Being part of her community is important to Natalie Gibson.
Natalie, 16, is a junior at Western Hills High School and enrolled in the Cincinnati Public Schools’ Project Life program. During summer break, she wanted to participate in a camp but ran into transportation barriers.
Rather than being deterred, Natalie and her mother worked with Robert Long, HCDDS transition coordinator, to find job opportunities. She applied to her neighborhood Kroger, which was within walking distance of her home.
At the end of June, Natalie and her team stopped by the store to follow up on her application. The hiring manager was impressed with her friendly personality and initiative, and Natalie was interviewed on-the-spot and offered a part-time job as front-end courtesy clerk.
“I always wanted a job at Kroger,” Natalie said. “I like making my own money and I’m going to buy a PlayStation 5.” Her co-workers added that she’s doing a great job and is a valued member of the team.
Though originally intended as a summer job, Natalie decided to keep working once the school year started. “Her sense for responsibility is maturing,” said Long. “She wanted to get a job in the community, make her own money, and be responsible, and it was something that she didn’t want to wait for until she graduated high school.”