James Olson: Lending a Helping Hand at the Y

As a long-time provider of community outreach, The YMCA of Jefferson County partners with various organizations “to ensure total health of the community in spirit, mind, and body.”  After two years of resource and activity restrictions due to Covid-19, our local YMCA has finally been able to reopen their doors, allowing local residents to utilize the public pool, pickle-ball courts, and family-based programs.

With this increase in activity, the Y was in need of a reliable employee to help maintain the local campus: keeping the courts clean, taking out trash, and sanitizing surfaces. Enter James. Originally from Kennewick, James and his family have been living in Port Townsend since 2010. Looking for ways to stay involved with his community, while earning a valuable income,  James was a perfect match for the YMCA. Now seven months into his job, James tells us what he enjoys most about working at the Y.

How did you get involved with the Y?

James: “My Job Specialist, Shayna Wiseman, found me this job at the YMCA.”

What do you do for the Y?

James: I mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, sweep the pickle-ball courts, sanitize the upper office and the pool rooms, and take the trash out.

What is your favorite part about your job?

James: Favorite part of the job is being around my coworkers, who I enjoy laughing and making jokes with. It feels like one big family there.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

James: I LOVE Prince and Alice Cooper. I love horror movies especially Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I love being with my dog “Princess” and spending time with her at home.

Partnering with Cascade

Our Supported Employment Specialists are always eager and willing to speak with potential community employers. Building these partnerships is key to providing inclusive employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. We are thankful for the YMCA’s commitment to hiring qualified individuals regardless of physical ability, sex, gender or religion.

What role does Cascade play after an individual is hired? 

Our Supported Employment Services are tailored to each individual client and employer, and can vary based on their specific needs, desires, strengths and abilities.

For example, Joshua Bingham, one of our specialists, had this to share regarding his involvement with James’s work at the Y: “I check in on James once a week and see if he might need any supplies, is having trouble clocking in on his phone app, or has questions about the job duties. I also check in with the PT YMCA Site Supervisor to see how James is doing or if there is any new information I need to relay to James.” 

How can a local employer get involved with Cascade?

Joshua Bingham: “Just reach out to us! We have so many wonderful job seekers that are looking for job placements! I am very lucky to work alongside wonderful job coaches!”

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