Meet our shop cashier Clint Copeland!
In November 2019, Clint started working part-time at the shop. Now he welcomes customers to the Blue Umbrella with his warm gaze and easy smile. At first glance, Clint's quiet nature hides his gifts and ambition. But after a chat with Clint, it's easy to see that he's a man of talent and dreams. When asked about his favorite thing to do, he pauses thinking a while, until store manager Erin Skrodenis chimes in to remind him of how he loves to play the piano. Only then does he share his talent -- how he "just knows" where the keys are and how he can "pick up a song" if he hears it a few times. Talking more, his ambition becomes more evident. Clint says he wanted to work at the shop to help himself become more self-sufficient. As a visually impaired adult, Clint encounters some employment challenges, but he is working to overcome those in part through experiences he gains at The Blue Umbrella. “I want to provide for myself and be as independent as possible,” Clint says. In his daily life, his challenge is interacting with people and navigating big crowds. When he goes to the store or a crowded area, he must instantly adjust and navigate around people. He avoids running into anyone or knocking anything off a shelf. In the workplace, Clint describes one of his biggest challenges as being able to see the computer screen, but he’s excited for a program to be added that will speak what’s on the screen to him. Challenges aside, when he gets his paycheck, Clint spends his money like anyone else – on his groceries and other living expenses. He likes to eat out and buy gifts with what’s left. But to Clint, working isn’t just about pay, but also about improving his skill-set. “Working in the Blue Umbrella provides me experience with a computer and the opportunity to learn about retail. It helps me to practice communicating with people. I’m learning to speak up and communicate better, make my voice louder.” Practicing these skills helps Clint to move toward a big dream he has. Some day he wants to go to law school, and he wants to practice family law. Clint believes he can achieve his dreams if he keeps working hard, and he hopes those around him will notice more about him as a person than his visual impairment. He says, “I'm a person like everybody else. I love to play the piano. I like to eat fish at the café on Fridays. I’m very easy going and easy to get along with. And I want to work. I hope people will encourage those who have disabilities to work and achieve their dreams.” Stop by The Blue Umbrella on Thursdays and Fridays to say hello to Clint!