October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Each Friday during October we will feature an adult with Williams syndrome and their workplace.
Avi Lesser is 28 years old and lives in Illinois. Avi has been employed at both PharMore Drugs and The Perk Center Café for over 6 years. He is excited to share information about both of his jobs.
Avi is a Pharmacy Technician Assistant at PharMore Drugs (PMD), a closed pharmacy that fills over 5,000 prescriptions for nursing homes and hospitals per day and has more than 250 employees (Avi knows each and every one of them!). His primary job is the destruction of expired or unused medication and, he also provides some office support when needed. Protecting people’s privacy by removing labels from the unused medication is an important part of Avi’s job and he takes it very seriously. Prior to working at PMD, Avi had a job at a theater. It was clear pretty quickly that the job wasn’t going to work out, and we were all pretty discouraged but a family friend made a connection for Avi with one of the owners of PMD. Avi went to the interview and as he says “the rest is history”.
When he started at PMD, Avi had a job coach, but after a few weeks the owner of the company called me and asked “do we really need the job coach”? The owner felt that PMD would be able to provide the natural supports that Avi needed…and that has truly been the case! Avi works three-hour shifts at PMD, three days each week. His bosses all have said that Avi makes PharMore an even better place to work!
Avi is also fortunate to work for, and be the first paid employee at the Perk Center Café. The Perk, a not for profit, employs adults with disabilities in a food kiosk which is located in a local park district. Avi works 2 hour shifts as a cashier, two mornings each week. He loves his work at The Perk, and is especially happy when his ‘regulars’ stop by for coffee. Avi’s favorite times at the Perk are when one of his regulars gets their free cup of coffee from the punch card, and knowing this, Avi’s regulars have been known to save their freebee for his shift!