I was first introduced to The ARC Ontario back in 2013 when I was still attending high school and a technical & career center. During my time at the technical & career center, I had a few internships and my class had taken a class trip to explore more internships opportunities for our final internship rotation before graduation; one of those placements was The ARC Ontario’s Eberhardt Center. After my class visit, I knew I wanted to spend my last internship there, the energy in that building was something that just connected with me. I had built so many connections with the participants & staff during my time interning that I knew I had to come back and work when I was able.
After graduating high school, I had put in my application and was so excited when I was chosen for the position. I worked at The ARC Ontario’s Eberhardt Center for 4 years as a Direct Support Professional and spent a little over one year as a Day Habilitation Specialist. My time spent at the Eberhardt Center is what started my long-lasting love for this agency, and assisting with providing services to those supported in the agency.
I was then given the opportunity to supervise one of the agency’s Social Enterprise businesses, North Star Coffee. This was something that was very new to me, I hadn’t really had much with supervising in the past, however I was excited to start this new adventure because of all of the support I had from my new superiors and staff. During my time at North Star Coffee, I learned a whole different perspective to our agency that I wasn’t familiar with before and truly enjoyed that time. I spent a little over a year at our North Star Coffee Enterprise before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, then spent a bit of time in our residential department. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic beginning, I left the agency to explore another opportunity outside The ARC Ontario.
After about a year & a half away, I missed what I felt coming to work at The ARC Ontario every day, helping people achieve their own success was just something that always lit a fire in me and no matter where I went, I wasn’t feeling that same fire as I was when working for this organization.
I chose to come back to this wonderful agency for a few reasons; one of them being the amazing participants that you help every day. The relationships I built with the people I helped support were very important to me and I wanted to continue to have those relationships and build new ones. Another reason I returned was the incredible staff of The ARC Ontario – the staff that I have worked alongside in the past almost ten years have become people I can trust and rely on in almost any circumstance.
The culture at The ARC of Ontario is something I haven’t experienced in any workplace. When you walk in to work in the morning and there are smiling faces all around you to greet you, even though you may not know all of them personally, they know that we are all a part of one team and we are here to support each other. Whether we are in different departments or different positions, it has always felt like the agency is one. The agency is constantly encouraging staff and participants alike to come up with new and innovative ideas to help support those who desire services, to build more connections with our community and, of course, providing services that are held to the highest of standards. The ARC of Ontario is definitely a special place to work and I encourage anyone who can to look into an opportunity to become part of this amazing organization.