We are proud to introduce you to the People of ServiceSource campaign, a reflection of the staff, donors, volunteers and people with disabilities who embody our vision of creating inclusive communities every day. Join the conversation about inclusion, and share the impact you make in your own community. The more you read and share with your friends, the more you spread the word of our collective impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Help promote diversity and acts of service in the community by liking, commenting, and sharing your own stories. We want to share our stories with YOU!
Meet Antonio. He’s the person snapping the selfie, and he fills the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mailroom with energy. “I’m a Satellite Supervisor. I make sure that ServiceSource employees at the EPA are getting their jobs done. I like it because it’s like family. Like if one of us passes away or somebody hurts, we all hurt. You know, it’s the little things that count. When [the employees] are here, we try to make it the best six to eight hours we can for them, whether it’s honoring a birthday, giving awards, saying, “Thank you, you did a good job,” or just laughing with them – they might need a good laugh, you never know. My mom taught me to be nice to people. No matter what they have going on, whether it’s a disability or not.”
Meet Beth. Beth has worked in the mailroom at the Department of Transportation for 16 years. “My job is awesome and fun!” she says. Beth is a Mail Clerk, and delivers newspapers and mail to people on the third, fourth, and fifth floors 5 days a week. She talks about the DoT workers she sees every day, and says the familiarity brings her comfort. When asked what her favorite thing about the mailroom is she quickly replies, “My friends!” who she also spends time with on the weekends, shopping and going to the movies. Her paycheck earned at the Department of Transportation allows her such leisure activities. Without the assistance of ServiceSource through the AbilityOne contracted job at the Department of Transportation, Beth isn’t sure what kind of job she would have. Her job in the mailroom is stable, and it gives her the meaningful sense of purpose we all strive for in our work.
Meet Bill. “I am the General Manager [at the Westin Wilmington], I oversee the whole kit and caboodle, operations, marketing, sales, everything. We’ve had ServiceSource training programs at our Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, and now here at the Westin… I think it’s vitally important that we work with everyone in the community and that everyone in the community has the same opportunity to work. The payback is tenfold on the employer and supervisors who get to work with people with disabilities and have an opportunity to learn how to train and develop people differently. It makes us stronger in whatever role we have at a hotel. We’re able to reach out and work with someone and develop them into someone that’s a viable part of our organization; we’ve just been so successful with it, that it’s just like breathing… It’s about treating people the way that you want to be treated and treating them like they should be treated. And recognizing people for their differences but also recognizing them for the differences they bring to the table. I tell all the associates that it’s all about taking care of the customer; it’s all about taking care of them, and it’s a family here. I have 95 employees and there’s not one that’s less important than the other. And that’s vital for what we do. You know we don’t sell anything tangible here, you don’t leave with anything but an experience, so if the associates are on point then it makes the experience a lot better. You don’t even have to force it. I’ve been blessed with having the staff and managers and supervisors that get it; they understand that it may take a few extra minutes on the front end but on the back end you get someone who’s really loyal and understands and grasps and appreciates the opportunity.”
Remember the story about Brian Cox earlier this month? He is a hardworking and motivated employee, fresh out of high school. As a member of ServieSource Delaware’s FrameWORK for Success school-to-work program, he works in the packaging office. His coworkers, Kelly, Erin, and Pierre collaborated to create a solution that relieved stress and saved time in Brian’s productivity. Stories like Brian’s and the genuine collaboration efforts made by Kelly, Erin, and Pierre, are the kinds of stories People of ServiceSource wants to share with you.
Cameron and Zach
Meet Cameron (left) and Zach (right). Both gentlemen were born and raised in Delaware, and they are both employed through AbilityOne contracts with ServiceSource.
Cameron: I’ve been working for SS for 14 years. I started in the warehouse [at the regional office] and ended up going over to the Carvel State Building in 2007. I run the custodial crew at the Carvel Building.
Zach: I’ve been with ServiceSource for 7 years. I used to work in the warehouse too back in 2010. I’ve been at the Carvel Sate Building since 2013. I love my job there.
What is the Carvel Building?
Cameron: It’s the governors’ building. It’s named after the Governor from years ago.
What do you do at the Carvel Building?
Cameron: We pretty much do all the housekeeping: trash moving, recycling, dusting, vacuuming. We run 12 floors in that building. Judges, governors, lawyers, everybody, they’re all there – everybody you can name.
