At 22 years old Kate and her family made the move from the Northern Minnesota Iron Range to St. Cloud, MN. This marked a major transition for Kate and her family. Kate started at WACOSA in 2017 and has found joy in the work and community connections she has made. Kate’s favorite job is going to a local manufacturer’s site and packaging mouth guards. Kate also enjoys WACOSA outings such as walks at Lake George and coffee with friends. Patti, Kate’s mom adds, “Kate is proud of herself, and so is our family. Kate is a people person. She needed to be surrounded by caring people. WACOSA staff made Kate feel very much welcomed. Because of this positive personal interaction, Kate made it!” Kate’s message to WACOSA supporters, “Thank you for helping WACOSA so my friends and me have a place to work and learn new things.”
A Dassel, Minnesota native, Trevor is a graduate of WACOSA ThriftWorks! training program, now successfully employed in his community. Trevor enjoys playing piano, teaching children at Awana and spending time with his two dogs. In 2009, he received an Eagle Scout honor with Boy Scouts of America and is now pursuing his dream of becoming a librarian and best-selling children’s book author. Trevor’s love of trains inspired him to create The Adventures of Charley McChooChoo children’s book series. His first book, Danny and the Whistling Engine, was released during Autism Awareness Month in April 2012.
Raised on a farm outside of Richmond, Minnesota, James has a long history of valuing work and learning new skills. Since coming to WACOSA, he’s enjoyed employment opportunities on the in-house production floor and completing various community cleaning jobs. He loves working at WACOSA three days a week, and would welcome the opportunity to work more. With the wages he earns, James enjoys making use of his local health club membership, visiting his extended family in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota and going to the state fair each year with his brother.
Nearly 10 years ago, Ric came to WACOSA after experiencing a traumatic brain injury following an altercation while out with friends during St. Cloud State’s homecoming celebration. The dispute left him in a comatose state for nine months, and doctors did not expect him to recover. Beating the odds, Ric not only recovered, but after coming to WACOSA, he began to thrive. “I’ve come a long way because I’m not a person who gives up,” says Ric. An employee of WACOSA ThriftWorks!, Ric enjoys his work and interacting with the public. “The people at WACOSA ThriftWorks! treat me with such respect,” adds Ric. “My favorite part about coming to WACOSA ThriftWorks! is just being able to be out in the community and do normal stuff.”
A creative and social person, Joe was once working a job that he didn’t fully appreciate. He now loves coming to WACOSA five days a week, where he cleans in the community and works on production jobs in-house, alongside his friends and co-workers. The income Joe earns supports his social outings, and in his free time, Joe gets his creative juices flowing by listening to 90’s music and writing fan fiction, which is published on fanfiction.net. He even helped design WACOSA’s 50th anniversary logo! Co-workers and support staff alike praise Joe for his artistic skills and friendly nature.