February 25, 2022

The Work We Value & the Value of Work

Rebecca Wanatick, Ed.M. Manager, Community Inclusion & Program Services

I love the work that I do! I have been lucky enough to find my passion and be engaged in the field of disability inclusion since I was old enough to volunteer my time. I personally feel nourished each day by the people I meet, the conversations I have, and the places with which I visit and engage.

I also think that my work has a value in contributing toward our community. I have been thinking about this distinction of the work I value and the value of the work I do. There is a distinction and an importance to both – we should each be fulfilled by what we do, and we want our work to have meaning to others.

I believe that every member of our community who wants to should have the opportunity to find their passion, be fulfilled by the work they do, and contribute to community in their own way.

When we think about why we work, the obvious answer might be to earn a salary. There are clear financial benefits to employment, but there is much more than that. When we work, there are also physical and mental health benefits. We grow our skills, build our self-confidence. When we are productive, contributing members, we have a sense of accomplishment and get out into the community. We meet new people, engage with others, and create new social and support networks for ourselves.  Aren’t these all things that we personally experience in our own employment? And shouldn’t they be experiences available to people with disabilities as well?

People with disabilities want to have the same opportunities to be fulfilled by their work and contribute to our community through employment. They want to earn a living, meet new people, get up and out each day, and grow their skills, just like the rest of us.

We are fortunate in our Greater MetroWest community to have a network of Jewish community partners that support and advocate for people with disabilities and their families each day. Agencies like JVS, JESPY, and JSDD provide vocational opportunities, make connections to employment, and support members of our community with a disability in pursuing their employment passions each day.

During Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month, we have highlighted some of our own community members and their employment roles in the community. I hope that you will visit our Inclusive Employment webpage to learn more about their stories.

We are always looking to explore new opportunities for employment. If you are interested in learning more about becoming an inclusive employer, the resources that are available to support you and your employees or to connect with a potential employee, please reach out at rwanatick@jfedgmw.org or (973) 929-3129.