Working at a job, vocation or career is one of the critical pieces for most of our lives. A job provides income that we need to pay for our basic needs such as food, clothing, and a place to live. The amount of one’s income also determines what kind of extra things a person can do. What kind of leisure activities to participate in or what kind of vehicle one can drive are all an outcome of one’s income.
A job does more than provide income for a person. A job also provides people with a sense of fulfillment, productivity, and purpose. We are created to be active and productive people. Having a job that depends on a person to complete a task or role also conveys a sense of responsibility to the employee. This kind of responsibility affirms that we are needed.
These two provisions, income, and purpose, are vital to the individuals that Oaks serves. Even though a person may have some degree of disability that prevents them from holding a traditional full-time job in the community, the same needs are present. They need a source of income to provide for their lives. They also want to have meaningful, purposeful activity in their lives.
Even though the social assistance system in the US provides an income for adults with disabilities, it is at a very modest level of $889 a month for most individuals. This amount is not only very difficult to pay for basic needs but it also does not fulfill the innate need for personal fulfillment and purposefulness.
Oaks partners with several other programs in our area to provide “day activity programs” that help our clients engage in daily activities that bring some sense of meaning and enrichment.
Oaks Growing Together Farm is one of these programs at which our “farmers” plant, cultivate, harvest and sell vegetables and flowers. They also feed and care for hogs which they sell to local customers. This has proven to be very fulfilling for a group of about 25 people who have participated over the past 8 years.
Although programs like this provide some of the purposes that individuals need, they provide little or no monetary income. Oaks “farmers” receive be- tween $30-40 a month from the proceeds of their sales.
Many of our clients are capable of performing some degree of work that is beneficial to our communities. There are many employers in the community that have been willing to give individuals with disabilities a chance. We applaud businesses like Lowe’s, FoodMaxx, Safeway, Keysight, Petaluma Pie Company, Sebastopol Hardware and many others.
There are more opportunities in the community that are yet to be discovered. If you know of any opportunities out there please let us know.
The second half of the equation regarding the work- force concerns the people that Oaks employees to support the individuals we are serving in the community. Oaks currently employees 37 people to meet these needs. We are in need of a few more.
We need to find at least one or two more people that can provide assistance to some of our folks in their homes. The ideal person for this job is compassionate, patient, graceful, is willing to do some cooking, housekeeping and
shopping. They are willing to have flexible hours of work that can include evenings and weekends. All of our staff eventually build caring friendships with the people they serve.
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in talking with us about a meaningful job that provides some income, give us a call. (707) 795-5927