Hope for 2019

I was recently watching a 2018 retrospective news program that featured people who demonstrate hope on a daily basis, despite facing some adverse circumstances. Politically and culturally, 2018 was a year of heightened emotions and challenges. These people displayed hope in small and large ways throughout their personal and professional lives.

After watching this, it occurred to me that many of the people I work with also demonstrate hope on a daily basis in the course of their work. Sheila and Jodie put together a last minute trip to Springfield to see the holiday lights display for some of the people who are supported in Individual Supports and Shared Living – everyone had a great time! Deb, Maria, and Ericka spent a couple of evenings decorating holiday cookies with children from the Uxbridge area who have autism. Rhonda and Nana took Virginia to Disney World so she could have her dream trip.

Paige dedicated a huge amount of time to ensuring that all the people supported by Venture each got holiday present by soliciting donations to make that happen. Ashley, Kevin, Bruce, Robby, Rick, Dot, and countless others spent hours wrapping those presents. Mabel and Loveline took Jenny, Denzel, and Bonnie to a Make It and Take It event so they could spend some time with meeting new friends and make some crafts. Gina has rallied her staff to host a number of events to help Dan, Nick and Ben celebrate holidays with their families in their new home. Katie, Carolyn, and Shannon helped Venture staff teams all over the state to ensure that the medical care provided is in the best interest of the people Venture serves in its programs. Kathy, Zach, Laurie and Kevin are participating in a work group to improve employee retention and improve the ways that Venture appreciates its employees.

Mark, Luisa, Annmarie, Gina, Greg, Wilma, Jen and William all banded together and created a Friendsgiving feast that more than 50 individuals served by Venture attended. Christa, Albert, Dave, Todd, Dan, Dot, Kim and many others devoted time and energy to finding a new home for Mark, Richard, David and Jason that better suits their needs which have changed as they have gotten older. Walter, Lindsey, Jack, and Antonio have collectively spent thousands of hours training Venture’s staff team that has impacted the staffs’ ability to deliver quality services.

Hope was demonstrated in the face of adversity, too. Monica, Richard, Tiffany, Johnny, Tim, Don and countless others came together to assist in assisting Danny, Charmagne, Rita, Peter, and their housemates when the furnace in their home exploded. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the team quickly came together to make sure everyone was comfortable and had a place to stay while the furnace was replaced and the home was deemed habitable by the local authorities. Kevin, Jason and Scott helped Nick, Gustavo and Elaine learn techniques so that they could participate in meaningful activities during their day. Jennifer, Anita, Doug, and Katie advocated tirelessly to make sure that Marilyn was comfortable in the final days of her life.

David and John spent months ensuring the Steven’s medical concerns were being in addressed in the way that Steven wanted them to be handled – he was able to make choices with dignity, and the decisions he made were respected by his staff team. Sam, Fatuma and Tim devoted many hours and a lot of effort to coaching staff to make the lives of Randy, Michael, Frank and Brian markedly calmer and more enjoyable. They also welcomed Gerry with open arms and have supported him to become a valued member of the home. Doug, Allaire, Allison, James, Rose and Titus worked together to transition Brennan to another program that better suited his needs.

While different motivations probably prevail, the underlying theme is hope. Our employees act in the hope of making the lives of people with disabilities better in big and small ways. This much is clear – I am privileged and fortunate to work with a great collection of fabulous people whose work makes me proud of the organization. If we continue to approach 2019 with the same dedication, vigor and hope as we did in 2018, it’s sure to be another phenomenal year, despite any challenges that lay ahead.

When given the choice of facing the sometimes saddening realities of our world or looking around my immediate environment and being impressed with the terrific work that happens day after day, I will choose hope every time.