One day in January, Demetrius had just sat down to eat during his lunch break, when he received a surprise.
Holiday Inn HR and Accounts Payable Manager Melissa Johnson presented him with the Employee of the Month Award and a $50 Visa gift card from the Holiday Inn – South County Center.
“They surprised me. It felt great,” Demetrius said.
Demetrius has worked at the hotel since June 2019 as houseman, which is a physically demanding position. Demetrius is responsible for gathering dirty linen and trash from the room attendant carts, gathering additional items needed for rooms that may have been damaged or need to be replaced, vacuuming guest hallways, checking the parking lot for trash, cleaning vending areas, sweeping and mopping stairwells, stocking linen closets, and more.
It was a remarkable recognition for a man who had not worked for two years before being hired at the Holiday Inn.
“Demetrius has such a kind heart and is always willing to do whatever is asked of him,” Johnson said. “He is a team player and jumps in and helps when needed.”
Demetrius has such a kind heart and is always willing to do whatever is asked of him. He is a team player and jumps in and helps when needed.Holiday Inn – South County Center HR and Accounts Payable Manager Melissa Johnson
Demetrius was commended in an email to the hotel’s General Manager from a the wife of a commercial truck driver who stayed at the hotel during a snow storm. Demetrius and a co-worker helped the truck driver access a gated area of the parking lot that was locked and shoveled a path from the street to the lot. The email said “They exemplified what hospitality should look like.”
Demetrius is served by Places for People’s FACT Team, and has received support from Employment Specialist Kas’quri Wren during each step of his employment journey. Places for People uses the evidence-based Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) model to assist individuals obtain and maintain employment.
“I’ve gone up to the job for on-site job support just to check on him and see how he’s doing and touch base with the manager and see if he needs anything from me,” Wren said. “I’ve gotten nothing but great feedback. They love his smile. He’s a hard worker and he’s motivated to work.”
Demetrius, who lives in Places for People’s FACT Cottages in South St. Louis, does not let distance from the job site become a barrier. To get to his three shifts a week, he rides the bus two hours each way.
“I love it,” he said of his job.
Wren said she has seen many positive changes in Demetrius since he enrolled in services at Places for People from the J-Well Docket in April 2018. She said he is taking his medications regularly and is in a better space with his mental health than when he first started with the team. “He’s getting to that point where he needs us less and less, but I feel like he appreciates us for being there for him.”
As he continues to work on his wellness, Demetrius continues to pursue a personal goal to move into his own apartment in the community.
He said his favorite part of his job is “helping others.”