Local Roots Gives Man Community
Words and photos by Olivia Minnier
At Powell’s farm-to-table restaurant, Local Roots, visitors might recall the food, the atmosphere, or customer service as things to note. However, there is one person exceptionally excited to be there that customers do not see; a dishwasher named Jordan.
Jordan Higgins, a Delaware City native who turns 31 soon, has worked as a dishwasher at the restaurant for around 5 years after finishing his continued education at Oakstone Community in Westerville.
Higgins has been receiving services from the DCBDD since he was two years after he suddenly stopped talking, said his mom, Cindy Higgins.
“Really early on he went to an early childhood/special needs center called Hickory Knoll. His preschool was also a special needs preschool with others mixed in through Delaware City (Schools) he had inclusion up until fifth grade.”
Cindy Higgins said he attended Dempsey Middle School until seventh grade when he was transferred to Oakstone Academy in Westerville.
“He stayed in their career program until he was twenty-one,” she said.
Higgins attended a few day programs in the area before getting his job at Local Roots. Cindy said that the restaurant chose to forgo an outside job training coach and decided to train Jordan themselves, which he did well with.
Jordan says that he enjoys his job at the restaurant and looks forward to seeing his co-workers. When asked, he named a whole list of staff he has become friends with over the years.
“We go in there to check on him every once in a while & they say ‘we love him, he’s just perfect.’” said his dad, Paul Higgins.
The exposure to the local community and others has been incredibly beneficial for Jordan in multiple ways. Cindy and Paul both said that Jordan’s communication has improved significantly since working.
“He’s able to talk in more complete sentences now,” Cindy said.
Higgins is also seeing the monetary benefits of his work after he had an experience with a couple who tipped him $10.
“They saw him working and were so happy he was there, because their son is unable to work, that they wanted to tip him,” said Cindy.
Jordan is excited to go to his job every day and had no complaints when asked about things he disliked.
“I think he just likes getting out during the day and seeing something different every single day,” said Paul.
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Technology Resource Feature
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Ohio’s Tech Ambassadors are a resource on how Supportive Technology can be used at home, at school, at work, and in the community. Tech Ambassadors share their personal experiences through peer-to-peer mentoring sessions, either in person or virtually.
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