Marcfirst | Normal, IL
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Kirsten with her co-workersKirsten comes to work as a beacon of springtime. She is full of energy and enthusiasm, and is ready for her weekly touch base meeting. In the summer of 2012, Kirsten began working at COUNTRY Financial as an intern the Brokerage Department. Before coming to Marcfirst Supported Employment, Kirsten had little to no work experience. She received this internship through the HALO program at Heartland Community College, a two year certificate program for adults with disabilities at Heartland Community College, and was supervised by Marcfirst job coaching. This coaching continued the successful and flourishing relationship that Marcfirst and COUNTRY have shared since 2009. Kirsten was so successful during her summer internship that COUNTRY offered her a permanent position in January 2013. "She fits right in here," says Macaria, a manager of Customer Service Operations at COUNTRY Financial.

Kirsten's other managers at COUNTRY are just as happy to have her as a member of their team. The group is not afraid to testify to her great qualities. They describe her as entertaining, a quick learner, inspirational, smart, organized, and great for the area. When COUNTRY partnered with Marcfirst to hire Kirsten, she was provided with a daily job coach to ensure that she continues to shine at her job. During her 20 hour work week, Kirsten can be found in the office doing an array of tasks. She takes care of late fee waivers for COUNTRY policy holders, opens, sorts, and delivers mail, completes data entry tasks, and anything else assigned to her.

When asking Kirsten what her favorite part of working at COUNTRY is, she cannot choose just one thing. "I like everything," says Kirsten, "I love my work, meeting new people and getting dolled up." Her energy seems to be contagious around the office. Not only does she work at COUNTRY, but she volunteers in the community including the Discovery Museum, and participates in local SOAR activities.

Through Marcfirst's partnership with COUNTRY Kirsten is able to be an inspiration in both the workplace and the community, making her an excellent example of a Marcfirst Supported Employment success story. She appreciates the respect that she is given in at her workplace and is very grateful for her supporters and the opportunity to continue working at COUNTRY after her internship. "I just want to say thank you for all the support I get from the community," Kirsten says with a smile.