News and Events

Why we need our staff

March 28, 2016


By: Ethan Bussiere, Self-Advocate

The following is a speech given by self-advocate, Ethan, to over 1,500 people at the annual ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol on March 15.

My name is Ethan Bussiere, I live at Opportunity Partners hoMEbase Westside and I’m here to tell my story.

I live in my own one-bedroom apartment.  I’m working on being more independent every day.  I have great staff that are always close by if I need their help, or if I just need someone to chat with.  Kelsi (pictured above), a staff at hoMEbase Westside, she has been a welcoming presence.  She is always there to help when she can and you can talk to her about almost anything on your mind.  She is an important staff at hoMEbase.

Great work experiences are sometimes a diamond in the rough.  Meaning they are rare. I searched for weeks for the right job for me. Alana Rice, Job Development Specialist at OP, heard of Habitat for Humanity and that they had a job up for hire. After a short interview, I was picked for the job.  I had four other candidates against me.  So I was happily surprised when the call came that I was hired.

So I was quite pleased to find Habitat for Humanity, which is such a friendly place to work.  There was a coworker who always had a welcoming smile every time I came by with my soap and rag.  She always seemed genuinely curious about what happened during my weekend and how I was feeling.  Seeing someone that friendly always puts a smile on my face.  One day last summer I had mentioned that I had never had a surprise birthday party just in casual conversation, not expecting anything.  Then my birthday came along and I had just finished my work shift and someone told me to follow them.  I was lead into the kitchen and the whole staff group was together waiting for me to surprise me and sing me happy birthday.  That was a day to remember!

My supervisor at work is very understanding of my needs and they were helpful after I had my hand surgery.  He made adjustments to help me do my job.  I really appreciate all they do for me!

John Larson, my job coach at OP, has been beneficial in helping me with my needs at work.  Usually I am fine and the meeting is quick, however there are sometimes I didn’t know what to do and he was there to help explain. Way to go John Larson!

The staff at OP have helped to guide my way through the dark forest.  When I am lost they are there to guide me.  When I am angry they help find reason.  When I’m happy they are there to share the joy.  Without staff we’d be lost, scared to move on.  Staff are the glue that holds OP together.  Don’t let us fall.


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