Crysta has autism. She's also an employee at an Arvada business that values her skills -- a business that is working hard to keep people like Crysta on the job through COVID-19.
"Crysta is a great example of what we do here," says Sarah Smith, director of culinary development at Jack's Bar & Grill and Steamers Coffeehouse.
It's a multi-faceted, family-owned business that serves coffee in the morning, meals through the day and drinks at night.
And, says Smith, about half of its workers have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and seizure disorders. Many work in its prep kitchen.
"Our mission is to prove that you can run a successful and sustainable business while employing people with disabilities," says Smith, who oversees the business’ initiative to employ special-needs people.
During the pandemic, while Jack's/Steamers is closed for indoor dining, it relies on selling handcrafted jams and jellies -- labeled "A Different Kind of Jam" -- to help generate revenue.
And that's where Crysta's skills come in handy.
Crysta, Smith says, is a worker "benefitting from structure and routine. She likes to know what she's going to do every day when she comes in. She likes things to be done in the same way. And so we immediately looked at what her skills were, and realized that her skill set matches perfectly with labeling those jars of jam."