Zach: I like the job itself, but my customers turn into my friends, so that would have to be the best part, the people who work in the building with me
Cameron: That makes the job better too. Like when birthdays come around, we get a card, a gift card here and there. They look out for us on the holidays.
Meet Carole. Carole is a credentialed music therapist who works with individuals in ServiceSource community integration programs in Northern Virginia. “I try to get people involved always in the beat, the pulse, the rhythm of the music,” Carole says. “I enjoy all the of the different personalities. I would say that over time we have become like a little family. Now I’m going to tell you a story. In November of 2014, I had an accident and I needed surgery on my knee; most of the meniscus, which is the cartilage, has been removed on both sides. I had to relearn how to walk and – I’m going to cry now – these wonderful people sent me, from both here at Springfield and at Woodmont, cards: loads of cards telling me how they missed me. Because in a way we have come to know each other so well, we care – the participants get to know each other, they get to care and open up to someone else’s life…I’ve been lucky, many wonderful things have happened in my life, and I feel that I am providing an opportunity for others who don’t often have a chance to express their creativity to do so. To me that is very rewarding.”
Meet Cher. “I think my purpose is to be valuable to society to be doing something that important that makes a difference. I think my job allows me to do that. When I was growing up, I had a cousin who was ten years younger than me and he had Spina Bifida, so he always had different kind of medical issues. He was able to keep working and go to school all the way through high school. Right after high school, he had both of his legs amputated at the knees. He was always into sports and into boating and stuff, and he remained doing all of that. My cousin worked as a tile setter and he trimmed trees: he got up on one of those machines and cut the trees. His boss at the tile company spoke at his funeral and talked about what a great employee he was, and how he was always amazed by [my cousin’s] drive….So, I literally believe if people want to do something, they can do anything that they want, and I like that we support that. I think that it’s so important for people to have a full circle life, whether they need adaptive technology, or just some skills training to get them into the job market. They’re empowered to work, empowered to make a living. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t work, I really wouldn’t.” Cher is the Director of Business Development, based in ServiceSource Florida.
Meet Daryl. “I’m a shipping and receiving clerk at the USDA. I’ve been here about 12 years. But I’ve been with ServiceSource since April 10, 2001… What do I like about working here? To tell you the truth, I don’t like being around a lot of people. But I’ve gotten comfortable around these people… I feel like this is the best thing that’s happened to me. Because I was isolated, staying in the house all the time. This job has been really good for me; now I can deal with people. I mean it’s still hard, but I’ve met a lot of nice people. There’s a lady here, she’s a good friend of mine and we go on cruises. We’ve been to Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Florida; it’s unbelievable, I never thought I’d get to those places! But see, I got a girlfriend who lives in Kentucky, so for my next vacation I was thinking, I mean, maybe we can cruise together, but I would actually like to go see [her]. I would prefer that than a cruise… It’s been a blessing being with ServiceSource. It’s been awesome. I’m 52 and I never want to leave. Maybe I’ll work until I’m 62. I just feel so good working.”
Meet Ebony. “I’m the VA [Veteran’s Administration] Operator. I’ve been here six months. Before this I lived in Connecticut and I owned a store. A little snack shop. I sold coffee, chips, pastries, and a light lunch. But I couldn’t take the cold anymore! [Here at the VA in North Carolina,] I answer all the calls coming in. I dispatch them wherever they need to go, between this hospital, the clinic, … People call from Maine, they want to get the number to the VA Hospital in Washington. I have to send them there… I love my job. I meet new people all the time, from all different places. People who’ve been stationed in Alaska for the last seven years come in, and I think ‘Oooh that is so cool!’ I’m meeting different people and actually helping people, and it’s extremely fulfilling, so I can’t think of anything else that could be better than that. You’re helping someone who can’t help themselves. There’s no way that they can come in and sit and have a conversation with you, so you’re digging and digging [to solve their problem]. They might get another operator and they won’t get that dedication. They’re all veterans. Someone calls and says, ‘I haven’t seen my husband in six weeks, he’s mentally ill, he walked out, can you please help me, what can I do?’ I get those calls and it’s sad but if I find him then I’m really happy.”
