let's glow 80's

ALL SMILES — Bona Vista Caregiver for the Developmentally Disabled Tyler Gaillard dances with Suzie during last year’s Let’s Glow '80s Crazy dance.

When I sat down to write this article, I wasn’t exactly sure what direction it was going to take. Do I talk about a program we offer? Do I tell you about more of the amazing people we serve? How about something on some of our great staff? Or about upcoming events (P.S. Mark your calendars for Jan. 31 for Viva Las Vista)? There are always so many things going on at Bona Vista Programs that it gets difficult to narrow it down.

So, what did I decide? Well, let me just tell you – a little bit of all of it. And, you want to know why? Because it is all rolled into one! We only have wonderful programs because there are people who need served by our amazing staff who also volunteer at our annual events! Did you follow that? Bet you didn’t see that one coming! But, it’s true.

People tell me often that we do great work at Bona Vista, that the work we do is important to the community, and that they are thankful for our organization. I totally agree with all of those statements (obviously!). But, doing good work can come at a price. It can be exhausting (that’s the behind-the-scenes grunt work you don’t see).

As with any job, there are trying days. Those days when you’re not sure if the work you’re doing is making a difference. The days when you’re so exhausted from running here, there, and everywhere that you’re not sure you even accomplished anything. You know, those days when you think you’ve had just about all you can handle, and you have to go home and take a nap to recover. Yep! Those days even happen at Bona Vista (although I like to believe they are pretty few and far between).

So, cheers to you, Bona Vista Programs staff! I appreciate you. The people we serve appreciate you. The parents of the kiddos in our early childhood programs appreciate you. The community appreciates you. If you’ve ever met me in person, I’ve probably told you how much I appreciate you. I try to make a point of it because I know how difficult your jobs can be at times. But, I truly do mean it!

I see you on your good days when you’re smiling and everything is as it should be. I see you on your rough days as you’re (literally) running or consoling or just trying to keep it together until your shift is over. But, I also see the adults and children we serve. I see their smiles. I see them learn new things. I see their creativity become reality. I see them encouraging each other (and you). I see them thriving with purpose. I see them loving well. And, that’s all because of you.

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Each and every staff member (all 450-plus of us) play an important, distinct, and vital role in this organization. When one piece of the puzzle is missing, it’s not complete. We couldn’t do what we do without you! So, don’t think for a second that the work you are doing goes unnoticed or unappreciated. We notice, and we appreciate it! And, for those hitting milestone workiversaries this year, we are celebrating you on Jan. 29 with breakfast. You should know who you are, but if you think this could be you and you haven’t heard anything, ask your supervisor!

You might be thinking, “Is it employee appreciation month? A special holiday that recognizes staff?” No. When I think about our staff, though, I can’t help but swell with pride. We have staff members on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Did you know that? Some of our office locations may only be open during the day, but having residential housing means that some of our staff work nights, weekends, and holidays. It’s not easy work, but they do it so well! Even our administration staff (that doesn't provide direct care) has such a deep love for the organization because they know the impact it has on the lives of those we serve that they volunteer for our events and offer to help when off the clock. It just tugs at the heartstrings!

Now, I could gush on and on all day about how amazing our staff is. And, if you want to take me to lunch some time I’d be happy to do that (joking!). For now, though, I’ll just say that if you see someone with a Bona Vista badge on, thank them, tell them you appreciate them, or just give them a high five! They deserve it!

I wasn’t going to have any kind of ask at the end of this article because it really was just a love fest. Then, I decided that I didn’t want to take that opportunity away from someone. So, if you’d like to join our staff, visit bonavista.org and click on "apply." There is a list of available opportunities for you to look over and apply for. We would love to have you. If you are not handy with a computer, you can call 765-457-8273 and talk to someone in human resources or to our staff recruiter, Marcy Kistler.

Truly, though, when you work for Bona Vista Programs you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Between staff and persons served, you become a part of one of the largest families in Howard County. And, I love and appreciate my family.