At Valley Village, our residents with developmental disabilities constantly demonstrate their abilities and talents. While October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we witness the unique skills and strengths of the individuals we serve every day. In the spirit of this awareness month, we turn our attention to the heartwarming stories of residents, their dedicated care provider, Anna, and the weekend caregiver, Alicia, at Valley Village. These stories are a testament to the power of inclusion, love, and unwavering support in celebrating abilities.
Our journey begins with Anna, the remarkable care provider who initially joined Valley Village as a staff member. Her story is a testament to the unexpected turns life can take. She dreamed of a medical assisting career and was searching for work-from-home opportunities when the chance to become a staff member arose. Fast forward 25 years, and she is now the devoted care provider to incredible individuals in one of Valley Village’s homes, including Sean and Tom. The smile on her face radiates love and dedication.
Sean and Tom are the embodiment of strength and resilience. They speak their minds and embody independence despite their respective disabilities. Their unique personalities keep Anna on her toes, and their unwavering work ethic is truly inspiring. Now retired, they still speak about their work passionately, and their experiences are remarkable.
Tom’s Journey: The Path to Independence
Tom‘s story is a testament to unwavering dedication and resilience. In 1975, at the tender age of 17, he embarked on his journey into the working world. His very first job was part-time, where he dutifully dedicated four days a week, each shift lasting a mere four hours. But for Tom, it was never about the clock; it was about the pride in earning his keep.
Throughout the years, Tom donned many hats – he ventured into roles as a janitor, a skilled car mechanic and even found a home in a Dodge dealership. It was there that his passion for cars and aircraft took flight, igniting a lifelong love for these incredible machines. His commitment to his work was unwavering, his spirit unbreakable even in an ever-changing job landscape where cutbacks and downsizing were the norm.
However, it wasn’t just work that defined Tom’s life; it was the unwavering support and sense of belonging he found at Valley Village that truly transformed his existence. Before he arrived, Tom was on the verge of becoming homeless, facing a future fraught with uncertainty. Valley Village became his sanctuary, where he found shelter and a community that cared for and celebrated him.
Tom’s journey is a testament to the power of love, support, and the belief that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has the potential to shine and thrive. In the face of adversity, Tom’s story teaches us the value of perseverance and the profound impact of a supportive community. It’s a reminder that, with the right environment and unwavering determination, one can overcome even the most daunting challenges, which is commendable. Valley Village didn’t just change Tom’s life; it gave him a place to call home and a family to call his own.
Sean’s Story: A Lifetime of Dedication
Sean‘s journey into the workforce commenced when he was 18, fresh out of LA High School. He took his first steps into the professional world as an usher at the iconic Hollywood Bowl. This humble beginning marked the start of a remarkable journey.
Over the years, Sean ventured into various roles, taking on summer jobs and gaining invaluable work experience. His resilience and work ethic paved the way for his employment at Handcraft in Santa Monica and later at Goodwill, where he continued contributing and excelling.
However, Sean truly found his niche at a company specializing in honey equipment repair. For nearly two decades, he dedicated himself to the meticulous task of repairing and maintaining equipment that is essential to the honey industry. Sean’s unwavering commitment and the pride he takes in consistently maintaining his employment serve as an inspiration to many.
Job stability has been a cornerstone of Sean’s life, and the importance of it resonates deeply with all of us. His journey is a testament to the significance of meaningful employment, the sense of purpose it provides, and the self-esteem that comes from contributing to society.
Sean’s story is not just about his professional accomplishments but also about his remarkable ability to adapt, persevere, and thrive. It reflects the spirit of resilience and dedication that we can all draw inspiration from. Valley Village became his second family, offering the support and community that have empowered him to achieve his dreams and embrace his full potential. Sean’s journey is a reminder that with determination and a supportive environment, individuals can overcome any challenge, which is truly worth celebrating.
A Weekend Caregiver’s Love
Weekend caregiver Alicia shares heartwarming insights about Sean and Tom. She’s passionate about her work, and her interactions with residents, especially Sean and Tom, are a testament to her dedication. Alicia and the residents enjoy outings, from shopping for food to strolling in malls and neighborhoods. Their interactions extend beyond mere caregiving; they share stories, laughter, and companionship. Alicia’s work is far from hard for her, and her passion shines through in every conversation and outing. Her commitment to her role is unwavering, even in the face of challenging times.
Inclusion, Love, and Celebrating Abilities
As we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, these stories remind us of the importance of inclusion, understanding, and support. Valley Village is not just a place; it’s a community where dreams are nurtured, abilities are celebrated, and love knows no bounds.
These remarkable individuals—Sean, Tom, Anna, and Alicia—show us that the key to celebrating abilities is to be open, trusting, and inclusive. They teach us to treat everyone equally and focus on their unique qualities, not their disabilities. The Valley Village community exemplifies that when we celebrate abilities, we celebrate the potential for growth, happiness, and a brighter future.
Join us in creating an inclusive and loving world. Adopt one of our 17 homes and forge meaningful connections with 5-12 extraordinary residents. Celebrate birthdays, make holidays special, and create lasting memories. Your kindness will transform lives, including your own. Contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Adopt-A-House program and be part of this lasting impact.