“What I appreciate most,” says Jan Mosher about HCO, “is that the mission is naturally a part of the lives of all those who give services and those who receive services.” She adds that it seems that the mission stays with people even after they have left the agency to go on to other opportunities. “We gain so much as individuals on both sides, givers and receivers. It’s almost a symbiotic relationship among everyone with the agency.”
Jan has been on HCO’s Board of Directors since 2004, and serves on the Human Rights, Policy, Quality Assurance, Nominating, and Grassroots committees. She became involved with HCO through her son, Brock.
Jan and her husband, Tom, adopted Brock in 1984, when he was 4 years old, to join their son Dan. They consequently adopted another son, Josh, a year later. Brock had developmental difficulties from the beginning, which Jan and Tom knew about well before their first meeting with him. Brock had been evaluated by a healthcare agency that specialized in childhood health problems, and they had predicted that he wouldn’t be able to bond, go to school, or hold a job, and recommended that he be put in an institution. “How do you tell a 4-year-old he has no future? No hope?” Jan asked. They felt that when they met with a prospective adopted child, it should not be an “if we adopt you,” but a “we are going to adopt you, and we are going to figure out how to make it work.” So, Brock joined their family.
The healthcare facility that evaluated Brock 35 years ago would be amazed at what Brock and his family have accomplished! Brock graduated from high school in 1999. Three years later, he became affiliated with HCO through the Saehler program and also began working at ORC. It was at ORC that he heard that there was a vacancy at the Iverson Court Apartment Complex. On his own, he called Iverson and put his name in for consideration. Jan and Tom were surprised and nervous. They had assumed that at some point Brock would want more independence but thought the transition would happen more slowly. They began to work with Brock to prepare him for the move. They knew that in order to be successful at independent living, he would have to get better at life skills such as cooking, laundry, and cleaning house. He worked hard at developing these necessary skills and successfully made the move.
Brock’s next life change was when he met Nicole and fell in love. They planned their 2009 wedding themselves, with some organizational guidance from their mothers who suggested they make a notebook outlining all the details they must address. They met with all the wedding vendors, and at least two of the providers were hired because Brock and Nicole were so impressed with their accommodations for the fact that Nicole had difficulty walking. One even brought a chair out of the office and put it on the sidewalk so Nicole could sit down while they waited for a taxi. Jan says that the couple is grateful to have found each other and for all the people who help them in big and little ways through life. They even sent wedding invitations to all the bus drivers and cab drivers who help them navigate around the community – and almost all of them attended. Brock and Nicole, who also receives HCO services, live in an apartment at Iverson Court where Nicole had been living.
Brock now works at Ocean Sushi, and Jan says the manager is wonderful about making things easier for him. Brock and Nicole are both involved with the HCO’s Grassroots Advocacy group, as is Jan. Despite doctor’s expectations, Brock went to school, has a job, and has formed strong emotional bonds. As Jan says, “It’s been an exciting ride!” She believes that being involved with HCO has helped not only Brock, but her whole family to look for ways to set a dream and accomplish goals by working together.
It is obvious from Jan’s enthusiasm for HCO that she is a great supporter of the agency. Jan spent her life in social services and teaching and is impressed by how everyone at HCO is totally invested in the agency – not only working here, but volunteering to make it the best place possible. She believes that anyone who is a part of the HCO culture is changed by the agency ethic and values system – caregivers and recipients alike – that they gain a better understanding of society and gain empathy for those who struggle in life.
“Just think,” she says, “how much better they will be as employees and bosses. Think of the personal growth opportunities HCO offers, the challenge to stretch yourself.”
As a parent, Jan appreciates how HCO self-evaluates, engages in strategic planning, sets goals, and is flexible enough to accommodate the constantly changing regulations. She points out that she will always be involved in her son’s life, guiding him in areas of judgement, understanding reality, and the need to be part of the team. In all this, she is helped by all the people on the HCO team. She calls the agency a “stable community resource, with a visible economic impact on the community.” HCO’s individuals and staff work and pay taxes in the community, invest in real estate, and buy goods and services here. This is not even taking into account the role HCO plays in giving people so many ways to live active, safe lives.
Jan doesn’t believe that there is anyone who can watch HCO’s plays or see people in the community who aren’t impressed by the abilities of those HCO serves. People can see the impact when individuals with disabilities actively participate in the community, rather than living in institutions. They are moving towards a better future.
“They have to see that we can’t close doors,” Jan says. “We have to see what doors people are looking at, and help them open those doors.”