Coaching for Life

Susan has been employee at Cares of Washington for over two years.

I’ve always wanted to help people in some way. I didn’t know what that really meant until my son was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age. To say it was challenging was an understatement. Though it prepared me in a way I would not understand until he was older. Even though I had friends adopt children with special needs, I had no idea what it meant to raise a child with ADHD. It took a little time, but my solution was to not treat him any differently unless I needed to. This was the beginning of my journey to becoming an employment support professional.

I began volunteering in my kid’s school and being drawn to the children with different needs. As my children grew, I began to look at re-entering the work world. I continued to volunteer and loved it! When an opportunity to apply to work with special needs kids one to one appeared, I took it. I found joy and satisfaction in using my love of children and wanting to help others as a vehicle to make a difference, even if it was small, and I saw tangible results daily.

Three years ago, I relocated to Washington State with my kids. I wasn’t sure which direction this passion would take me and 7 months after moving here, I submitted my resume to Cares of Washington. I was hired within a week and hit the ground running! I shadowed the woman I was replacing and learned quickly that this support was not all that different from the support I gave to students; however, with that said, I found a new passion and joy! I began working with adults and found that same satisfaction of making a difference and forming wonderful relationships along the way. I feel the connections we make with the people we serve and their support systems are the key to serving and making a tangible difference.  

When a participant gets a job, the whole world opens up for them! They have access to the same benefits of working that we all have. This work is empowering, rewarding, and brings me a sense of community. We all want to be a part of a community and working at Cares gives me the chance to help others realize that need. What drew me and keeps me with Cares is that relationship with the people we serve. I am privileged to work with others like me who care about people and want to help them succeed.

Susan with her son (pictured above).

Susan with her son (pictured above).

Susan Whitelock