by Pam Borum, Individualized Community Services DSP
When I started at Hammer seven years ago, I already knew that I enjoyed working with people. What I did not realize is that I would experience so many pure souls. I have seen many stages of life, from the excitement when an individual comes to live at Hammer to the peaceful end of days when we care for the individual as they pass on.
I have had the pleasure of working at a group home, apartment program, and the Individualized Community Services (ICS) department. Wherever I go, I am greeted with smiles and hugs. It is like nothing I have ever experienced. There is such a pureness and simpleness joy to the happiness.
I have felt part of a circle of love, laughter, and camaraderie. I figured out that humor can work really well in so many situations. One day I was getting three gentlemen ready to leave for the Day Program and I could not find one individual. After completely (I thought) searching the entire house, I thought I had lost him or he ran away. I finally looked in the cleaning closet and there he was, patiently waiting, standing with a broom “riding his horse”. I opened the door and he came trotting out. I laughed in relief, glad I did not have to report a missing person!
Another individual I supported always called me “Bert” when she saw me and then I would call her “Ernie” back. I do not remember how it started, but we joked for years until she passed away. A different individual would refuse to get out of my car after outings, determined to come home with me that day. I have thoroughly encouraged practical jokes and my ICS individuals have gotten me many times by making me jump as they come around a corner or tapping on my car window.
If I missed an exit while driving, one lady would say with glee, “road trip”! I was recently even able to encourage an individual on a Hammer trip to ride a jet ski for the first time in her life and she loved it. Her brother drove, she rode in the middle and I was in the back. What an incredible day for all of us.
I thought I was the one giving to others, but they have given me so much in return. I have learned a new level of patience I did not know I had.
Hammer Travel has brought me joyful times and I am so glad to see how happy it makes individuals to travel and experience new sights and sounds. I am so in awe of how caring Hammer staff are. They are such a compassionate group of people that I am so proud to have worked with.
Thank you to all the beautiful souls who have touched my life and my heart. I am forever grateful.
If you would like to learn more about being part of Hammer, visit Hammer.org/careers