Friday, May 16, 2008

Williams Syndrome Man with Winning Smile Makes Work Easier!

Amador Ledger Dispatch:

"Steven Beuving was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes medical issues and developmental problems. This has done little to slow him down over the years - particularly in the social department. Beuving has an unusual knack for striking up conversations with people, talking about everything from music and current events, to his own hobbies like hiking, fishing and bike riding. "One of my biggest interests is traveling," Beuving said. "I really like talking to other people about where they've traveled to. I collect travel guides to different places I'd like to visit. One of my favorite places to travel right now is the Pacific Northwest; although my best trip so far has been a cruise to Alaska."

When Beuving approached The Arc of Amador and Calaveras nine years ago looking for employment, the job coaches realized his natural friendliness and gift for connecting with people made him an ideal candidate to be a customer greeter at Wal-Mart. "Steven has had a great track record in our program," observed Ileshia Knigge, a job coach at The Arc. "He's developed a lot of friendships at his job, both with customers and his fellow employees; and the Wal-Mart managers say he's an absolute pleasure to work with."

Knigge added, "One of the things that make Steven so great at his job is that he has a real gift for remembering names and faces. He always reads the newspaper, and if he sees a customer come in who's been in a wedding or anniversary announcement, he usually remembers and offers them a congratulations when they come in. He's just got the perfect style for that job. He's very respectful to the older customers, and he also knows how to be more casual with the younger people who come in. As far as our supported employment program goes, Steven is one of our greatest success stories."

Beuving will be the first person to agree that his job is tailor-made for his personality. "I really like getting to interact with people," he said. "It's a good feeling just to say hello and seeing how someone's day is going. I get to meet all kinds of different people and I'm lucky enough to have made a lot of friends."

Being the minister of Cornerstone Church in Ione, Beuving's father, Tony, is also no stranger to getting to know people - although Tony admits that when it comes to making friends, his son can be hard to keep up with. "Steven has gotten to know so many people through his job it's incredible," said his father. "It really seems like he's friends with half the county. From our family's perspective, it's been a good situation for him and Wal-Mart's been an excellent employer."

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