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Grateful for Opportunities

In the short time that Gloria has worked for Communitas, it has come to feel like home. Gloria is a full-time nursing student and works as a casual Residential Support Worker (RSW) in one of Communitas’ twenty-five homes. Together with her colleagues, they serve the four gentlemen who live there. Gary, seen above, enjoying the garden, is one of these individuals and one of the people that Gloria has come to appreciate through her work.  It is work that she has come to love.

“The guys have had such an impact on my life,” she says. “I miss them when I’m not there and when I arrive, it feels like home.”

Gloria first heard about Communitas through her sister who has also worked for the organization. She applied for an RSW role, even though she didn’t have a lot of experience working with people who live with disabilities, knowing that Communitas is willing to train people on the job.

“What is most important to us when looking for potential staff is whether or not they fit with our mission, vision, and values,” says Jeff Hirch, chief human resources officer for Communitas. “We know that we can teach people the specific skills they need for the work they will do, but what we really look for is a person who has a learning heart and sees people living with disabilities as equal and worthy of inclusion.”

Gloria wishes everyone could have the opportunity to work with Communitas.

Gloria had experience working with children and with seniors and so understood what it means to serve with love and patience. She is also a sports enthusiast and understands the importance of teamwork. She values the things she has learned from her manager and her colleagues.

“I’ve learned a lot about setting boundaries and about the importance of good communications,” she says. “I’ve also learned lots of practical things like meal preparation and creating schedules.”

Working casual has enabled her to continue with her studies as a nursing student and she is grateful for that flexibility. The work has also impacted her learning at school.

“In our nursing training, we do a lot of work with manequins but it’s just not the same as working with real people,” she says.

Along with practical applications like how to transfer someone into a wheelchair, the gentlemen she serves have also taught her how to communicate without words and the importance of taking one’s time to build relationships.

Gloria’s focus is on psychiatric nursing and she hopes that there will be an opportunity for her to use her education and training with Communitas when she’s done. For now, Gloria is happy to continue to learn and grow into her role as an RSW as her schedule allows and is grateful for all that the role has given her already.

“I feel like everyone should do this job,” she says. “You just get a different perspective on your life. The people we serve really teach us how to value life. It makes you grateful.”

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