Springfield restaurant employee featured in national publication

Darrylin “Dee” Humphrey has worked at Fresh Abilities for almost two years after being hired through The Abilities Connection, a Springfield organization committed to providing safe, inclusive workspaces for individuals with disabilities.

Fresh Abilities is a quick service restaurant offering healthy options and is operated by The Abilities Coalition in COhatch Springfield, downtown.

This month Dee’s story of breaking barriers was featured in the national publication, Newsweek.com.

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“I have diabetes, which has resulted in neuropathy: a dysfunction of the peripheral nerves, giving me pain in my feet and making it difficult to walk quickly or stand for long periods of time. To top it off, I have severe arthritis, and I also struggle with reading and counting,” she said during her interview with Newsweek.com.

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Humphrey graduated from Springfield High School, and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center in 2011, having learned skills in auto service work.

Despite her disability, Humphrey said she was at least able to blend in with other students in school, although financial difficulty proved to be a point of struggle for her family after the death of her stepfather when she was growing up, and eventually the loss of her mother.

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“Before my mom passed away in 2013, I was trying to get a job to support her and to help her out. When she passed, I started living with my grandmother, who takes care of me, and now I help her out [financially]. Before this job I worked with Kroger for six years, but when I got tired of Kroger, I tried to rush to find another job,” she said.

Humphrey then came across her opportunity to work with Fresh Abilities.

“I just was done dealing with shopping carts in the heat, or the winter, or rain and stuff. So when my guy friend told me about this job, I got an interview at TAC, and when Fresh Abilities opened, I was like, ‘I can work a restaurant job, I could do salads,’ and I just really love it,” she said.

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Humphrey said she is happy and fulfilled, as she has moved to the point of being able to train others at work, and feels she has purpose.

“My name is Darrylin, and I am so much more than my disability. I am breaking barriers,” she said, in the closing of her Newsweek interview.

Manager of Commercial Enterprises at The Abilities Coalition Bridget Doane expressed pride in Humphrey. “We are so proud of Dee and how much she has grown over the last year and a half, since joining the team. You can find her most days working at Fresh Abilities with a smile on her face.’'

To read Darrylin Humphrey’s interview with Newsweek, visit https://www.newsweek.com/im-disabled-bagged-groceries-job-market-tough-1602496.

To learn more about The Abilities Connection, visit https://www.tacind.com/.

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