As Little Red Hen continues to grow, it is always a great opportunity to spread the message and services that we provide to reach even more people; like all those that attending the First Annual Northern California Autism Symposium last Friday at Chico State. This event was started because smaller counties like ours do not have access to as many resources as larger areas, making Little Red Hen a perfect fit to spread the message of our great programs and services.
After a quick introduction of how she started Little Red Hen, Executive Director Teresa Wolk-Hayes turned the stage to Human Resources Manager David Marabella, who had some fun facts to share about employment in the autism community, and benefits of the kind of supportive employment that Little Red Hen offers:
Little Red Hen does not pay below minimum wage, even though many employers still do
Over 80 percent of individuals on the autism spectrum do not work, even though they want to
More employers need to put more of an emphasis on the social team work aspect of work, it improves self-esteem and promotes increased productivity.
Alex Wolk, the inspiration for Little Red Hen, shared stories of how and why he got involved with the company and how working for them has shaped the person he has become. By instilling a strong work ethic in him at a very young age, Teresa helped him grow as a person, and working at Little Red Hen increased his self-esteem while helping him form genuine friendships.
Mike Fishkin was on the other end of the employment range, facing many challenges as an autistic adult going undiagnosed until the age of 37. Mike credits determination and a strong support system for finding his way, even landing a job at a classical radio station as well as his job at the Little Red Hen, where he works largely independently in the Financial Department. Little Red Hen is truly a supportive work environment and is leading a positive example of how employees can grow on the job, forming friendships, learning new skills and becoming a positive force in and around their community.