The toy department at the San Marcos Walmart store has a special young woman looking out for it. For the past seven years, Lisa Venturi has helped keep the toys in order and the aisles of the department looking good.
She has had a disability since infancy, cerebral palsy. And because of it, an agency in Carlsbad, “Community Interface Services,” helped her find this job at Walmart. It’s an organization dedicated to helping those with disabilities find employment. They assist almost 500 clients like Lisa from all parts of San Diego County with “supportive employment” and a job coach.
“The only things I help her with are fine motor skills and advocacy. She’s doing the job on her own," said Kat Davis, Lisa's job coach. "She knows how to read the UPCs and work with her co-workers and her supervisors."
Lisa enjoys coming to work at Walmart three days each week, and she likes the opportunity to do something on her own, away from home. “I like to see the people and help customers out. And see my co-workers. I think I’m a real people person," she said.
Her job coach said going to work gives Lisa confidence. “It empowers hers. It empowers her to be in her community successfully and to be social," said Davis.
And Lisa enjoys the rewards that come from getting a paycheck. “I like getting paid on something that I have done," she said.
Despite her disability, Lisa moves about the store with relative ease. If she needs help, she asks someone from her Walmart team to assist her. She speaks of cerebral palsy as if it were a small inconvenience.
“I see people without it, and I don’t know the difference between having it and not having it because I’ve never been without it. So, it’s my companion.”
Walmart store manager Mary Foster said Lisa’s congeniality makes her a valued employee.
“The toy department is a fun department and Lisa has a fun personality, and it’s a mesh that works well. You know sometimes you think of the busyness of the day and the things you have to do, and Lisa just puts you back into perspective and she kind of keeps you real. She’s a blessing to have in the store.”