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"I get to see people grow as a person, as an individual, with their own personality and strengths."

After I was out of high school I knew I wanted to help people. I became a CNA and just stuck with it. I trained for and worked as a CNA at Villa Loretta in Mt. Calvary, WI. There I cared for persons in a small home-like community.


About eight years ago I moved to Milwaukee because of better job opportunities for my husband. In January 2001, after working at a couple of different nursing homes in the Milwaukee area my CNA skills helped me land a job as an Activity Assistant with Easter Seals Kindcare Adult Day Program in South Milwaukee. The Day Program supports adults with pervasive needs and direct care skills were needed as much as the assisting with activities.

Although I became the Activity Coordinator, I'm still a CNA and continue to assist the participants every day with activities of daily living. Whether I'm helping someone in the bathroom or planning an outing I'm still helping. If my helping allows someone to do something better than before then that's being successful and meaningful.

Many of the people participating at the Easter Seals Kindcare Day Center are in the prime of their life and appreciate the help because with that help they can go on and do meaningful things. When you help someone directly with their personal care and also plan a fun activity for them to look forward to they start finding courage to try different things.

I get to see people grow as a person, as an individual, with their own personality and strengths. I find that the people I'm helping surprise me a lot. They will do or say something spontaneously that that lets me know that we have a good relationship.

Another way my job is rewarding is because families and caregivers from consumers' homes often say "thanks" or point out how much happier the person is because of the care they got and activities they did at the Day Center.

For most adults with pervasive needs learning new skills takes awhile. I don't get discouraged because I've seen that no matter who you are and how skilled you are you need assistance with something. Everyone has their own personality, and though we try to keep the same schedule and routines, each day ends up different because people get something different out of each day. It might be because of the weather, a new taste or, new laughter.