Giant Steps Training Program participants
Photo Credit: Jason Lewis for Sentinel
Snack Attack providing work experience for disabled individuals
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
Giant Steps Training Program has come up with an innovative way to incorporate their clients, who have various disabilities, into the workforce. Giant Steps has a program called Snack Attack, which provides employment for people with developmental disabilities.
The Snack Attack program has vending machines that sell snack products. The clients of Giant Steps program go out into the field to find locations to place the machines, and they also service the machines by collecting the money and restocking.
“We’re teaching them work etiquette,” said Khalilah Sharp, who is an Account Representative at Giant Steps. “We’re teaching them money management, how to be organized, and social skills.”
The clients are trained in marketing, maintenance, and business skills. With these skills they are able to earn income and develop a work history that will assist them in their future.
The goal of Snack Attack is to be able to employ people with developmental disabilities so that they become more self-reliant in their own lives and become contributing members in their community.Snack Attack is looking for more locations for the vending machines, which has been a struggle. Many businesses want a part of the profit from the vending machines. But Giant Steps is a non-profit organization, so they need to find businesses that will allow the profits to go back to Giant Steps.
All of the profits go to the clients. To the clients this is like a job. They are paid every two weeks, and they are waiting for payday just like everybody else.
“They’re totally ecstatic when they receive their checks,” said Sharp. “This is real life to them. They have to budget their money just like the rest of us.”
Giant Steps Training Program began in 2001 providing Independent Living Skills to adults with developmental disabilities. Since then, they have expanded their services to include an Activity Center Program with transportation Services, Supported Living Skills and is continually expanding their Employment Service Program.
For businesses interested in having Snack Attack provide a vending machine, contact Sharp at (323) 730-5500, or at [email protected].