder will “age-out” of the education system when they turn 21 or 22 in the next decade.
- ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability nationally.
- According to the CDC, the number of people diagnosed with ASD is increasing rapidly and expected to double in some states in the next decade.
Bridges staff helped Freddy identify his goals and assessed his skill set to find volunteer opportunities where he could hone his skills and develop new ones. At Bridges, Freddy continues to receive Day Habilitation services to improve social and communication skills. He works on enhancing positive social behaviors, financial skills, and self advocacy abilities.
Freddy began by volunteering in a library in Queens because he enjoys organizing things. There he organized and shelved books, improved his communication skills, and practiced his customer service skills with library patrons. This helped built up his resume.
Last November, Bridges staff helped Freddy get hired at Uniqlo. As a member of the stocking team, he replenishes, organizes, and sorts clothing by size and style. His supervisors note that Freddy is consistently punctual, keeps a clean stockroom, and seeks out new responsibilities.
With the help of his job coach, Freddy went from new employee to working on Black Friday in a few weeks. He weathered the holiday season rush and made an effort to work independently. “This was one of the most demanding days in my life,” said Freddy.
Today, Freddy works a full day during the weekend at Uniqlo, studies office administration and technical support Monday to Thursday at Kingsborough Community College, and attends Bridges to Success Day Habilitation on Fridays.
Freddy is one of the many stars of our Goodwill programs, proving that anybody can find work and live a productive and happy life!
For more information on services for individuals with autism, please contact Josephine Quay at (718) 777-6358 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridges to Success:
33-24 Northern Blvd.; Long Island City, NY 11101