Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Love What You Do.

It's a proven fact that I have one of the coolest, most rewarding jobs ever in the history of jobs.

Okay, okay you're right, there's no way to prove I have the coolest job ever in the history of jobs but I'm entitled to my opinion & personally? I think it's a pretty freaking awesome job.

So what is it?

I'm the marketing intern for the CEO at an adult day center in Indianapolis called Joy's House.

Working for the CEO at an adult day center might not sound like the coolest job but you haven't ever met this CEO. Truly, she's one of the top five most amazing people I've ever met & probably will ever meet. 

This CEO, Tina, had a big dream. She wanted to create a place for adults who are unable to stay at home alone for one reason or another (Down Syndrome, Dementia or Autism to name a few) that would also be a support for the caregivers of those adults.

When she was 27, Tina started Joy's House - Joy - the emotion. 

What started as a little old farm house she renovated, that only had a few guests per day, has turned into the most beautiful, bright, welcoming place with between 25 - 30 guests a day.

And? Tina has thought of every little thing to help the guests and their caregivers. I mean everything. 

We call the people who come to Joy's house guests because that's what they are and we're happy to have them. We also call them Mr & Miss along with their first names. The house is clean and looks to be straight out of a Pottery Barn magazine with cozy recliners, couches & blankets to ensure that everyone is comfortable. There's never a dull moment at Joy's House with activities going on almost every minute of the day and it's not just bingo; it's painting and dancing and singing. Caregivers can purchase a frozen meal for their family once a week for a very minimal price, there is every resource imaginable available to them & Tina has never turned anyone away for their inability to pay. 

JH1 Pictures, Images and Photos

Every single day, I feel so blessed to be a part of Joy's House where every staff member has been hand picked specifically because of their love for these people and their huge hearts; a place where every guest is respected as a person not a disease or disability. 

Joy's House is more than an escape for the guest's caregivers, it's a place where the guests can have friends and a life of their own which they might not otherwise have. 

That's the coolest part.

& What's even cooler? Listen to how I got the job ...

My freshman year at Butler, I was part of a program called Ambassadors of Change that was a week of volunteering around Indianapolis the week before school started. We volunteered in all different areas depending on what we were interested in; I chose the elderly. So, one of the places I volunteered was Joy's House and I adored it. I hung out with one of the guests, Mr. Dan, the whole time & we became fast friends.

Ever since then, I've wanted to volunteer there again but I've never gotten around to it.

------ fast forward two years -----

A few days before school started I went on a big shopping trip to the Target close to Joy's House. I had my cart loaded down. Command Strips, Shower Curtain, Food ... I had it all in that cart. And, naturally, when I got all done being ringed up? I realized I had left my debit card at home and I had no cash.

(I should say, I do this so often, I'm not even embarrassed by it anymore.) 

So, since I didn't want to have to go back through and pick everything out again, I went over to the guest service desk to ask them to hold my stuff until I could come back with a cart.

Of course there was a line.

So, I'm standing behind this lady when a guy walks up in front of her and cuts in line saying he has to get back to work & has to return something first.

She & I look at each other like, "uhhh? did that really just happen?" and a few minutes later she apologizea for taking so long to return her item because she's having issues. Of course, I tell her it's fine & that I'm dumb I left my card at home. We have a good laugh, she leaves & I get my stuff held.

On my way home from Target, I pass Joy's House & then turned back around thinking since I have some time, I should just pick up a form to volunteer there like I had been wanting.

I walk in the front office & tell the lady at the desk I wanted to volunteer and as I'm standing there, the lady who had been in front of me at Target walks in and says, "hey! what are you doing here?!"

I explain my situation to her and that I want to volunteer at Joy's House & before I know it, she's saying, "well why don't you just intern here?"

(and telling me she was going to say she would just pay for me at Target & I could send her a check but she thought I would think it was too weird.)

I didn't learn she was the CEO until she handed me my card.

We had one meeting where she told me the projects she was looking to accomplish just to make sure I was willing to do them & that was that ...

I became the Joy's House Marketing Intern.

It's seriously crazy how God works, you know? Just days before Tina offering me the job, I was walking out of my grandpa's nursing home and said to my mom, "how mad would you be if I used my Butler degree to be an event planner at a nursing home?" I've just always, always loved the elderly & it's truly what my passion is. It's pretty awesome that at Joy's House, I get to combine all my passions - writing, photography & hanging out with the guests.

The other lesson I think we can learn from this is that if you chase your dreams hard enough? you can find a way to do what you love.

Tina had a dream & I think reality has probably surpassed even her wildest dreams. 

I thought it would never be possible for me to work at a non-profit working with the elderly or children because I'd never find a place where I felt I was utilizing my talents completely. 

But then Joy's House came along.

Never settle for less. Love what you do & do what you love.

it's so, so worth it.


1 comment:

Kara karagreer1@gmail.com said...

I stumbled across this story and it really touched me. I live in Indy too and have recently started volunteering with Easter Seals, a disability services organization. The reason I started was because I was thinking about how fortunate I am, and I have some extra free time so why not volunteer? And it has changed my life....it has really put things in perspective and i love actively helping out people in need. Sounds like you have the same values! Keep on rockin :)