Do you need some inspiration? Spend a moment with Joshua Miller. No mask made by man or machine can cover Josh’s radiant smile, which is seen through his eyes and heard in his voice.
Josh, who recently described himself as “the same happy- go- lucky Joshua Miller,” participates in our Employment Services Program. With the assistance of his job coach Brian Roman, Josh has worked at the same elementary school in Albany for almost 15 years. He began as a Lunchroom Attendant and over time was given additional hours and expanded job opportunities. His was given the responsibility of training new hires and helped operate the “school store” on Fridays, giving out prizes to students who have excelled academically. This was, of course, until COVID- 19 shut down the schools.
Josh said that time was “nerve wracking because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I kept my sanity by striving to be courageous and cheerful.” Josh has spent his time during the past few months going for walks and spending his time thinking, calibrating, and focusing on what matters to him most, which for Josh, who is a youth minister at his church, is staying in tune with God.
A natural motivational speaker, Josh’s mission in life lies in “helping people who need help,” with a specific passion for guiding people with disabilities. As an individual with disabilities himself, Josh has a passion for putting others under his wing, guiding them through difficult times and easing their journey. Josh finds his inspiration in spreading joy and lifting people up when they are down. Although he keeps a healthy physical distance from people, he still succeeds in connecting with them, predominately through Facebook Live and Zoom conferences.
Josh is looking forward to September, and is “super excited about getting back to work.” His job coach Brian told us that the current plan for the school where Josh works is that the children will be eating in the classroom. Josh will be working the same hours he did last year, the only change will likely be, instead of working in the cafeteria, he will be assigned classrooms where he will assist. In addition, Josh would love to increase role as an advocate for others with disabilities.
Josh says the upcoming year is, in his words, “going to be phenomenal!” Adding, “It makes me feel great that I have been at the school for 15 years. A lot of stuff is changing but I still love what I do! There’s nothing else I would rather do but to help out as much as possible.”