Employee Spotlight: Meet Jessica!

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Congratulations Employee of the Month!

The Haven exists as a resource for independence and a champion for inclusion for people of all ages with disabilities. Together, we can create a world where people with disabilities are included and celebrated for who they truly are — talented and incredible human beings. We make it a point to hire positive, compassionate, hard-working individuals who want to enjoy going to work, not only for a paycheck but for a rewarding place where we can make a difference. The Haven offers a competitive benefits package, extensive training, and many fun extras and perks.

We’re excited to feature Jessica, one of our Life Skills Instructors at Haven Academy, a private McKay Scholarship school serving students in grades 9-12, in this month’s employee spotlight.

What do you do as a Life Skills Instructor at Haven Academy?

I teach life skills for students enrolled at in Haven Academy here on the campus of the The Haven. As an instructor, I focus on my student’s personal goals and the teamwork building lessons that help support ongoing collaboration and personal success for my students. My goal is to make each day at The Academy fun and exciting. During the average school day, we might discuss current events, personal hygiene, and recognizing emotion to name a few. I also help plan and coordinate field trips in the community that provide learning experiences for our students. This year we have visited the fair, swimming with t-rec at the local swimming pool, nature centers and museums but the hands-down favorite trip for our students was when we visited the pet store to pick out fish for our classroom.

What do you love most about The Haven?

Everything! I love coming in everyday and seeing all my students smiling faces; they are absolutely amazing. My co-workers inspire me and they have made me feel welcome and part of the Haven family from day one. What can I say…they are awesome!

Tell us about your favorite Haven Academy story?

As a life skills instructor, I make sure our students take their medicine on-time and in the right dose when they are on campus. I once had a student who had some trouble remembering how many pills he was supposed to take. Every day I would play a game with him to help him remember. I would ask him how many pills he takes but he would always answer nine. I would remind him that he had five pills to take and then he would happily go about his day. We did this for three years and then one day I asked how many does pills is he supposed to take and he grinned widely at me and said “I take five pills Jessica!” This revelation may not seem all that “wild” from the outside but for us, his achievement was a BIG milestone. In all of my years of working with him, this had been the first time he had ever said my name and it was certainly the first time he correctly answered our memory game! From that day onward he answered correctly and I take immense pride in his personal accomplishment. I am still proud of him to this day!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a mother of three amazing kids (ages 16, 13 and 6). So you can say that when I get home from work I stay pretty busy! Walking and going to my local gym are my favorite ways to keep active and fit. I have spent the last 20 years supporting independence and personal growth for individuals with disabilities. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Michigan and relocated to Florida almost 11 years ago.

What is your most favorite inspiring quote or thought?

My favorite quote comes from the best movie ever … Moulin Rouge!

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”