The local Hamilton Pizza Hut has received an award--not for its pizza, but rather for what it does and who it helps in the community.
The New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Development has recognized Pizza Hut with the "Work For Me Initiative". This initiative is designed to recognize businesses that hire individuals with developmental disabilities, and Pizza Hut was nominated for its positive approach to working with persons with differing abilities.
David DeSalvatore, an individual who receives services from Upstate Cerebral Palsy and recipient of the award, has been working at Pizza Hut for the past five years. First hired as a dishwasher, DeSalvatore has quickly moved up the working ladder with growth and success. He currently has a variety of different responsibilities including prep work for pizza and salads, pizza box assembly, cleaning and cooking.
Jenn Marshall, manager of the Pizza Hut in Hamilton and who has been there for 10 years, feels that DeSalvatore has impacted everyone who works and eats at the restaurant and she loves every opportunity she has to work with him.
"His fun, uplifting and positive attitude keeps everyone in a good mood," Marshall said. "I personally hired him five years ago and have had no regrets; customers even ask for him by name."
"It has been an excellent opportunity to work with David," she continued. "I look forward to many more years with him and I can't wait to grow with him and make this a continued success."
His placement may have not been made possible if not for the continuing efforts of Upstate Cerebral Palsy's Supported Employment service.
UCP's Supported Employment provides jobs placement services, job training once the individual starts the job and long-term follow-up support to help maintain the job. They are the premier provider of direct-care services and programs for individuals who are physically, developmentally or mentally challenged and their families.