Good works, good results

Empire editorial

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2001

Hired any good employees lately?

Juneau businesses that work with Linda Esther of Juneau Works have.

Esther has placed more than 100 employees in the workplaces of dozens of local businesses and state and federal agencies one job at a time over the last three years.

Each of her employee-customers had a physical or mental disability, but each also had skills and the potential to contribute to a workplace need.

Many of her employer-clients had jobs that were more essential than glamorous and that were difficult to fill or to keep filled.

If the match-ups seemed obvious, often they weren't.

People with disabilities encounter many attitudinal barriers that tend to stereotype them in ways that limit their opportunities. Esther understands that her employee-customers can do many things well. To succeed, they need to be given a chance and job training and practical considerations. Esther finds employers with open minds as well as open positions.

Success builds success, as is apparent from the growing list of employers who work with Juneau Works, a program of REACH Inc., the nonprofit organization that helps individuals and families with special needs to live and work in the community.

We acknowledge these successes and the people who made them possible - disabled men and women who offered their labor and businesses that accepted the offers.

We extend our special thanks to "Linni" Esther, whose motivation may be inspired by a quotation from Mohandas Gandhi that she keeps near her desk. We have to do the right thing, Gandhi explained, even if our efforts do not bear fruit in our lifetimes. "You may never know what results come from your action," Gandhi continued. "But if you do nothing, there will be no result."

Esther and others are doing a lot, and the results are good.

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