A 23-year-old Fruitvale resident has become the cover girl for a hard working role model in the province.
Though Kayleigh Postmus has had a seizure disorder since birth and among other challenges was diagnosed with autism at 17, her positive attitude and tremendous support from her family has landed her “super star” status.
Kayleigh, who is about to celebrate her four-year anniversary as a Wal-Mart employee, will be highlighted in the book “The Power of Knowing Each Other,” which was developed by Community Living of British Columbia (CLBC) and the Family Support Institute.
The book comes out this month and shares stories about informal safeguards told by B.C. families.
See POSTMUS, Page 3
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“We slept for many years with one foot on the floor, always listening to hear if she was having a seizure through the night,” said her dad, Ben Postmus. “What we found is you have to drive it yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.”
Kayleigh is beyond pumped about her tale from volunteer to paid employee being included in the book but is also flattered that she will be featured in CLBC’s annual report, which centres around stories of engaging families and self advocates.
“I was happy and shocked,” she said, when the Times caught up with her.
Kayleigh just returned from a quick trip to Vancouver with her dad, who captured the annual report photo shoot for CLBC, a provincial crown agency that delivers support and services to adults with developmental disabilities and their families.
“This is a huge motivator for families who have someone who is special needs. It’s a reminder that anything is possible,” said Ben, referring to his daughter’s succesful employment record.
With financial backing from CLBC and an eagerness from Wal-Mart, Karen Boutin was hired on as a job coach to provide support and direction to Kayleigh at work.
“Kaleigh has just excelled, she is definitely a role model for anybody who feels that they may not fit into the workforce,” said Trail Wal-Mart manager Chris Beblow. “It’s a huge accomplishment for her and we’re all proud of her at the store.”
Described as a “very personable, high energy gal,” Beblow said Kayleigh fits in great at the store, where she works in the garden centre. Among her duties, she is responsible for watering plants, facing shelves, unloading freight and changing prices on stock.
“I think a lot of employers look at it as a disability, when in fact anybody is capable of anything, it’s just finding the right position for the right person,” said Beblow, adding that Wal-Mart has about 170 employees, about six which have “different” needs.
“Just because somebody may have a disability, doesn’t mean they can’t be developed to learn something new and understand it,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how you approach the situation.”
The major sports fan was keen on getting a job so she could make some “moola” to support her passion for local hockey.
The Smoke Eaters and Nitehawks fanatic follows up on stats with local coaches and attends almost every game. She is also interested in writing, and tightens her skills by rewriting stories found in the sport’s section.
Coming from a family with three brothers, it’s no surprise that Kayleigh feels most at home watching her younger brother Arie play for the Nitehawks.
With her dad acting as a coach for the Special Olympics, she is also involved in bowling and bocce and plans to take part in floor hockey when it starts up locally for the first time this fall.
“This is a great thing for her, but more importantly it speaks hugely to the issue of people with disabilities and how valuable they are to the community,” said Ben. “I don’t see Kayleigh as a person with a disability but as a person with different abilities.”