Fifteen years ago, Adam Menden was like many of the other students at Mankato West High School; he went to class and participated in activities. He was even manager of the West High football team. But Adam was unlike some students in other ways; he enjoyed school, loved interacting with teachers and friends. “One thing about Adam,” his mom Mary Jo says, “is that he has always been very social. He loves to interact with other people.”
There was one other thing that set him apart, Adam was born with Down Syndrome. So when it came time for him to leave high school and the daily interaction he had with students and teachers there, the Menden family knew they had to find a way to keep him engaged in life.
“I was familiar with MRCI even when Adam was as young as 8 or 9 because he was involved in Special Olympics and we got to know people that spoke highly of MRCI so we had a familiarity with the organization,” his dad Dan says.
Dan and Mary Jo reached out to MRCI, who helped Adam transition in life.
Mary Jo says, “It was immediately obvious to us that they live their mission statement. From top down, they are genuine and have never waivered. Even though there have been changes on the business side of things and increased competition in the industry, they continue to live the mission to advocate for the clients. They have great respect for all of their clients and want them to succeed. Throughout every step they have put Adam in a position to succeed in life.”
First, MRCI helped Adam find employment at The River Hills Mall, where he began working five days a week. It was a perfect fit for Adam.
Mary Jo says, “MRCI has been a great conduit. Throughout the organization they really listen to what his needs and desires are. And they give honest appraisals, which we appreciate. Through job coaching they help him by pointing out behaviors that he needs to control while working. When he does well they praise him, when he lacks off they point that out too. That’s why when he gets a raise or advancement he knows he has truly earned it and it makes him proud.”
Adam is 35 now, he hasn’t lived at home since 2005. He is a thriving participant in our community.
Dan says, ”I honestly don’t know what we would do without MRCI. I mean in every aspect they’ve helped from employment to transportation to finding the right staff. The job itself gives him a connection to his community and gives him a self- worth he wouldn’t have had otherwise.”