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My job in "real life."

I started a new career in 2004 as a community access aide and job coach to persons with cognitive, developmental & traumatic brain injury disabilities. Until recently, I was employed by Todd Steven & Associates (TSA) who provides community assistance and job coaching to persons with physical, emotional, cognitive, and developmental disabilities. These are people ranging from mild autism who need a little guidance and supervision to those with severe CP or MS who need assistance with feeding and changing. They also provide supports to persons with traumatic brain injury such as stroke or vehicle accident.

It is hard work, emotionally challenging and not always "fun" but it is very rewarding at the end of the day when you get home knowing that you have enhanced a few lives today and taken a bit of the load off of society by allowing someone the opportunity to carry themselves as much as their limits allow.

There is nothing like caring about someone that other people try to avoid because they are "odd" or too much to deal with. In a very short time, I have developed a deep respect for and devotion to these people.

In early September 2012, I accepted a new position with Lakeside Packaging Plus where I will be providing all of the same services and then some. Working with TSA I have seen the impact that Lakeside Packaging Plus has been making in the lives of many people. It was a tough decision to leave TSA and move on to LPP mainly because I will dearly miss some of the staff and customers I worked with. Nonetheless, I am very excited about this new phase in my career and happy I will still be working with many of the same people in a slightly different setting.

The one and only very disappointing aspect of this line of work is the pay. Elderly and disabled benifits are usually the very first to be cut whenever there is a budget restructure. Something is very wrong with our society when people caring for the needy are getting 9 - 14 dollars an hour while starting pay for a cable installer is $21.