It’s National Volunteer Week, and we’re busy celebrating our amazing volunteer team, but we need to interrupt our NVW programming to bring you Joshua Gray’s first work anniversary! It takes our volunteer team and staff team working together to deliver maximum impact for our members and for building a more inclusive community. Read on to learn more about how Joshua contributes!
What are you particularly proud of this year – your first year!
Being a Job Connector has provided me with many amazing moments. It is incredibly satisfying to see a person smile when they shake hands with their new employer, or to hear about how well someone is doing in their new role at work. Even more rewarding are the times when I have received feedback from an employer about the impact the new employee is having on their workplace. And I am reminded of the wonderful natural occurrences that happen through employment when I hear stories about our members and their co-workers going to a movie or socializing outside of work.
A job is much more than the monetary reward, it is an opportunity to develop purpose and pride, and it is also a place to form connections with other people. I am very proud to play a part in that.
What brought you to work at LiveWorkPlay?
I had followed and admired the organization for a long time due to the emphasis they placed on principles like Social Capital, Asset-Based Community Development, and being completely Person-Centered. I saw an organization that was constantly pushing the envelope in terms of making inclusion happen. I valued the organization’s mission and especially the perspective that we need to help teach the community about how to best welcome people with a disability, rather than trying to change the person to fit the environment. This continues to motivate me daily when working with our members and the community.
I am extremely grateful to be part of this collaborative team. I value the support that we provide to each other, and the encouragement we receive to find our own personal balance, mental wellness, and growth. I appreciate the openness and honesty of my colleagues and our leadership team – they motivate me to strive to be better for myself and for others.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
I look forward to more opportunities to learn from the powerful speakers and practical tools for self-improvement LiveWorkPlay continually makes available for the personal and professional development of the staff.
I am excited by the leveraging power of the Employment Task Force and the Federal Employment Strategy Group that LiveWorkPlay has incorporated into our job development strategy – there are lots of employment possibilities and opportunities on the horizon for our members.
The nature of my work has provided me with chances to form new connections and relationships in areas of the community I haven’t been engaged with in the past. The potential to continue expanding my network, and the endless possibilities each person and organization I come in contact with to further the mission of LiveWorkPlay is remarkable.
Ultimately, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to continue growing and developing with the team at LiveWorkPlay, with the people we support, and with the community with live in.
Last but not least, what do Joshua’s colleagues have to say about him?
Starting a new job is exciting but can also make people very anxious, especially considering the number of people we support who are being employed for the first time. Josh has a very calming influence. He helps the new employee as well as their colleagues feel more comfortable and confident!
He’s just a great listener. You can’t fake that! Whether it’s the employee or the employer they know he is paying attention to their needs and that is something they always say about Joshua.
Joshua has a gift for getting to know people, which is sometimes underestimated as an important part of what we do in employment supports. We’ve found it’s actually one of the most critical factors in supporting a successful employment relationship!