50 Faces of The Arc- Jen

Jen is the first smiling face you see when you visit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus’ administrative office. Jen came to The Arc after hearing about it from an encounter with a former Arc employee while at her last job. She has been the receptionist for The Arc since 2013. Jen says,

“It really sounded like my place of calling and was something I was immediately interested in. And I soon realized it was where I belonged!”

Since being a part of The Arc team, Jen’s eyes were opened to the large amount of people who needed assistance with daily living tasks– but still weren’t getting the support they needed. As a result, she became a self-advocate for those same people with disabilities, saying,

“I began as a public speaker at age 21 when I joined The Brad Kaminsky Foundation for brain cancer research, but began public speaking on behalf of all programs at The Arc after working here.”

Jen, who grew up with complications from a brain trauma at a young age, was misunderstood and isolated growing up. She says,

“Special Education was new in public schools and I had to continually be persistent to receive help. People with disabilities were put out of sight, out of mind.” Jen goes on to explain why advocating now is so important to her, “I can help change people’s understanding of what a disability is, and educate others about how people with disabilities want to be a part of the community too.”

Jen’s passion for The Arc stems from the fact that the campus is so welcoming. She exclaims,

“What is so unique is that The Arc is an environment of acceptance. That is something I have seldom felt in my life, but it is so alive here among the staff, the students, and the families who are a part of this [The Arc’s] community.”

Jen loves working for The Arc so much she comes to campus even after her work shift is over stating,

“Ever since I came to Paxton I’ve become very active in every social activity. I was someone who needed The Arc, who needed a Paxton Campus growing up, and it’s just so fulfilling for me to now, to go to the Next Chapter Book Club, the Speak Up group, or attend the adult dances.”

She also selflessly volunteers her time at most of the on-Campus fundraisers and events, such as Shocktober and Music at the Manor.

In the future, Jen is extremely excited about the Barns of Paxton that will soon house the Advantage Behavior Clinic and the Ability Fitness Center — all for people with disabilities. She exclaims,

“It [The Barns] will be a shuttle rocket to new orbits for Paxton’s students, families and the community affected by disability. People of all abilities will flourish!”

 

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