“I love these babies, and they are loving me.” With these words, Izzy gleefully comforts several infants in the Atrium Family YMCA Early Learning Center where she works the noon to 6 PM shift five days a week. After doing this job for four years, Izzy feels that she is doing the work she wants to do. She plans to continue working in the daycare field for the foreseeable future.
Izzy’s first year of Project LIFE began in 2012, with Mollie McIntosh as her instructor. She remembers this year fondly, especially the class trip to Washington DC to view the presidential inauguration ceremony. She then continued strengthening her employment skills with a second Project LIFE year and a final Project SEARCH year, both under the coordination of Katie Fancher. While in Project LIFE, Izzy spent one rotation at the East Butler County Family YMCA where she got her first experiences with their childcare programs. Later, in Project SEARCH, she worked a rotation at the Atrium YMCA, which eventually led to her landing her current job. Izzy says she learned a lot at Project LIFE and Project SEARCH about keeping a job, making friends, and staying calm, patient, and present. According to her current coworkers, she puts these skills to daily use with the newborns and infants under her care.
Izzy says she has had to learn to overcome her own disability through self-advocacy. Her advice for current Project LIFE and Project SEARCH interns is to avoid using your disability as a crutch. “Stop using it as an excuse, and start embracing it.” Izzy is a living example of this as she highlights her personal strengths every day while doing what she loves.