My name is Jennifer Wilson and I have been working with people with developmental disabilities for over 25 years. I have worked with so many wonderful people over the years and have many wonderful memories. My current employer is Community Living Burlington where I have worked for over 15 years.
The last nine years I had worked as a support worker with a wonderful group of men, assisting with lawn maintenance. Then I was moved into another program, called Start It Right, and I didn’t know what to expect. But I kept a positive attitude and wanted to bring something to the program that I could initiate and look forward to.
I approached my manager about my passion for sewing/quilting and suggested teaching people with a disability how to sew...so that eventually we can make blankets for charities...and give back to our community. My manager loved the idea and supported me in this endeavor.
I approached a sewing store in our community and they graciously opened their classroom space up for us to use weekly, including many of the supplies needed. I was amazed at this generosity and went forward with finalizing the project.
One of our volunteers is a retired resource teacher, and I can honestly say she glows when she is working with us. She says she enjoys and looks forward to it each week. The first sewing project we started in September 2014 was a small blanket to take home as a keepsake.
The people in this class with a developmental disability have been proudly sharing their hard work with others. The pride and confidence in their abilities to learn new skills and to help out other people in our community has given people a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.
We all have talents and skills that we can share with others…I would like to encourage you to look at what you can bring to your workplace to make a difference in the lives of the people you support, and my hope is that you too, will feel the satisfaction and achievement from using your talents to change the lives of others!
Jenn is an SEIU Healthcare member and a DSW at Community Living Burlington.