“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” Steve Jobs
This July I celebrate my fifth anniversary at New Danville! It seems like it was just yesterday that I was the “new kid on the block.” What an amazing five years it has been. For all of my professional life, 40 years to be exact, I have served the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or those needing similar supports. From a case worker, to a department head, to Chief Executive Officer, I have pretty much done and seen it all. Before coming to visit New Danville, I was at a point in my life that I was not sure that I wanted to continue in the same field of work. I received a call from a former colleague that suggested that I visit New Danville since the executive and founder, Kathy Sanders, was retiring. Out of courtesy I thought to myself “Why not?” and, as they say, “The rest is history.”
From the moment that I stepped foot on the campus, I could sense that New Danville was different. As I toured the day program, I was very impressed with what I saw. Adults were actively engaged in a variety of activities; folks were not sitting around coloring or working on puzzles. Everywhere I looked clients participated in sewing class, art class, gardening, and so many other activities. A genuine connection was felt between the clients and the staff. You could feel the warmth and happiness from the clients. I saw a program where mutual respect was evident and the clients had a voice in their choice of activities. When I toured Meadowbrook, it looked like a neighborhood just like any other. I saw independent adults who were making their own life choices, not the typical group home model where everyone pretty much follows the same schedule.
I knew before I left that I would be honored to be part of this agency and continue the vision for New Danville.
Like any new endeavor, there were challenges ahead, some more difficult than others. But, little by little, like laying stepping stones on a pathway, the vision for New Danville led the way. The welcoming reception by the staff and clients was truly moving, and that of the families was humbling. Together we learned to trust and rely on each other. The Board of Directors has always been amazing in their trust, guidance and support.
And so, here I am, and here I will stay. Whether guided by faith or happenstance, I am where I am meant to be. We are moved by our vision in planning for our future. A future that reflects growth for all of our services and expands the ways we serve our community.
Here’s to our future, leading to our 20th anniversary in 2025, where together we will be making great things happen.