The Covid-19 Pandemic has created a lot of time to reflect on all the great things each of us take for granted.  Time with friends and family, a simple get together, and the day to day structure of work that was turned upside down in 2020.

I have taken this opportunity to think about my career working with people with disabilities.  I came to this field by mere accident and have never regretted the chance to serve this incredible population.

25 years ago I was looking for a part time job.  I was young, new to a community in western Iowa and needed some extra income.  I was in college, getting my BA in psychology with the intent of working as a counselor or with at-risk youth.  A friend of mine suggested I apply to work as a direct care provider for with people with disabilities.  I had never thought of working in the field; it simply never occurred to me.

My first position gave me the opportunity to work with two incredible women, living on their own as roommates in an apartment.  Each had their challenges but what I came to love were their strengths.  They were genuine, kind, hilarious, real; they had none of the smoking mirrors most of us wear to impress people and make ourselves feel important.  Those two ladies taught me more about life than any college course I ever took on human behavior. They shared their hearts with me, their meals, and their fears and how they had been bullied, ridiculed and marginalized because they were different.  After one week of working with them, I knew I had found my calling.

Many people I know work to make money, gain prestige or just work to work.  I have been blessed: I found what I was meant to do.

Do you have a passion for serving others?  Do you want to go to work every day knowing you are making an impact on someone’s life?  Have you ever considered working with people with disabilities?

If you are looking for a new position, somewhere to make a difference and be a part of a progressive organization that is changing the lives of people with disabilities, I encourage you to go to our website and apply online.  www.winonaorc.org

Are you interested in serving in a different way?  Perhaps on the board?  Making a donation to our organization which is building a stronger infrastructure to serve people with disabilities with the future in mind?  I encourage you to donate to our webpage or return the enclosed envelope.

I sometimes wish I could go back in time and hang out with those two women that opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me.  I would thank them for what they taught me and the pure joy just knowing them had given my life.  How many people can say that about a 25 year long career?

Make Winona ORC part of your story.  Join us.

With much gratitude-

Heidi Smith, Executive Director

Winona ORC Industries, Inc.