As part of Disability History and Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of the young adults in the Evergreen Transition Program. The second part of this series, we hear from Paul Reinleitner, Ashley Chen, Andrew Peterson and Ana Gray, all young adults in the Transition Program who recently acquired paid jobs. 

In case you missed it, read the first part of our series, featuring Transition Program young adult, Tim Robinson. 

An Interview with Paul Reinleitner 


Developing Through Teamwork 

Widya Shepardson, who works as a Para Educator in the Evergreen Transition Program, said: 

“I really enjoy working with these students. It’s a team effort; the staff in our class helped them with their applications and the interview process. I check in and coach them at Safeway until they feel comfortable working on their own and are on the path to success. 

I love working at Transition — it doesn’t feel like work at all.” 

Ashley Chen bagging groceries

Q&A with Ashley Chen 

How long have you been in the program?  

This is my first year. 

What do you like about it?  

The outings because it’s fun. I also like hanging out with friends. 

What are some things you’ve learned from it? 

I learned how to apply for a job.  

We heard that you recently started a job at Safeway. Tell us about it.   

What was the application process like? 

I sent in the application then I did the interview. After being accepted, I had to do 8-hour job orientation on the computer. I am doing my hands-on training right now. 

How did your teacher, para educator and/or other support staff help prepare you for the job?  

They helped me with my cover letter, resume, and mock interview. They also helped me during my training. 

How many hours do you work a week? How many days a week?  

8-12 hours a week, 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day. 

What do you do at work on a daily basis? What are your main responsibilities?     

I bag groceries, bring the carts in, put the go-backs back on the shelves, and sweep the floor. 

How do you balance school and work schedule?  

On the days that I have work, I go to work straight then go home. I only go to school on the days that I don’t have work. 

What do you enjoy most about working at Safeway?  

Bagging the groceries and bringing the carts in. 

What is your least favorite part of working at Safeway? 

Sweeping the floor. 

What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?  

Just be prepared to stand all day. 

What is your next career step?  

I plan stay with Safeway for now. 

What is your dream job? 

Working with animals 

What would you do with the money you earned?  

Go travel around the U.S. and buy my own surfboard. 

Celebrating Student Accomplishments 

One tradition in the Evergreen Transition Program allows all students who get a paid job to ring the ship bell. Not only does it signify a cause for celebration, but it also lets everyone in the program celebrate with their peers. Pictured are Paul Reinleitner, Andrew Peterson, Ashley Chen, and Ana Gray as they ring the bell with help from Transition Program teacher, William ‘Jay’ Johnson. 

Paul Reinleitner ringing bell held by teacher
Andrew Peterson ringing bell held by teacher
Ashley Chen ringing bell held by teacher
Ana Gray ringing bell held by teacher

An Interview with Andrew Peterson


Q&A with Ana Gray 

Ana Gray working at floral counter at SafewayTell us about your experience in the Evergreen Transition Program.  

How long have you been in the program  

I have been in Transition for 2 months.  

What do you like about it?   

I like making friends and going on the outings. 

What are some things you’ve learned from it?  

I’ve learned how to apply for a job, how to get a job. 

We heard that you recently started a job at Safeway. Tell us about it.   

What was the application process like?  

The process was hard because it was my first time applying for the job.  

How did your teacher, para educator and/or other support staff help prepare you for the job? 

They helped me with applying for the job and the interview process.  

How many hours do you work a week? How many days a week? 

I work up to 20 hours a week, 3 days a week. 

What do you do at work on a daily basis? What are your main responsibilities? 

I am a Courtesy Clerk. My main responsibilities are bagging groceries, sweeping the floor, and bringing in the shopping carts. 

How do you balance school and work schedule? 

The days I work I don’t go to school. 

What do you enjoy most about working at Safeway? 

I enjoy bagging the groceries. 

What is your least favorite part of working at Safeway? 

My least favorite parts are bringing the carts in and sweeping the floor.  

What advice do you have for someone new to the industry? 

Wear shoes that have padding inside.  

What is your next career step? 

To apply to Starbucks. 

What is your dream job? 

To be a veterinary assistant.  

What would you do with the money you earned? 

I will save my money so I can go to college. 

Congratulations! 

Thank you to all of the young adults who shared their stories, and more importantly, congratulations! BSD is proud of your accomplishments and happy to have you in our learning community. 

 

Partner with the Evergreen Transition Program 

Interested in partnering with the program? The Evergreen Transition Program is growing and is in search of connections to local businesses who may want to partner in providing meaningful volunteer experience for young adults. Contact Jennifer Strehle, Program Coordinator, to learn more and get involved. 

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.