Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)!
As you might have seen, we recently profiled one of UCP’s customers, Emanuel. Emanuel uses supports from UCP Oregon to work at a Portland-area hospital as a Transportation Aid.
So now we’re profiling one of our employees, Lara, who works with Emanuel. Lara is a Job Coach at UCP, and has been working for UCP for three years.
Here’s what Lara has to say about working with Emanuel:
How long have you been working with Emanuel?
“Emanuel and I began working together early in 2021. At that time, our Supported Employment team wasn’t providing in-person supports due to the pandemic, so initially, Emanuel and I communicated primarily through text message. Over time, we developed the plan we have now, which is a combination of remote and in-person support.”
How would you describe Emanuel?
“Emanuel has incredible perseverance; he maintains his job as a front-line worker in the pandemic while also balancing time consuming personal obligations every day. I appreciate that, despite working exhaustingly long hours, Emanuel still has the capacity to be a forward thinker and outline aspirations for his future. Emanuel is an incredibly caring person and a thoughtful communicator.”
Thanks for the info, Lara!
PS: You can learn more about UCP Oregon’s Supported Employment division (“Employment Solutions”) here.
As you probably know, we recently held an online chat with a UCP mom, Lenore Eklund, who wrote a book (Release: A NICU Fairytale). Lenore discussed the process of dealing with NICU trauma.
The event went really well! It was attended by several UCP families, friends of families, and educators. Many different experiences and perspectives were shared.
Lenore said she woke up the next day feeling "so invigorated!"
Lenore added, "I think the conversation deepened the understanding of what families experience in the NICU. I also think the connections made between those in attendance will help grow the network of support that is so vital for this medical marathon most of us are on."
Even more exciting--Lenore said that there was talk about creating more space for releasing trauma through art. "It is something I'm really interested in, so I am looking forward to exploring more of this with the community."
Woo hoo! Thanks to Lenore for speaking, Katherine Ball for coordinating, and all the attendees!
For National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we thought it would be cool to profile one of UCP’s customers, Emanuel.
Emanuel uses services from UCP’s Employment Solutions division. He works at a Portland-area hospital, and has had his job (Transportation Aid) for more than six years.
Here’s what Emanuel has to say about his job:
What are your job duties?
“My job duties vary. I collect labs from the clinic. I also transport beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, and items such as pumps to other departments. I also run the elevator for patients to get to their destination.”
What do you like about your job?
“My co-workers. I have good co-workers who help me out if I need help or have questions. I also have good supervisors.
What is it like working at a hospital during a pandemic?
“It has been really tough for me—I need to be extra cautious so that I will not contract the virus because of other issues with my health. I am getting through it, but it is not easy.
Is there anything else you want to share?
“For people who might think working at a hospital is not possible for them. I want to tell them ‘no, it IS possible for you’.”
“In the hospital you need to talk to people a lot, and that is hard for me, but time went by and I got used to it. At times it is still difficult—sometimes people don’t understand me—but that doesn’t mean that I can’t work at the hospital.”
“I want people to know that what I do is not impossible with a disability. ‘Go for it,’ is what I say.”
And congratulations on your six-year anniversary at the hospital!
It's October, and you know what that means... Halloween... and NDEAM!
NDEAM stands for "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." NDEAM happens every October, but at UCP Oregon, we believe in creating and celebrating access and opportunity every day!
PS: you can learn more about UCP Oregon's fantastic supported employment division (Employment Solutions) here.
As you may know, we’re hosting a discussion with the author of a new book, who just happens to be one of the moms in UCP’s Family Support Department!
On October 7th, Lenore Eklund will be talking about her book (Release: A NICU Fairytale), and the process of dealing with NICU trauma at our event. Register here.
We thought it would be fun to learn more about Lenore before the event. Thanks for answering our questions, Lenore!
1. How did Charlie end up in the NICU?
About 10 days before I had Charlee, we learned she had excess spinal fluid causing a lot of pressure on her brain. We had to switch gears very fast and plan a c-section delivery up at OHSU. Charlee was born 3 weeks early.
2. What was your NICU experience like?
There was so much uncertainty around why the conditions were keeping her in the hospital. As our stay lengthened, we searched for answers to figure out why her oxygen saturations sporadically dropped, why she continually had bradycardic episodes, and why she was unable to eat by mouth. Medical providers had ideas of procedures and surgeries to try. Some of the ideas we were able to discuss together and dismiss. Some of the ideas made us feel backed into a corner. No one could tell us which decision was the right decision to make.
3. How did you end up coming up with your book idea?
During Charlee's second neurosurgery when she was just over a year old, a support worker gave me a care package that had some colored pencils and a sketchpad. I started drawing boats rolling in waves and happy suns playing in the clouds, but I made a comic about something that was really frustrating me about the hospital and that felt really, really good to get out. That's when I started on Charlee's birth story and our story of being in the NICU.
4. What was the process of writing it like?
The graphic novel was also about releasing all of my feelings of anger, overwhelm and uncertainty. The act of making this book was about sending those feelings through my body and out onto paper. It was something I could spend hours in the evening doing after Charlee went to bed or on busy days, a couple minutes between running laundry and starting a feed.
5. What are your hopes for the book and/or the people reading it?
By releasing this story through publication, it is my hope the story will provide a conversation around preventing unnecessary NICU and hospital trauma, supporting families through medical crises and healing unresolved emotions.