Grant Waldron wears two hats at Abilities United, and both hats help put people with disabilities on the road to independence.

Grant spends half the day in the Adult Day Activities program working with individuals who aren’t ready to work or live independently, but who want to learn new social, recreational and vocational skills. Grant primarily works with individuals in the Community Connections volunteer group, who volunteer each day at any one of 40 local nonprofits and other organizations.  As the name implies, through these activities they indeed connect with the community, and learn administrative, maintenance, cleaning, plant care, and animal care skills that they can utilize in other aspects of their lives. “We’ll go out and clean chicken coops, cleanup at the park, and provide other volunteer services,” Grant says. “Each person is so excited, and so proud, to give back to the community.”

The other half of his day is spent with the Independent Living Skills program, where individuals learn life skills needed to live with a greater degree of independence. “I’m so proud of the people I work with,” Grant says. “One of the participants used to be so introverted that I literally couldn’t get a word out of him, but now he’s calling me all the time and – get this – singing in a choir!”

Grant has been at Abilities United for twelve years, and is very proud of the agency’s success. “Local case managers want to place their clients here at Abilities United; they see us as the model for how other agencies should be run.”

Grant is inspired not just by Abilities United, but by the participants as well. “Many of them are so full of happiness and love. Each day I go to work and get hugs! How great is that?”

Based on an interview with Grant Waldroni in 2012. Written by Bob Thomas. Edited by Grant Waldron and Wendy Kuehnl.