Aatif, a disabled United States Naval Air Force Veteran, came to Goodwill of Orange County’s Tierney Center for Veteran Services seeking assistance to achieve his career goals and move toward self-sufficiency. Through the Tierney Center’s employment and career counseling support, Aatif was offered an employment experience opportunity working with one of Goodwill’s various programs.
In his role, Aatif would work as a job coach providing support to individuals with developmental disabilities as they gain valuable job skills and move toward greater social and economic independence.
It was in this position that Aatif met Carmelo, a Goodwill program participant. Carmelo spent a few hours each day rolling silverware sets at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles in Anaheim. While Carmelo enjoyed this task at the restaurant, his ultimate goal was to work in the kitchen as a cook.
Upon learning of Carmelo’s true passion, Aatif approached Goodwill’s program management with an idea. Using his 27 years of experience as a professional chef, Aatif proposed that he work with Carmelo on an individual basis in the kitchen. Roscoe’s manager, Elmo and the kitchen manager, Tony both agreed to give Carmelo a trial run to live out his dream with the help of his job coach.
Aatif accepted a full-time position with Goodwill in order to teach Carmelo the necessary skills to succeed as a prep cook for Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.
For the past nine months, Carmelo has exceeded expectations and continues to grow in his position. He has acquired new skills using kitchen equipment and completes important tasks that help keep things moving in the busy kitchen.
Carmelo looks forward to continued employment and more responsibilities.
Roscoe’s states, “He is a fast learner who always comes to work with a big smile, in fact, he has the best attendance in our kitchen. He’s really a member of our family.”
Aatif appreciates how much Carmelo has taught him in return and is pursuing a Master’s degree in social work to continue his personal dream of helping people.