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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2019

CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director
850-414-7551

Be Our Guest

By Nicholas J. Bique

MIAMI, FL – Presentation is important at any restaurant, almost as important as the food itself. With Alejandro Rozas at Los Ranchos restaurant in Miami, you’re in good hands.

Rozas, 25, works as an assembler at Los Ranchos in Miami, where he folds the silverware into the napkins and shines the glasses. Before beginning his job at Los Ranchos, Rozas participated in a 12-week culinary internship at the Miami WOW Center learning about hygiene practices, contamination prevention, food preparation, and knife safety twice a week. Upon completion of the program, participants graduate, receive a certificate, and prepare a meal for their family and friends. 

Rozas is still new on the job, but his Job Coach Melissa Barbieri says that Alejandro is eager to work and willing to learn. She also says, “Having Alejandro at the restaurant is really important; having more visibility within our community helps break barriers and change the perspectives of other business owners and customers who don’t often get to interact with many persons with disabilities in their day-to-day life.” Working allows Rozas to buy himself clothes and lunch when he goes on community-based education trips.

Support Coordinator Monica Gomez says, “Having this job has given Alejandro an extreme boost of confidence and independence that has changed his outlook on life.” She says when she first met Rozas, he was struggling with emotional and behavioral issues.

Rozas has a developmental disability and receives services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with disabilities.

Rozas loves his job. Everyone he works with is nice to him and makes him feel like he’s part of the team. He says he is good at preparing the tables but is ready to continue learning more about the business and taking on more responsibility at Los Ranchos, like becoming a waiter. “I want to help bring the food to people’s tables and help clean up when they’re finished.” said Rozas.

Back at the WOW Center, Rozas enjoys playing with his friends and listening to music. “I like to play sports at the WOW Center like football, soccer, and basketball. I go bowling and swimming with Special Olympics.” Rozas loves sports, on and off the court. His favorite baseball team is the Miami Marlins.

Between the WOW Center and Los Ranchos, Alejandro Rozas is continuing to learn, grow, and embrace life to the fullest with his newfound independence.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit apdcares.org or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).