Reed, 25, is a student at Trousdale School and is involved in the school’s student work program.
Two days a week, two hours each day, you can find Reed hard at work at Beef O’Brady’s Restaurant, located at 3838 Candies Creek Lane N.W.
“She’s like sunshine when she comes in, as a matter of fact, that’s what we call her — Sunshine. She comes in and immediately goes to work. She makes coffee, wipes down tables and the game machines. She sweeps. Anything that needs doing, she’s happy to help,” said Ashley Peterson, manager of Beef O’Brady’s.
Reed has been employed at the restaurant for two years.
“I love the people I work with here at Beef O’Brady’s. They are all so friendly and nice. We work together,” said Reed.
There is never a day Reed comes to work that she doesn’t ask about her co-workers’ well-being.
“She’s just always so bubbly. I wish more employees were like Nicole,” said Peterson.
Reed is the daughter of George and Sandra Reed.
In addition to her employment at Beef O’Brady’s, she also works at her mother’s hair salon in Chattanooga.
She attended high school in Trenton, Ga., before becoming a student at Trousdale School.
“Trousdale is very special to me. My teachers and everyone there believes in me. I have so many friends at Trousdale. It’s really great,” said Reed.
Trousdale School is a resource for high-functioning adults, 22 years of age or older, with mental disabilities to continue their education after high school. According to Trousdale Principal Brian Gentry, the goal of the school is to “fill the gap” through the creation of an atmosphere of creative learning, encouragement and education.
Several area businesses partner with Trousdale School and its student-work program. Participating businesses hire these exceptional students to perform various job tasks.
“I think it’s important to partner with the school because first of all, Nicole is a great employee. She works hard. Secondly, I know it helps build their [students] self-confidence and independence and, it improves on their overall longevity,” said Peterson.
At Trousdale, Reed enjoys playing on the school’s basketball team and acting in the theater department. During the summer Reed was a shining star when she performed Olivia Newton-John’s “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” in Trousdale’s musical “Let’s Go To the Movies.”
Reed also enjoys volunteering. She is adamantly involved in the Meals on Wheels program, a program which delivers meals to elderly residents, and often visits students at Prospect Elementary to read.
“I love reading,” said Reed.
In her spare time, Reed enjoys spending time with her family, walking and watching movies.
“Hallmark movies are my favorite movies to watch,” said Reed.
Reed is an exceptional achiever. According to Catherine Patten, job coach at Trousdale, Reed will be moving into a independent living facility in December.
“We’re very proud of her,” said Patten.
“I’m very excited about having my own place,” said Reed.