Jonny has been working at The Arc of Loudoun for the past three years, where started as a member of STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment Program); a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. He is now the Facilities Assistant for the entire campus! His supervisor, Greg, describes Jonny as goofy, honest and empathetic.
“He’s my right hand man– I don’t know what I’d do without his help,” he says. “He’ll also do his best to pick you up when you’re feeling down and makes everybody feel good about themselves.”
At The Arc, Jonny works three times a week where his specializes in landscaping.
“He loves lawn mowing,” says Greg, “but he’ll also do gardening, weeding, painting–he’s versatile in many different skills. And if he doesn’t know how to do it, he can learn very quickly by just watching.”
When Jonny’s not working, he loves to act, sing, and dance– any form of self expression he enjoys. Greg says he and Jonny have volunteered as actors for the past three years in The Arc’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Shocktober, where thousands of people come to walk through the haunted Paxton Manor for a good scare. Greg says,
“Oh, he loves Shocktober! All year he’s asking about it, and he just loves to scare people.”
Greg explains that places like The Arc are so important for people like Jonny because it gives him job experience and legitimate references,
“We give Jonny the freedom to make mistakes, but also to learn from them. Some people will give him a job, but be on his back all day. Not here, we give him that independence.”
Greg goes on to say that Jonny’s future goal is to have a full time job,
“He wants to work every day, all the time, just like you and me. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t enjoy working with him. He’s really a stand up young man!”