50 Faces of The Arc- Ben

Ben is a happy, softspoken employee at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. He has been in the STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment) Program for two years, which is a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Ben comes to Paxton three times a week where he does various tasks on campus, such as helping out in the garden or assisting with the mobile snack cart. Ben’s aid, Ginny, says since being in STEP Up, he has become much more independent,


“Before he would expect for me or his parents to do a lot of tasks for him–but now if you show him the steps, and he gets enough practice, he’ll do it himself.”

 

In the afternoons, Ben also participates in STEP Up’s afternoon enrichment activities. He’ll enjoy coloring or completing jigsaw puzzles, but he absolutely loves going to Old Ox Brewery where he and the other STEP Up members volunteer their time to help package the brewery’s drinks. This opportunity allows Ben to get real life work experience. Ginny says,

“After seeing him [Ben] at Old Ox, I believe he can definitely try to get a part time job. He’s a hard worker, and once he gets into the swing of things he doesn’t want to stop until the job is done.”

 

Besides being in the STEP Up program, Ben also volunteers at The Arc’s events outside of work. He and his family have volunteered at The Arc’s biggest fundraiser of the year: Shocktober, where he took money and tickets at the attractions.

 

Ginny believes The Arc is so important for employees like Ben, because they provide so many advocacy opportunities saying,

“A lot of people don’t know or understand people who are like Ben, and The Arc does a great job of reaching out to the community and educating others.”

She goes on to say that STEP Up has had an extremely positive effect on Ben and herself exclaiming,

“I enjoy being around everybody [at STEP Up] and I love that Ben loves it. He’s made his best friends here!”

Ginny goes on to say that she’s learned so much from being around Ben,

“Because of him I’ve become more patient and kind. And I’m not the only one affected by Ben–anybody who’s around him is instantly happier!”  

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