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The Skill of Understanding

Today's blog is a feature written by Justin Korver, featuring his experiences and outlooks from when he was a Hope Haven employee...

Former DSP Justin Korver

Justin Korver

I have been teaching art at the university level for 5 years and can honestly say that one of the most important training experiences that I’ve had was working at Hope Haven. I worked in respite and community living while pursuing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The hours allowed me to pursue my education, but even more importantly my work with Hope Haven was an education in itself. I learned invaluable lessons about working with people with various needs. Learning to empathize, plan, and accomplish goals with clients at Hope Haven has often prepared me to better serve the students I teach.

While it may seem like the skills learned at Hope Haven would only apply to the people with physical and cognitive disability, I have found that learning to support vulnerable populations helps us better understand how to work with all people. I learned to actively listen to verbal and non-verbal communication, I learned how to stay calm and diffuse difficult situations, and I learned that I was passionate about advocating for others.

Said another way, I learned to empathize more fully with more people. The skill of understanding has benefited me in my personal and professional life. Working at Hope Haven was a job but it was also more than a job, it was an enriching career. I feel that my work there mattered because it directly impacted the quality of the clients lives. I worked for years at the same waiver home and built trust and relationships with the people there. The clients that I worked with even years later still hold a special place in my heart.

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