When you’re a free spirit, like I am, you never expect to find somewhere that gives you the warm fuzzies when you clock in every day. You never think you’ll find your “forever home”somewhere you can plant your roots, and make a difference. But thankfully, I finally did.

When I first started, I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d like it or if I would even stay long-term. I was giving it a “try” after years of hearing my mom and sister tell me I’d be really great in this line of work, but I had always doubted myself. Healthcare? Working with adults with developmental and physical disabilities? Me? Are you sure?

RELATED: Going To Work Makes Me Happy

Let me tell you, I am so glad that I made the leap. I never could have imagined how quickly I would fall in love with these beautiful people. Seeing their smiling faces every single morning, having them greet me just as quickly as I greet them, having them run up to me with their newest art project or accomplishment, and being able to witness their growth has been something I didn’t know I needed.

While many people believe that disability means they are limited or incapable, that is simply not the case. Some of the most artistically capable people I’ve ever met are in our center. One of the most passionate dancers I’ve ever seen breaks it down on the dance floor every chance he gets. A lady who is completely blind can navigate my bus better than most people. And although starting into dementia, one of the most loving old men ever will surely remember a “pretty face” when you walk into the room.

RELATED: God Bless the Caretakers

Being in this line of work has taught me there is beauty at every single turn. It has taught me that disability means “capable in different ways.” It has taught me that life is truly a gift if you just open your eyes. And most importantly, it’s taught me that people you didn’t know four months ago can be some of the people you love the most.

So while they may need me to eat, help with art projects, walk, go to the restroom, and advocate for their rights . . . I need them as much as they need me.

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Ashley Flores-Pabon

My name is Ashley, and I'm a mother of one beautiful baby boy and a wife now for almost two years now. My biggest passions are my son, my family, and writing. I'm currently a stay at home mom and back in college studying Communications.

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