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CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
A Penny Saved
By Beverly Gavin
SARASOTA – Cindy Parlin has worked at a Sarasota Publix as a front end service clerk for two years, and is very proud of her many accomplishments. Parlin’s primary job responsibilities include bagging groceries and helping customers to their vehicles at the store located at 935 North Beneva Road. Initially, Parlin was uncomfortable communicating with the customers, but with the help of her job coach, Colleen Masterson, she now interacts easily with customers. Parlin said, “I was very shy when I started. It took me a while to feel comfortable talking to customers when we walked out to their cars.”
Perlin was born with a developmental disability and receives services from Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with developmental disabilities and recognizing employers that hire them.
According to Parlin’s Publix supervisor Yadira Gray, “She is friendly to the customers, and an overall good employee.” During slower periods at the store, Parlin retrieves carts, cleans and organizes the cash register counters, and returns unpurchased items to the shelves. “Cindy willingly does any task that is asked. All of the Publix staff love and assist Cindy when needed,” said Masterson.
Parlin lives with her cat and her cousin, who winters in Florida with her part of the year. Parlin attends school at Suncoast Technical College, which provides her the opportunity to learn skills and develop knowledge in various subjects. She has learned about many subjects such as Microsoft PowerPoint, nutrition, and artwork. As part of her studies, she also participates in field trips to restaurants and local parks.
One benefit Parlin gains from working is the ability to plan leisure activities. Parlin said, “Working at Publix allows me to save money for vacations and a new set of luggage. I am planning a trip to Disney.” Masterson said, “Cindy is very frugal in her spending and shopping habits, not overspending and consistently saving part of her earnings.”
When asked what she does in her spare time, Parlin said, “I like to prepare my own meals, especially meatloaf. It’s one of my favorite dishes. I like to use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs because it has less calories and more nutritional value.” Parlin also enjoys crocheting. She makes beautiful scarves for her friends and family. She is also passionate about cats and volunteers at the Cat Depot. She recently attended a class to learn more about how to care for cats.
In the future, Parlin plans to continue her employment at Publix, as well as crocheting scarfs to give as gifts to those she holds dear.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).