The Amazing Achiever: Lindsey West’s Story
By Janis D. Gioia, MAEd.
Our final interviewee is Lindsey. From Akron, Ohio, Lindsey is an original super-shipper of team Peaceful Fruits! She has worked on all the different aspects of shipping; everything from labeling snacks to organizing packaging for the mail pickup. Her story is as lively as it is inspiring; we’re so lucky to have her at Peaceful Fruits!
The Amazing Achiever: Lindsey West’s Story
A Rough Start
Lindsey West can do just about anything.
The 26 year old graduate of Hudson High School once won a limbo contest…while on rollerblades!
While life has definitely taken off for Lindsey now, at age 26, she didn’t skate through her early childhood years. There were a lot of hard knocks and roadblocks along the way.
“I had a rough start,” Lindsey shares, “I was a “miracle baby.” My mom had to have an emergency C-section and I am lucky to have made it. So many bad things happened to me as a child that I got PTSD. I had a lot of struggles in my childhood.”
One of those struggles was battling anorexia nervosa, when she was just 6 years old. After overcoming that illness she learned how strong she was and that she had tremendous will power.
Having self-determination serves her well as an adult when she is confronted with a mental health diagnosis, self-esteem issues, moodiness and racing thoughts.
An Exemplary Employee
One of the biggest boosts to her self-esteem was landing a job at Peaceful Fruits.
The company, known for its eco-friendly and sustainable business model, prides itself on partnering with social services agencies, like The Blick Center, and offering full wage employment for individuals with disabilities.
“I love my job at Peaceful Fruits! Peaceful Fruits changed my life,” Lindsey exclaims, eager to share her daily responsibilities.
“Right now I do shipping and labeling, but I would love to do even more things to help Evan and make the company grow even more.”
Bonny King, MS, OTR/L of Blick Center says, “My focus as an occupational therapist is to maximize the skills of the individuals I work with; to expand their functional roles and to help them feel a sense of meaning and accomplishments.”
“Skill development is usually followed by increased confidence and increased confidence leads to a sense of pride and a willingness to try new things,” she concludes.
Lindsey’s accomplishments at Peaceful Fruits have led to a greater sense of self-worth.
She beams, “I love making customers happy and getting paid, but I also love that working at Peaceful Fruits has helped me realize my true self and the person I want to become."
“I have worked at other places, but Peaceful Fruits is exciting because it’s been so successful for me. I have become a quick learner, learning many new things.”
A Jack of All Trades
In business there are technical skills, and soft skills.
Lindsey has become a master of both.
By having a routine and work she enjoys, Lindsey is better able to control bad moods and racing thoughts. The job focuses her attention on positive things, pushing negativity far into the background.
When she’s not working, Lindsey crochets her stress away.
“When I am having negative thoughts I love to crochet, knit or write in my journal. My favorite thing to do is crochet.”
“Lindsey is quite talented with her crochet projects,” Bonny confirms. “She can read and follow patterns by herself, downloading new ones from the internet. She is way ahead of her teacher!”
Some of Lindsey’s creations are on display and for sale in the lobby at Blick Center or through their holiday art mart.
The meditative and healing benefits of her crocheting, and the joy she finds with Peaceful Fruits have put Lindsey in a very good place in life.
“I would like to thank Evan for this opportunity. This job gives me positive thoughts, so when I am getting down, I think about my job at Peaceful Fruits and it makes me so happy. Then I don’t need any other help to get over my mental state.”
An Awesome Social Enterprise
Founder and CEO of Peaceful Fruits, Evan Delahanty, loves having great employees like Lindsey building his company. It’s part of their overall mission as a social enterprise business.
They were named one of the top social startup enterprises in Ohio in 2016.
Evan says, "Every time I walk into Blick, the greeting I get blows me away. The people are so excited to work together to build the business, to do a great job, and to be part of the community that makes Peaceful Fruits so great. I can't help but get ultra-motivated every single time I go in there. I feel so lucky to have discovered this incredible group of people."
It’s been said if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
In that case, ever since Lindsey joined the Peaceful Fruits team, she’s been happily “not working” for quite some time.
Janis Gioia is a special education teacher who specializes in writing Success Stories for organizations supporting children and adults with disabilities and mental health challenges. Let her emotional, inspirational and evocative storytelling bring your message to life.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.