A day in the life of Bryan Fabert, Instruction and Support Specialist
10:00 a.m. I start my day with a quick trip to the office to read email and get my checklist. That checklist is key. It tells me everything I need to know about my day, including which clients I’m seeing, where to meet them and which of the JFS vehicles I’ll be using. Our work is all about helping people achieve the highest possible quality of life, and that includes empowering them to be as independent as possible. Part of that is helping clients manage their personal finances and mail, so I get petty cash and important mail for the people I’m seeing today.
10:30 a.m. I meet my first client of the day in the group home where she lives. I visit to keep her company. Before arriving, I stopped by a store to grab the snack she requested – a hot dog and soda. While she eats, we sit and chat. She noticed that I have my ukulele with me and asks for me to play a song. I oblige, and a few chords in, some of her neighbors come by to listen. I’m happy my music reaches them and to know my client values our time together.
12:00 p.m. I arrive at my next appointment. We’re going to the YMCA to work out. I like taking clients to the gym because I believe fitness is an important part of overall well-being. I’m glad I’m able to raise their quality of life in this way. This gentleman likes showing me how fast he rides the exercise bike. I sit on the neighboring bike but pedal more slowly. The feeling of winning motivates him, and I feel good that I can help him workout harder.
2:30 p.m. Next up, I go to visit a man who loves to cook. Cooking can be difficult for the people I work with due to limited budgets or illnesses. Yet, being able to take care of themselves in this way is so important for their quality of life. My colleague met him earlier in the week to buy ingredients for the turkey burgers and salad we’ll be making. He and I are talking about cooking safety, so we start by making sure the workspace is clean and our hands are washed. Then, our first step is to chop the salad veggies. I show him how to hold the tomato with his fingers on one side so they’ll be out of the way when we chop. He tries this and does great. Before putting the turkey burger in the pan, we talk about how to make sure meat is cooked. We agree to watch carefully and flip the burger once the bottom is starting to brown. I help him flip the patty every so often to make sure we don’t burn it. Once it’s ready, he sits down to eat, proud he made himself such a great meal.
4:00 p.m. My last meeting of the day is at the library. This woman enjoys reading book reviews and editorials. Today is no exception. She spends the hour looking through the newspapers. On the drive back home, she tells me about what she read and shares her opinions on the news.
5:30 p.m. I stop back by the JFS office to write my notes from the day. I make sure to include information that will be helpful for my coworkers. For example, the guy who loves to cook and I talked about making beef burgers next week, so I ask my coworker who will be taking him shopping to pick up ingredients for that. Before I leave for the day, I take a quick look at tomorrow’s checklist. My first client loves classic rock, so I’ll be sure to practice my Tom Petty songs when I go home tonight. I’m still fairly new to guitar and am so glad that picking it up has given me an additional way to connect with my clients.
By Jenelle Birnbaum
Violinist, hiker and all-around arts nerd Jenelle Birnbaum is the Marketing Coordinator at JFS. Outside of that, she enjoys speaking French and vegan cooking.