Recognizing Mechelle Edwards, Spirit Winner September 2010
We are managed by Concord Hospitality. Concord has four cornerstones the company uses to foster the success of the company. One of the cornerstones is supporting our community. Thanks to our General Manager Charlie Olisa, we have become involved with the Arlington, Texas, school district by employing mentally challenged children at our hotel.
We were told we had three students who would be with us throughout the school year Monday through Thursday from noon to 2:30 in the afternoon. We designated jobs for each of them. One would help in lobby, one as a house person and the other in laundry. When they arrived it was not that easy. They arrived with a teacher who has to keep an eye on all three, and if they were separated they would have to get another teacher to go around with them. Everyone was a little hesitant to have an extra set of eyes on them, but not Mechelle. She said “leave them all in here I am going to put them to work.”
Anyone who knows Mechelle knows that she, well let’s put it this way, does not sugar coat anything or have a problem saying what she has to say. Well, that’s exactly what she did. She put them to work. She did not talk to them in any special tone, she showed them how to work the washers, how to separate, how to load the dryers, fold, basically all the things she does in laundry. Some of these tasks we find very easy she had to go over several times and in great detail for them to understand and grasp how to do it. She treated them like she treats everybody. She also had to deal with some of the issues that come up when dealing with our special helpers. She did this with great patience and understanding. Explaining to them there was enough work to go around when all three of them wanted to do the same thing. One student sometimes likes to take control and she picked up on this right away. So she had specific duties for him to do so he would not interfere with the other two.
Mechelle also insists on having a special CD playing while they are here. Even though we always play music in the department, this CD has to be on because they like to dance to this particular music while they are working. She is always planning things for them to do so they feel like part of the team and part of our success. After speaking with the students’ teacher, Mechelle learned that the children are often are stared at by customers and employees when they volunteer at a local retail store. The teacher said she wishes people would treat them like everybody else. Hearing this, Mechelle has made it quite clear that anybody that looks at them funny or says anything to any of them will have to deal with her.
After only being here a short time the teacher says the boys get to the first job only to ask her how much longer until they get to go work in laundry. I believe these boys feel this way because of Mechelle. We never expected the light and happiness these boys would bring to our department, and Mechelle’s leadership has made this happen.
Posted on Jan 10, 2011