In 1985, Maria Stark interviewed for her first full-time job, a clerical position with Bona Vista. She had no idea at the time that this job would become her career.
Stark had graduated high school early and attended Indiana Business College when the opportunity presented itself for her to interview at Bona Vista. She was hired as the outpatient secretary for the Therapies department at $4.10 per hour, without the expectation to become a staple in our agency. This week we celebrate Stark's 35th anniversary with Bona Vista.
This week has brought with it a respected milestone but also a lot of memories for Stark. When she first started with Bona Vista, her office was located in a waiting room where she saw who came and went through the building's door. Because of this, she spoke with clients and their families daily. She developed relationships and got to know many of them well.
Her favorite memory to date was from these early years when she had developed a friendship with a special client who we will call Joe. He sat in Stark's waiting room every day for a staff member to take him to the Adult Day Activities room. She would talk to him to pass the time, and, though Joe was non-verbal, they connected through Stark's persistent conversation. One day, while waiting, Joe pulled out his comb and began to hum a song on it. Bewildered and convinced that she had heard him speak, Stark left her desk to sit next to him and asked him what he had said. It took some time, but, eventually Joe ended up singing the Star Spangled Banner to her!
A man who had been coming to our services for some time and who was believed to be non-verbal sang an entire song only to Stark. This is why Bona Vista exists. This very example is why we serve the people that we serve. This is why we celebrate staff members who pour their hearts into their work and love like family those clients that they serve.
Stark has raised two children and has welcomed a granddaughter during her tenure here. Her coworkers are family, and she is the hub of the agency. She has been in her current role as executive administrative assistant since 2009 and is the ringleader for the administration and the right hand for our president. We are so very thankful for Stark's years of dedication and hard work. She has said that her time with Bona Vista has created within her a soft spot for those in need: for children, animals, the elderly, and the disabled.
Thirty-five years with Bona Vista means that Stark gets to see adults in our services that she first met when they were 6 weeks old. It also means 35 years of memories, of familiar smiles, of occasional tears, of successes and of challenges.
"Working for Bona Vista has been an enjoyable adventure," Stark said.
Please help us celebrate and congratulate the 35th work anniversary of one of our most beloved employees, Maria Stark.
If you would like to build your career here and experience the joy that Stark has, please visit www.bonavista.org to see all of our open positions.