Success Stories

Josh’s Journey

My name is Josh, and I am 25 years old. I graduated from the Life Design program in the Jordan School district in West Jordan, Utah. I graduated in 2019 when I was 22 years old.  All through school, I had two jobs!  When I was 16, I got a job retrieving carts, bagging groceries, taking items back, and stocking at Ream’s grocery store. During school months, I worked after school, on Saturdays, and I worked more hours in the summer. After two years at Reams, I was the “bagger boss” I would teach other baggers how to do their job better. For the last two years at Reams, I worked almost full-time as a stocker.  

Josh with 2 of the dogs he walks.

My other job was as a dog walker. I walked three dogs at the same time! When I would tell my friends I had two jobs, no one would believe me, so I showed them pictures of the dogs I walked. I worked at Reams and walked dogs for six years. During this time, I volunteered at the local Senior Center by cleaning up the common areas and talking with members.  I was also involved in sports in many different ways. I was in the basketball league in my church, played with Special Olympics, and became the high school football team manager.

Josh building furniture during his service mission.

When I graduated from Life Design, I wanted to go on a service mission for my church. At first, they asked me to serve in the Bishop’s Storehouse, but it was like my grocery store job, and I wanted to learn something new while on my mission. So, I asked the mission leadership if there was another area that I could serve to learn new skills and do something with my hands. So, I learned how to build furniture, including tables, bed frames, and dressers. I used power tools, painted, and checked for quality.

The best thing about my mission was meeting new people. The hardest thing about my mission is that some people did not understand me when I talked. I also worked alone a lot, which was difficult because I like to be around others and talk to people. Unfortunately, I had to end my mission early because of COVID, but I was thankful for what I learned and the people who taught me how to build and work with people from many different backgrounds.

Josh training “Sunshine”.

After my mission, I went to the Gardner Village farm with my family as an activity, and I liked being there. I have always had an interest in animals and felt like it was where I needed to be.  The farm wasn’t hiring, but there was an opportunity to volunteer. I volunteered for a year before there was a staff position available.  I give tours and tell people about the farm’s mission and the animals that are there. I also take care of the animals. (Feeding, watering, cleaning, taking people on horseback rides.) I take care of the gear and make minor repairs to the stalls when needed.  The best part about my job is when I am with the animals. The hardest part is cleaning the horses’ hooves!

My advice to young adults that are looking to get a job would be:

  1. When you go places in your community, pay attention to what people are doing and if they seem to enjoy it. For example, I could see myself helping people at the grocery store, and when I visited the farm, it was easy to imagine myself working there. 
  2. Take the lead and ask about opportunities- I got the dog walking job because I introduced myself to people at the dog park and got to know them. I also made flyers and put them in my neighborhood, advertising my dog-walking services. During my mission, I asked for the opportunity to build furniture and learn something new.
  3. Be open to learning new things:  At the grocery store, I asked if I could learn how to be a stocker. 
  4. Learn to be confident in your abilities, even if those abilities look different from those around you: For example- Throughout my life, people have had a hard time understanding me, so I did not expect to be giving tours and talking about what we do at the farm, but because I love my job and am good at it, I have become more confident at talking with people and telling them about the animals.
  5. Working and earning money allows me to build the life I want. I have been able to buy a four-wheeler, go on trips, gaming systems, gifts for my family, and planning for my future.

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