Keith Grieser was born with cerebral palsy, which severely limits the control he has over his body’s muscles, making it difficult to move around and communicate. He uses a wheelchair for mobility, and for speech relies on an adaptive audio device. But he didn’t let these challenges stop him from going out into the world and finding a career for himself.
Now, he’s landed his dream job: working security for Roger Dean Stadium, a ballpark in Jupiter, Florida.
Keith focuses on his abilities, not his disabilities.
The job was made possible through Work Opportunities Unlimited, an employment agency that specializes in people with barriers to employment.
When Keith met with the organization, telling them he wanted a job, they met with Keith and other people in his life to compile a list of skills Keith had and types of jobs he was feasibly capable of doing. The focus was on what he could do, not on his limitations.
Keith’s own top choice: working in the security sector.
Thinking outside the box, the organization reached out to the staff of Roger Dean Stadium, which due to changing security regulations, was looking to hire 50-60 new employees. After a review, the stadium became satisfied that Keith was capable of fulfilling the necessary duties.
He landed the position of security gate specialist.
The job consists of greeting the thousands of fans who enter and preparing them for security screenings, as well as keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and alerting management, according to Inside Edition.
Roger Dean Stadium is one of the few ballparks that hosts two MLB teams for spring training – the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals – as well as the only one to host four minor league teams. It has the capacity to hold more than 6,000 fans.
“I love my job, and the people I work with are great,” Keith told Inside Edition. “Having a job makes me feel like a regular person doing my part. It makes me feel like I belong.”
“Roger Dean Stadium gave me a chance, and that’s all I’ve ever asked for,” he said.
The staff at Work Opportunities Unlimited noted a huge boost in Keith’s confidence since taking the job, saying he has settled in perfectly and is working independently of the organization.
“He knew what he wanted; he wanted a job and he was determined to get it,” said Susan Scaperotto, Keith’s Career Resource Specialist. “Keith is part of his community and he’s contributing in meaningful ways; you couldn’t ask for more than that.”
This isn’t the first time Keith has proven himself.
In 2015, Keith surprised and inspired everyone by walking on stage at his high school’s graduation ceremony, moving without his wheelchair for the first time in 14 years. According to a video from The Education Network, he worked with paraprofessionals in secret, gradually learning to use a specialized walker.
Keith had been expected to be on stage to hand a diploma to his brother Kyle, who was also graduating that day. But he stunned everyone, especially his family, by walking across the stage. He received rapturous applause from the attendees.
At the time, he told The Education Network his next goal in life was to find a job, and his advice to future graduates was to “never give up on the things you want to do.”
It’s amazing to look back on that event now, watching how Keith keeps following through on his goals and truly living up to his own words of wisdom.
Way to go, Keith!