What’s Your Why? Dan Connors
In the upcoming months, St. Joseph Home will be focusing on the question of WHY in relation to its staff and volunteers. The staff and volunteers who have worked alongside our residents have learned from and shared experiences with them, gaining different perspectives about what it means to be part of something greater than themselves. While St. Joseph Home is known for creating a community where all individuals can be embraced for their dreams and abilities, there is always much more to learn about our residents and to be inspired by. Spreading knowledge is imperative for creating an inclusive attitude and this is our chance to share with you and many others WHY we do it every day.
Dan Connors, CEO and President of St. Joseph Home since 2015, has partnered with individuals living with disabilities for over 20 years. He worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor at the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (ORSC) before becoming their Deputy Director for the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired leading key initiatives like VRP3 and the Recovery to Work Program. After many years of being involved in such a diverse community of individuals, he has continuously been amazed by the unique personalities and abilities that each individual has. After gaining a perspective for what it means to be included in a community like St. Joseph Home, his WHY goes much deeper than what can be seen on the surface.
While life may be moving at a much faster pace for everyone, working with and learning from the residents at St. Joseph Home has taught Dan to slow down every once in a while, making time for the people in life that mean the most to him. Some of the things that individuals and groups in society can take for granted are their extended social circles. Between family, friends, coworkers, and more, being tethered to a team that’s bigger than yourself is not something that everyone gets the chance to have. Individuals living with disabilities are not an uncommon occurrence; almost 20% of any community is filled with people with disabilities and it stretches across every demographic. The unfortunate side of this is that though they are present in all communities, most do not have the large and expanding social circles that others have. Their social circles mainly consist of their family, similar individuals, and nurses/volunteers. Recognizing that there is much more to learn from those at St. Joseph Home, Dan spends his time being present with all individuals in his life.
One of the most beneficial perspectives that Dan has gained from his experiences working with individuals with disabilities is how unique they are, in the same way that everyone around us is. They all have different needs and wants, likes and dislikes, all the things that make a person human. It can be easy to make generalizations about individuals with disabilities but their personality extends much farther than what can be seen on the outside. At the same time, they can share many interests as you and I do. Some residents love to go out and be with people, while others prefer to stay home and get comfortable. The similarities that our residents have with others is what connects them, and the differences is what creates a unique relationship worth sharing.
For those who want to get involved, Dan is certain there is no better way than to just go for it! It’s okay to be uncomfortable with the idea and its okay be timid to trying, but the rewarding process of learning from those like the residents at St. Joseph Home will happen quickly. Any interest you have, or any talent you may have is worth sharing with others. The little things are never overlooked and by getting involved you could be the key to unlocking the door to a more inclusive community.