The blog this week was written by Jennifer Goodwill, Community Broker at The Arcadia Institute. As a Community Broker with The Arcadia Institute, I have the opportunity to work with individuals with disabilities and help them plan for a future fully participating in our community. I have been able to spend time with individuals, learning about their interests, listening to them share about their frustrations, and hearing about their dreams. Then, along with their Supports Coordinator and community members who are supportive of the individual, I have the privilege of helping the individual take steps toward achieving their future goals and living a full life in the community.
Last spring, I met a young man named Andrew. He had recently moved out of his family’s home and he was looking for an apartment of his own. Not every young adult striking out on his own knows what he wants for his future. Andrew, however, did have a plan and he was, and is, committed to making his goals a reality. He is a student at KVCC who desires to earn his welding certificate. During the spring, there were a few weeks when Andrew did not have a home to call his own, yet he continued attending classes while looking for housing. Some individuals facing similar circumstances would have taken a break from going to school, but Andrew remained committed to his education and a brighter future. He would like a career with a good job, and he is willing to put in the work and sacrifices necessary to make that happen.
Like many students, Andrew has been looking for a part-time job to help pay the bills while he attends school. In my position as a Community Broker, his Supports Coordinator and I have met with a group of individuals who care about Andrew. Together we have all shared with Andrew the strengths we see in him, and we are all working with him to accomplish the steps needed to move him toward his short term goal of a part-time job and his long term goal of a career in welding. Andrew is driven, a hard worker, teachable and dependable. All qualities that an employer is looking for in an employee.
At The Arcadia Institute, we have seen that businesses and organizations are committed to building a community where all people belong. We have interacted with businesses striving to be equitable who have benefited from the talents of people with disabilities. While Andrew has not yet found a job, we believe it will happen. In the meantime, Andrew has found an apartment of his own, and everyone around him has noted how much he has grown in his confidence.