Jon Hess has been a long-term direct care staff at the ACR Home on Fox Run Bay since 2002. His long-term commitment to the residents at Fox Run Bay has made a huge impact on the residents he’s served throughout those years, and naturally, they’ve had a huge impact on him, too. With almost 15 years of experience caring for the guys at Fox Run Bay, he says the life lessons have been significant.
More than a job
Jon shared his thoughts on being a long-term direct care staff.
It’s so much fun to interact with the residents at our house—“the guys”—and their families too. They’ve become my second and third families. I’ve celebrated countless birthdays, holidays, and even family weddings. The first time I ever cooked a turkey was for an ACR holiday. It’s cool to be able to experience these things with the residents and with their families and to share those meaningful experiences with them.
The residents get out and do more stuff than I do. They’re enhancing my life in a way, because I’m being paid to go on activities I wouldn’t necessarily go on otherwise. They’re my buds and we get to go out and do fun stuff. They wouldn’t be able to do the things they’re doing without my help. Not only are you going out to have fun, but you’re enhancing their lives as well.
I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t work for ACR. I don’t know if I’d be as happy as I am. I don’t know if I’d be teaching or doing something with computers or in an office job. Here I can be myself–it’s almost required. It’s not frowned upon for me to act like a complete goon, because I make the residents laugh. Even though I’m a goofball, people still take me seriously because I’m a great direct care staff and I have a lot of experience. It’s nice to be accepted that way– to know that you’re making other people feel good and getting paid for it.
Life Lessons Learned as a Long-Term Direct Care Staff
The residents and my work at ACR have helped me define who I am. If I meet someone who doesn’t like that, then that’s ok. This job has opened me up to a lot of
new experiences that I didn’t think I’d have. It’s taught me so much patience, and how to roll with the punches. It’s definitely helped me grow as a person.
My favorite thing about being at ACR is that I can be myself and just make the guys laugh–that I can enhance their lives without even trying, just by being me, and to feel like I’m making a difference.