Meet Eric. Eric supervises the ServiceSource’s AbilityOne contract at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. “I used to work at Panera bread, as a cafe manager. I started looking around at jobs, saw his one, met the people, and got really excited. It’s challenging, probably the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely the most rewarding. I had always worked for for-profit organizations. You don’t really work that closely with people with disabilities in those environments, but at the end of the day, the people that I employ right now, they are just like anyone else. They have all the same wants and dreams as everyone else, they don’t want to be treated any differently. They just want to have the same opportunities that everyone else has. We have a lot of folks who have come in and have really struggled at the beginning. For a lot of them, it’s their first job and the only real structured position they’ve had because no one has given them a chance before, so they don’t understand the dynamics of working with coworkers, and things like that. Really when you work with them one on one, you get the opportunity to really understand what they need versus what behavior they’re exhibiting. We have people who have [moved up] from a position. [One of our employees was] stuck washing dishes, but it turns out he’s actually one of our best customer service people. I don’t think I’ve ever had a job that’s given me that sense of pride, that my job really mattered and made a difference.”
Meet Fred. “I work over at the satellite locations in the Ronald Reagan building. I do mail runs, I deliver countable mail, I sort mail. I like my coworkers, I like the camaraderie, I like my supervisors, I like my customers, you know I have a great rapport with them. I like working mail operations. I do different things, like I’ll come over here [to the Environmental Protection Agency] and cross train in different areas. My paycheck gets direct deposited. I have two accounts, and one of them is savings. I try to save for a rainy-day fund, and the other is a checking account for bills and stuff. I like working here, it’s the perfect fit.”
Meet Grant. Grant served as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps from 1998-2006. Recently he became Program Manager of ServiceSource Florida Warrior Bridge; Warrior Bridge helps veterans transition from military to civilian life. “As a veteran, I too have experienced the challenges of reintegrating to civilian life. In service, we’re told where to go and what to do. When we’re discharged, some of us have a difficult time finding our place back in society. My transition has passed and I have a responsibility to help my fellow veterans get back to being productive members of society. My work at ServiceSource Warrior Bridge affords me the opportunity and means to carry out the vital mission of helping our country’s veterans achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.”
Meet Jennifer. “I grew up in a small town in the middle of Florida. My parents are still married; they just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in March. So I feel like I have a really good foundation in life. I’m an energetic and happy person and thankful for everything that I have. I’ve been working in the housing department [at ServiceSource Florida] since November 2014. I was promoted about a year ago to the management positon. [Now] I’m the Housing Manager, or Occupancy Manager, here in the Clearwater Regional Office. We manage over 200 units. It’s a high-energy job, there are a lot of people to take care of. It’s a really busy job, but at the end of the day it’s about helping the people that we serve, so it’s extremely rewarding. And that’s the kind of person that I am. I believe I was put on this earth to help people. The fact that I was able to attain this job just kind of made my dreams come true.”
Meet Josh. Josh participates in the Riverfront Community Integration Program in Wilmington, DE. “My favorite thing about coming here is working on movies. I’ve been acting since I was 13. I mostly work on production and on making films. It’s complicated when you get started. Most of the time when I come here I work with Big Josh. I come up with ideas for what needs to get done and he works with the camera and he starts filming. Mostly I’m a director, but I’m an actor as well. So that’s it for the movie production. There are also the times when we go out to the parks and find spots where we can get the good shots.”
Meet Laura. “Right now, I’m working on plastic canvas and I do different designs myself. I do a lot of volunteer work with my mom too. We go to the SPCA and play with the animals and clean the cages. I help with animals, mostly the cats because I like cats the most. On Fridays we do Meals on Wheels. I like volunteering because it’s fun. If there’s a big event, we help out… And I definitely like bowling. I don’t use gutters because I’m good without gutters – that’s the way we play in the Special Olympics. One of my goals is employment, I want to get a job,” Laura says, but she isn’t sure yet what kind of job she wants. “There’s too much to do!” Laura says with a big smile.
Meet Laurie. “I’ve worked here for 13 years. I like weaving, especially shawls and tote bags. I’m making a tote bag now. I’m an artist – I like making everything! I work here Monday through Friday. Sometimes we go to different places. On Monday, we make soap and candles; on Tuesday we go to Music Therapy. And on Wednesday we go to dancing therapy…When I make art I feel love. All the colors in you make people happy and smile a lot. My favorite holiday is Christmas and it has my favorite colors: red, gold, and green. I love working here. It’s very fun. You can see all the colors around and it’s beautiful.”
