Man with Disabilities Achieves Financial Independence at Vons

Paul Ceriale
Press Release

Since starting at PathPoint, a local non-profit that helps individuals with disabilities and disadvantages live and work as valued members of our communities, in 1985, Paul has progressed from being unable to hold down employment to becoming a full time Vons employee.

Paul’s path to employment started by taking advantage of PathPoint’s programs that taught him the practical and social skills he would need to join the workforce. The services Paul received included assessment, career exploration, job preparation, training, and placement. This support helped Paul find his first job in the 90’s as part of a contract work crew cleaning dishes at UCSB’s De La Guerra Dining Commons. The skills he learned working in that group environment helped Paul progress to individual employment with the help of a PathPoint Job Coach. Paul said “seeing his support plan coordinator makes him happy”.

In 2000, Paul began working as a Courtesy Clerk at Vons. Today, Paul is a full-time employee at Vons, and he is supporting himself without the need of much outside assistance such as Social Security. Paul said he likes is job because it gives him the opportunity to make money and spend time with his friends and coworkers. Bradley Hunt, Paul’s Support Plan Coordinator at PathPoint, says, “Paul’s longevity with Vons is quite an accomplishment. He excels in customer service and is always cheerful and helpful.”

PathPoint has also assisted Paul with becoming more connected with the community and has helped educate and motivate him on exercising and eating healthy foods. Paul is thankful for the assistance PathPoint provided him in getting him signed up and “going to the gym”.

On Paul’s day off work he enjoys flying remote controlled airplanes with his father. Paul also likes to talk about automobiles. He always is curious about the make of the vehicle his friends and coworkers drive. Paul is proud of his fire engine red Toyota Echo and has nicknamed it “Tomato”.

The successes of Paul and the many other individuals with disabilities being supported by PathPoint are highlighted this month. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to recognize the important contributions that people with disabilities make in our local organizations and communities.

PathPoint has been operating in Santa Barbara since 1964 and provides employment, independent living and community access services to individuals with disabilities and disadvantages throughout the South Santa Barbara area. As the original center for PathPoint’s operations, the South Santa Barbara County Division has provided services to individuals and families in the communities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta for more than four decades. PathPoint services are “person-centered,” which means each individual is assisted in determining his or her own goals and provided support to reach those customized goals.

PathPoint participants currently work at the Vons on Fairview, Turnpike, La Cumbre Plaza and Montecito, as well as for more than 200 other businesses and organizations in the community.

For information about hiring a PathPoint participant or PathPoint’s work in the community, please contact Alana Walczak, VP/Director at (805) 961-9200 x33. To learn more about PathPoint or to make a donation, please email or visit


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