Meet Tony, a MRI Day Vocational Training participant. Tony may be blind, but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing his passions, including music. Tony taught himself to play piano by ear at the age of five. However, his musical abilities don’t stop there! Tony can also play keyboard, auto harp and sing.
MRI clients and employees can hear Tony’s music around lunchtime. Monday – Friday from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Tony plays piano outside the cafeteria so those who are eating lunch can enjoy some smooth tunes. Tony enjoys playing the piano because other people enjoy it. One of his favorite things to do is make new friends and he feels he does this best through music.
Tony used to travel around to various nursing homes and libraries to play piano for the guests. He hopes to start doing that again soon so he can continue meeting new people. His current goal is to create a CD and hear himself on the radio.
When Tony is not playing one of the various instruments he enjoys, he can be found bowling with his friends, hanging out with his girlfriend or watching a classic Western film.
In October of 2004 Laury suffered a traumatic brain injury, leaving her in a medically-induced coma. When she regained consciousness a few months later, she had a long road ahead of her. The road began with having to learn how to walk and talk again. Laury now reflects on her recovery process with openness and humbleness. She believes that her stubbornness helped her through her recovery; she is grateful for her second chance.
After her accident Laury moved to Decatur, Illinois to be near family and was quickly referred to MRI. When she was ready to return to work in 2006, MRI’s Community Employment Services and Laury’s own “stubbornness” helped her reach her goals. The Community Employment Specialists at MRI helped Laury through vocational interest and capabilities assessments. In the weekly job training sessions at MRI, Laury quickly demonstrated her dependability, ability to follow through and readiness for employment. Laury was placed in a kitchen staff position at St. Mary’s Hospital, where she worked from 2006-2013. This position allowed Laury to have support in her first job after her brain injury, with 3 others from MRI and a job coach on-site.
“When I came to Macon Resources, it was a godsend. They help you as much as they possibly can. MRI gives you all the resources, and you do the footwork.”
When Laury’s kitchen helper position at St. Mary’s was eliminated due to budget cuts, Laury came back to MRI again for help. This time, with years of solid employment under her belt, she needed less support. She got assistance again from Community Employment Specialists to apply for jobs independently. They helped her with job applications, interview preparation and job seeking.
Laury now works for Sodexo Magic at ADM corporate headquarters. After taking career interest assessments at MRI, Laury knows she is in the right field as a kitchen helper; she takes great pride in the work she does.
“I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to sit around much,” Laury explains. “I love working in a kitchen. It keeps my mind busy and makes time go fast.”
In addition to working, Laury enjoys reading books on her Kindle and travelling with her mother. She recently moved out of government-subsidized housing and now rents her own home with the money she makes with her job at Sodexo/Magic. Laury has just purchased her first car since her accident 11 years ago. She speaks with pride on the new house she is able to pay for herself and the work she wants to do with her car.
To learn more about MRI’s Community Employment Services and Eligibility Criteria, click here.
Danny, an MRI Day Vocational Training participant, works in MRI’s license plate production.
Danny has been working in license plate production since he graduated high school. He performs several different jobs involved in the manufacturing of license plates, such as placing stickers and packaging. However, he prefers to work on the take off line. The take off line is a physically demanding job that requires Danny to be on his feet 8-10 hours a day.
Danny also assists Sandy, the LP Packaging Foreman, with training new staff. In fact, Danny even helped train Sandy when she was first hired 15 years ago! Because of MRI’s job training and placement, Danny is able to live independently by paying for his mortgage and household bills. He has also grown in both his confidence and responsibility. He takes pride in the work he does.
“Danny has a fantastic work ethic and rarely, if ever, calls off. He is adaptable and flexible and accepts any job assignment offered to him.” -Sue, Danny’s Case Manager
Producing the license plates at MRI has given people like Danny a chance to gain independence through a job. Since 1983 MRI has produced all of the license plates for the state of Illinois, meeting state production needs and delivery schedules.
For more information about MRI’s license plate production and other manufacturing and production services MRI engages in to provide job training to adults with disabilities, click here.