Meet Lois. Lois began volunteering with the ArlingtonWeaves, Etc. program in 1989, “and I’ve been coming ever since. I must enjoy it here because I’ve been at it an awful long time. I’m a weaver. Here, I do the fringe on scarves and other things. I enjoy getting out and seeing the people and seeing the progress that the clients make. I am truly amazed at the improvements that they have shown, and the good work that they do. I’ve seen experienced weavers not do as good work as some of these do. With some of them it’s just amazing… Wes, Laurie, Anna, and Norma, they’ve been with it a long time. We have little conversations. It’s always nice how warmly they greet us when they come in, like we’re just the person they want to see… I do enjoy this and look forward to coming down and seeing how they’ve progressed. I probably get a whole lot more out of it than they do. Mentally and physically I get a lot out of it. It’s nice to be out and doing something for someone. You know, being a help to someone. I can sit around my home with my feet up, and read a book or something, but it’s nice to get out and do something useful.”
Meet Maria. “I am a certified financial coach and benefits counselor. My job as a coach is not to tell [our clients] what to do with their money, but to give them that power to make better decisions and better choices. Just thinking about one client, I think I’ve been working with him for about a year. When he met with me he was still looking for a job, he was relying on supplemental security income (SSI), and he had some credit but not much. We worked to the point where he has a full-time job, he opened a credit card, and his score has increased 70 points… I think finances are a very important part of our life that [most people] are not taught at school or at home. Me, myself I’ve learned a lot personally with this job and I was able to improve my credit and become a first-time home buyer with everything that I learned… Through our partnership with Stand By Me: Delaware Financial Empowerment Partnership, we are able to be inclusive. Some people may have developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or mental health issues, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to improve their finances. More than ever we need to focus more on this so [people with disabilities] understand their disability benefits. Giving them that empowerment and knowledge is important.”
Meet Mike. Mike volunteers as the Reading Group Coordinator at the Community Integration Center in Oakton on Mondays. “[I like] seeing the progress that people make, and some people who you never thought would read all of a sudden just come out of nowhere and start reading, and you realize they’re good readers. They just hadn’t participated up to that point, and now — now they’re ready to participate.” Mike also volunteers at Vienna Presbyterian Church on Sundays with members of the congregation who have disabilities. “We do hand chimes,” Mike says. “These folks have a lot to give, and we want to make sure they’re included as much as possible. And, you know, this population is living a lot longer now than they did a few years ago. They need to have a place where they can contribute and where they belong.” Last year, ServiceSource awarded Mike the Volunteer of the Year Award. Mike works at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
Sally and Tom
Meet Sally and Tom. “My son Tom has been involved with ServiceSource since the year after he got out of high school. He started as soon as we could get him in, and over the years he’s grown and developed new skills. I think one of the important things that he has learned is that he has somebody that he can call upon for help. ServiceSource is there for him and for our family. They help provide resources outside of what a traditional organization would provide and that is extremely important. I’m glad my donations can go to an organization where I can see firsthand, the help and care they provide for the individuals they serve. ServiceSource has helped Tom grow and made things a little bit easier for him, I’m glad to support an organization like that.”
Meet Sandy. She works at the United States Treasury Department through an AbilityOne contract as an Administrative Specialist at the Office of Technical Assistance in the Eastern European Division. “I just turned 55, I’m into walking, dancing, and staying out of trouble. I like to be helpful as much as I can without getting burned,” Sandy says with a smile. She breezes through the office with confidence. She stops for a moment of witty banter with her boss, and greets another colleague, whose children she affectionately calls her nephews; her connection with her colleagues at the Treasury is undeniable. “I handle office duties, I’m in charge of all three conference rooms, I make sure that there are no conflicts. We’ve been here since June, I’ve been with [the Treasury] since 1995, and with ServiceSource since 1993,” Sandy says. “I went from high school to minor college: that means I took 3 adult classes, and passed them with the skin of my neck. I went from high school straight to work because my parents didn’t think I would make it in college. But here I am, 30 some years later doing this,” she says proudly.
Meet Ward. Ward volunteers every week at Springfield Day Habilitation Program where he leads Story Time. “I’m always very careful to make sure [the individuals] understand what is going on in the story. I get feedback from them either verbally or they express themselves with their hands. I don’t see a lot of people who aren’t involved, they’re all involved one way or another. They express themselves in one way or another,” he says. “I think they know that the person reading to them cares about them learning something and hearing something, that there’s somebody there who’s willing to share some time with them.” Ward is a recent retiree, who has spent the last ten years working with people who have disabilities, from mentoring children with autism to leading a sheltered workshop in Columbia, MD. Ward says, “I’m very impressed with these people and the way they work with the individuals. I’ve never heard or seen any negativity from the staff. The program flows. I’m impressed to see how well it works and how well the clients are taken care of here.”