I'm feeling like an archeologist.  A mediocre archeologist.  I'm realizing that there is what I remember and what actually happened.  Thank god for emails, texts and Jennifer's memory because my working memory apparently needs an aid.  Here are some corrections to the previous post. 

  1. We applied to 18 organizations on Volunteer Match at first.

  •  We cast a pretty wide net when we first applied for jobs.  We got some sort of response from about half of the organizations almost immediately.  Two great jobs came out of this search 1. Lan Su Chinese Garden and 2. Thrift it the Volunteers of America store.       

        2.  It took time to get the jobs.

  • There were lots of email exchanges, an interview I'll talk more about later, questions and a general 'hurry up and wait' feeling.

       3.  We got frustrated with the waiting, so we  applied to 6 more jobs.

       4.  We were very upfront about Alex's Autism.

  •   The original applications were sent  with this message: 


I am seeking an unpaid internship/volunteer position for Alex Irvin.  
Alex has Autism.  He is 16 years old, and lives in South East Portland.  I am in search of a position, if at all possible, for this summer season.  

We are hoping to cultivate opportunities which support a connection to our community. Alex is an intelligent, sociable, and happy young man with a broad skill set. We have had several successes with part time jobs, and are in search of new possibilities. 

Alex will be accompanied on site at all times by myself, Jennifer Kapnek.  I am fluent in his abilities and challenges, and have been working with Alex for more than 10 years. 

Alex's skills include, but are not limited to; organization, stocking, sorting, cleaning, vaccuming, watering, weeding and mowing.  Alex is a competent and strong young man, able to lift in excess of 40 pounds.  We are interested in building his strengths in a clearly defined job(s) which can be accomplished in 1-2 hours during the business day, one or two times each week. 

We regard this as an excellent opportunity for everyone involved, and sincerely appreciate your consideration. 

Warm regards, 

Jennifer K.

  • Jennifer suggested putting together an actual resume for Alex to bring to interviews or attach to applications forms.  It was a great idea.  I'm a big fan of the photo at the top.  It's a shameless tactic and I love it.  If something makes someone pause, or hesitate if they are on the verge of saying no, I'm all for it.  Here is the first resume we created.  I like that it's also a small communication builder.  People have a rough idea of who Alex is and what his interests are.  


  Our first resume.   

Our first resume. 

I wish I was more linear in presenting all of this.  The process was a lot of the 'two steps forward one step back' dance.  It still is.  Were on the verge of starting another job search. Now that we have solid information about how Alex has moved through these jobs we have new ideas for what's next.  I want Alex to find a job where he is in some form of a leadership role.  Sound nuts to you?  Yea, it might be, we will see.  This next step is definitely going to be a non-linear dance.  Thanks for sticking with me through this!