Jacklyn McDaniel is an energetic young woman and an enthusiastic grocery sacker at Crest Foods grocery store in Midwest City. She’s also a creative soul, an aspiring writer who spends her free time working on her Disney-inspired fiction project “Snow Rose and the Beast,” and an artist whose illustration was selected for the 2016 Dale Rogers Training Center holiday card.
“I started at Dale Rogers Training Center as a newbie. I didn’t know where to sit, I didn’t know anything. I sat at an empty table and here came Dustin. He said, ‘Hey, what’s your name?’ Then I began to learn, little by little. (DRTC) helped me a lot. I like to work. Working inspires me to work!” Jacklyn says.
From March 2015 to November 2016, Jackie was a part of the Vocational Services Program , and participated in the Crest training program during her time at DRTC. She later sought job assistance through DRTC’s Employment Services Program, landing a job with Crest in 2017, where she shares a nearby home with her parents. Jackie moved to long-term stabilization through DDS until Feb. 2019, when her DRTC case was closed for successful completion. DRTC can/will provide support should Jackie need it in future.
She now confidently earns her own paycheck, doing a job she loves, which allows her to help her parents with bills, which makes her extremely proud. “I’m not going to spend my money on useless things. I like to help my parents.”
Jacklyn’s tasks at work include sacking groceries and helping customers take them to the car, as well as some cleaning and light stocking chores to make sure her area is work-ready. “Shirley, my manager, and about five ladies worked with me every day to be less stressed, focus on the job, and always have a smile on my face,” she says.
“Say you want your bags light. I’ll put five, maybe six items in the bag. But if you say very light, I’ll but more like three or four items,” Jacklyn says. “I just learn, little by little. We aren’t stupid, we just have a hard time learning sometimes.”
Jacklyn, like most of us, identifies with what she does for a living, and her work is meaningful. Theresa Flannery, Community Resources and Compliance Director for Dale Rogers Training Center, says that’s exactly as it should be. “Jacklyn is a very young woman. She’s being given the opportunity to think about her life beyond just living with her mom. DRTC gave her the opportunity to do paid work. Crest hired her, and that allows her to keep growing.”
Disability is no longer the kind of barrier it once was. “People aren’t bad, but they sometimes don’t know how to integrate people who are different from them. Without these kinds of opportunities, without Dale Rogers, the only option for people like Jacklyn was to stay home,” Flannery says.
Instead, today, Jacklyn is flourishing, a fact that makes Flannery smile. “What I love about Jacklyn is her independence, her confidence in pushing boundaries, her creativity and her vision. She’s got so many opportunities ahead of her and we’re excited to see her grow.”
Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is the oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains or employs approximately 1,000 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org.