Whether it involves serving others on-site, with a work crew or finding someone a job in the community, there’s one thing these staffers have in common– the satisfaction gained by positively impacting others.
“I never sell them short,” said Life Skills Instructor David Wentzlaff in Eagan. “I always believe that they can, and because of that, they’ve come to have a comfortable ease around me and vice-versa.” Wentzlaff said he’s learned that all people do matter and have worth, and that everyone has wants, needs and desires.
Eagan Site Supervisor Kayla McCullen said ProAct is the most upbeat place she has ever worked. She takes participants to job sites, assures they have the materials they need, that they are comfortable in their surroundings and are getting along with their peers.
Vocational Coordinator Anna Cahak did similar work in-center for years before she was promoted to lead employment efforts. While many have gotten jobs in the community, there was one job placement in particular from her work floor days who made a big impression. “It is just wonderful to see the growth with that,” she said.
There are personal qualities that really shine in ProAct staff, Wentzlaff explains. People who are not overly serious, leave room for patience and understanding and lend a listening ear to work through things with participants are better able to respond to individual needs.
Staff members work toward the same goals, explains Cahak, and the camaraderie between employment staff is a key strength of ProAct, enabling the group to work together effectively.
Rather than focusing on self, the emphasis typically circles back to what others want. “It’s taught me the meaning of love and respect and kindness,” said Wentzlaff. “None of us should think that we’re any better than another person, because you can get knocked down in a hurry with that kind of an attitude,”he said.
“It’s a really rewarding job,” said McCullen. “I leave with a smile on my face, for sure.”