By Jay Katz, Field Ombudsman
To say the least, I was apprehensive about facing retirement. I had 40 years behind me….working in a wonderful, social-work position serving individuals with developmental disabilities. It was uplifting, purposeful, and important.
Thank goodness Ombudsman Services was there for my post-job life. As a volunteer, from day-one, I was blown-away by the staff’s dedication and abilities. As you probably know, that is not “a given” in the services-field, which is a major part of what Ombudsman volunteers and staff have to face in the community…some abusing-situations that we find are not always criminal, but still constitute major consideration.
Still, sometimes I have to take-pause and remind myself that the actions I’m taking are impacting many lives…including caregivers. My observations are not always so clear, and I must be responsible and objective to all parties. Therefore, my advocacy-role, and desire to take meaningful action for the residents, needs to be approached with an awareness of its huge impact on many people.
But qualities such as work-ethic, going above-and-beyond the norm, tenacity, and pride-in-work” is what you experience with the Ombudsman staff on a daily basis. Of course, we would wish that these qualities were seen with the staff of all homes, day-programs, hospitals, and social work agencies. Unfortunately, “adequate” is often what we encounter….for the populations we serve, that is unacceptable.
“Us volunteers” come from so many different arenas, and each of us has “their niche”. I know what my strengths are, and I sure know my limitations. When I look at our group of volunteers, I am so envious of all of your skills and knowledge. I think that’s a huge part of our success as an agency. We all contribute in different ways, and relish in sharing our knowledge ……as well as when we are challenged. This team-concept with the staff is off-the-charts important. And it’s great that we can use our “niches” is so effectively.
Again, the comradery that exists with Ombudsman Services of San Mateo is unique and very special. We are lucky to be part of it. It starts with the leadership, and wonderfully flows through to everyone involved. I love the fact that, with each idea or concern or proposal from every single volunteer, that ‘thought’ is given highest level of consideration. We all gain, and ultimately, the people we serve benefit from that special team-work.