Chef Alan’s and Twins Sisters Team Up to
Provide Good Food Service
When most folks are hitting the snooze
button on their alarm clocks, Stephanie and Elizabeth Ioannidi are
already hard at work. These
twin sisters, both employed by Chef Alan’s, begin their workday at
With the support of a private, non-profit
agency, AHEDD, and the Berks County Mental Retardation Program, the
27-year-old women found work in two different cafeterias in the same
building. Both of the restaurants serve professionals lunch and cater
The twins’ mother, Fran Ioannidi,
strongly believes the jobs have helped her daughters tremendously.
“I’m so proud of them. I
think it is great. I’m
really happy they found something they can do, and they are proud of
doing it. They are really
great kids, and to find a place they like to work is a great
Elizabeth Ioannidi worked with AHEDD
first, and almost 2 years ago, had accepted a position as a utility
person at Chef Alan’s of Penske Restaurant in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Before this current position, Elizabeth had worked at several
manager, Debbie Klingler, reports that Elizabeth has used that
experience to improve the quality of service at Chef Alan’s of Penske.
“I see her showing and teaching things that she has learned in
other places. So, she
has been a teacher, too.”
During her two years on the job,
Elizabeth has continued to request additional duties.
Currently, she helps the chef, catering staff, deli and sandwich
makers, serves customers hot and cold food, and delivers coffee to one
of the clients daily. Manager
Klingler, is impressed by her willingness to learn and try new things.
“I’ve learned to go by Elizabeth, and her capabilities and
desires to do things. I let
her lead me. She’ll come
to me and tell me that she wants to try things.”
After the family realized Elizabeth had
achieved success through AHEDD, they recommended their daughter
Stephanie also become a participant.
Soon, AHEDD helped Stephanie to also find a job at Chef Alan’s
of Green Hills Corporate Center.
Stephanie is a prep person, dishwasher,
and helper with several other essential duties throughout the day. Manager Julie Shabrach is quick to confess that
“without her, I don’t know what we would do.
We love her very much.”
Stephanie has become part of this
“staff family”, but Manager Sharbrach admits they did have some
initial concerns. “People were a little afraid, what can she do?
What can’t she do? But,
no one was intolerant. We
took her in like she was one of us.”
Now, Sharbach would offer this advice to
any employer who has concerns about hiring people with disabilities. “You just can’t go wrong.
You’ll be very happy you did it.
Once you do, you’ll never look back.
It was definitely not a mistake.”