Contact: Melanie Mowry Etters
By Melanie Mowry Etters
PENSACOLA, FL—A’Shyarri Nash of Pensacola has gone through a metamorphosis
of sorts over the past year. The young woman has gone from staying at home
with her grandparents and not making decisions for herself a year ago, to
living independently and holding down a job this fall.
The first step to her independence was learning the Escambia County Transit
System to get around town. Today, she is unstoppable always catching a bus
ride to wherever she wants to go around Pensacola.
Last year, she also expressed interest in going to work, and was able to
land a housekeeping job in August at the Cordova Mall, which is the only
mall in Pensacola. She officially works for Service Solutions which is the
company the mall hired to handle housekeeping duties. Nash is assigned to
the food court. She has lots of energy and is constantly moving quickly to
ensure all her job responsibilities are met. Some of those tasks include
cleaning tables, and food trays, returning trays to the proper mall
restaurant, and cleaning up spills and recording them in a log book.
Her supervisor, Contract Manager Andre’ Fullwood, said, “A’Shyarri is very
diligent and dependable. She’s good—one I can count on if I need her. She
arrives at least an hour before her shift starts. She handles instruction
very well, and continues to improve and take more ownership.”
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Florida’s
Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is highlighting the
contributions of people with disabilities to the workforce. Nash has a
developmental disability and receives job coaching from APD.
Nash is a very social person so this job allows her to be in the middle of
dozens of people all the time. “People like being around people. I like to
socialize and talk. I have made friends here and it makes me feel good,”
Being successful at living on her own is a priority for Nash too. She takes
care of all the responsibilities of living on your own like doing her
laundry, cooking dinner, washing dishes, and cleaning. “I am enjoying my
independence. I like doing activities on my own timing, and the freedom of
having people come over to visit,” said Nash.
Coincidentally, Nash likes to hang out at the mall when she’s not working.
She also likes to go shopping and to the movies. She likes to get out of
the house and stay busy.
Although Nash enjoys her current job, down the road she would like to
assist the elderly as a caregiver, and possibly become a massage therapist.
She says with compassion in her voice that she is good with her hands and
very much wants to help the elderly meet their needs.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and
work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000
Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual
disabilities, Down 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).
PHOTO CAPTION— A’Shyarri Nash is on the job in the Cordova Mall food court.
The Pensacola woman has been employed for about a year and receives
services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
NOTE: Photo is available on request. Please email your request to:
REMINDER FOR MEDIA—When reporting on stories about people with
disabilities, remember to use language that puts the person first, rather
than the disability. For example, use phrases such as “persons with
disabilities” (instead of “the disabled”) and “person who uses a
wheelchair” (rather than “wheelchair bound”).