My Life: What Do You Want Me To Do?

My Life: What Do You Want Me To Do?

I sent out hundreds of resumes; no one would hire me.
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"Kim can you please restock the linen cart with sheets and towels? "Nurse Donna asked, anxiously, in the middle of doing a hundred other things.

"Sure no problem!" I chirped.

"After that please bring Mr. Dooley his lunch from the hot truck then feed it to him." she muttered.

"Got it Nurse Donna!" I yelled as I lifted a huge load of towels onto the cart.

I was hooked the second I walked into that hospital in my red and whited striped Candy-striper uniform. I had volunteered before as a Girl Scout but now I really felt like I was helping people. I started when I was 12. I volunteered for four years. My friends made fun of me. I didn't care.

I went to my local community college. I loaded my schedule with classes in Psychology, then writing classes. Needless to say, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out and went to work full time. I had been working in retail up to that point and really started to hate it. I signed up for a nurses aide training course and worked for a home care agency for the next two years.

A friend of mine who was working at a center for developmentally disabled children said to me "You'd be great at working with MR/DD children. You should apply." I did just that. I was called the next day. I started working part time on weekends. I wanted a full time position. I picked up every extra shift I could. Finally a few months later I was given a full time ion.

The building was divided into four dorms: boys, girls, young men, and center dorm. (which WAS in the center of the building but I never understood why they called it that....it was the teenage girl's dorm) I was in Boy's dorm. I had one of the most difficult groups. My boys needed a lot of motivation to do the simplest things. They were very behavioral.

One of them needed five people to pull him off of you if you got caught in his iron grip when he had one of his fits. He was also extremely lovable when he wasn't angry. It was noise! Loud noise levels confused him and made him extremely agitated. Hey, I don't like a lot of noise and chaos either!

The average time of employment there was nine months. I stayed 12 years! While I was working there I met many wonderful people. People that deserve a Purple Heart for doing what they do. One lady Jillian, had been there for 10 years when I started. She was still there when I left. She complained about how little money she made all the time. She had to go on Workmen's Compensation for six months for an injury she sustained from one of the residents and she became bankrupt. She came back and worked extra shifts.

After several years on the day shift, I decided to work overnights and go back to school. After a seven year absence, it was hard to get back into study mode. I decided I wanted to work for a D.A. like Ben Stone on "Law and Order." I wanted to get justice for people. I majored in Paralegal Studies.

There weren't many openings for an internship and when I graduated, I didn't have any experience working in a law office. I sent out hundreds of resumes. No one would hire me. I had to go back into the field I had most of my experience in...Which was health care.

I was hired as a Residential Manager at a house in Stony Brook, New York. There were 10 adult residents: five were developmentally disabled and fivs had mental health issues. Within the first week I had to completely reorganize the office. Nothing was current. Nothing was organized. The files on the computer were organized. The financial books were a mess.

The residents had an allowance from the state which they had to spend by a certain time. They hadn't been taken shopping for clothing, toiletries, linens, new furniture for years! I had to spend this money as soon as possible.

We took inventory on each resident. The next week, my assistant manager Carol and I went shopping. We bought each of them a new winter wardrobe, new mattresses, bedding and linens. We decorated each room in their favorite colors with posters of either cartoons and teen idols. We brought them with us for "community exposure" which many of them had not been out in a very long time except to go to day treatment (similar to school except they were adults so they call it "treatment.")

After a year of being on call 24 hours a day seven days a week, and getting beeped by staff members to "buy milk for the house" (which was ridiculous, my beeper was supposed to be for emergencies only) I decided to resign. I loved the job but it just became too exhausting. I did continue to work for that agency as a part time weekend direct support professional.

A friend of mine that was the manager, begged me to help her out. Her house and my house were mysteriously understaffed by the staffing coordinator who was responsible for providing us with staff when our regular staff called out. Whenever we tried to recruit staff ourselves she got angry.

After about four months, I got a full time position as a recreation therapy assistant at a very well known huge assisted living and nursing home facility. I worked in the Alzheimer's unit. I was responsible for doing therapeutic recreation with the residents all day.

The residents were very affluent and almost immediately I learned that the administration's main concern was filling beds. They treated the residents like royalty until hey ran out of money then their families were given a letter stating that they had to get out by next month. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my residents.

They were hilarious, but i realized I wasn't really helping anyone. I wanted to do something more. Something more significant and more real. I realized I needed to get my Bachelor's degree.

I wanted to help whole groups of people. Not just individuals. I wanted to work in social services. There are so many different job titles in this field so there isn't one title that I have in mind. All I know is I want to help as many under-privileged people as I can.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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