Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, October 3, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 14

THE CONVERSATIONS.. Talking About The Things That Are On Our Mind


 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 3, 2020 




 Jeannette Espinoza is 
an Independent Living Skills 
Instructor with brightly colored 
red hair which reaches half-way 
down her shoulders. I say “How 
do you do it? You look like 
you’re always enjoying yourself.” 
She says “I love my job!” As 
an Independent Living Skills 
Instructor” she provides services 
to disabled adults who receive 
Social Security payments (SSA). 
Her specific duties are to assist 
with transportation to medical 
appointments and pharmacies. 
She helps her clients by sorting 
their medications and stays in 
constant contact with them 
so they do not skip taking 
their pills. If her client has an 
operation, she will be there for 
them. She helps with their grocery 
shopping, and reminds them 
about personal hygiene. She tries 
as hard as she can to make her 
clients happy, and healthy, and 
to be sure that they are not being 
taken advantage of. She describes 
herself as often acting like a Court 
Jester, doing anything, “to put a 
smile in their hearts.”

 One of the great advantages of her position, she says, is that her relationship with 
her clients is often long term. She has known some clients for a decade or more. Successes 
in these relationships is observable in “baby-steps” as she sees them improve “little by little” 
as they become less isolated or depressed and willing to utilize resources that are available. 
Of course, at this time during the pandemic most of these resources are not functioning and 
it is very tough on her clients. She admits to bonding with her clients and seriously cares 
about their welfare and their future. This, despite the fact, that her supervisors emphasize 
that no personal attachment should be formed with her “consumers”. Frankly, she says this is 
impossible and that a big part of her job is caring. She emphasizes to me that she does not act 
as a “parent” but rather as resource of support. She informs her clients about resources or jobs 
but has no authority to direct her clients to do anything. 

 Jeanette’s journey to becoming an Independent Skills Instructor was unusual. Her 
early ambition was to be a game warden. She loves the outdoors and animals. Growing up she 
went camping, hunting, and fishing with her parents. Police work was also of interest, and she 
described the duties of a game warden like a police person in the forest. So at age thirty, as her 
sons were old enough to allow her to go to College, she began taking courses to prepare for 
this position when she was involved in a terrible auto accident. 

 She knew her injuries would make it impossible for her to pass the physical 
requirements to be a policemen or a game warden. Still she wanted to be of help and could 
not imagine working in an office. As a part of her recovery she became involved in tai chi and 
later taught classes. When she was finally able she became a volunteer at Senior Centers and 
Schools for ten years. Fortunately, her sister became a supervisor within the ILSI program 
and directed Jeanette to the classes necessary to qualify for the position. She also explained 
that most of her skills result from On the Job Training which has taught her never to preach 
to people and by all means to treat her clients with respect and to likewise expect to be treated 
with respect. In her thirteen years on the job she has rarely felt that her relationship with 
a client was not positive and on those rare occasions she has requested that the client be 
provided with another worker.

 I learned from this interview that one of the keys to satisfaction is to recognize early 
what your interests are and to adapt to the inevitable obstacles that appear but to not lose sight 
of what you want to do. It is not the salary or the prestige of a job that is important but rather 
how that job coincides with your own vision of yourself. 

President Trump’s announcement early Friday that he had contracted the coronavirus upended 
the presidential race in an instant, inviting significant questions about his cavalier attitude toward 
the pan-demic and the future of his campaign just 32 days before the election.

Mr. Trump had already been trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the polls, in part because of his mishandling 
of a virus that has unsettled the day-to-day lives of voters for over six months. The president 
com-pounded his difficulties by disregarding and at times belittling the basic precautions, such 
as wearing a mask, that his health advisers were urging Americans to take to protect themselves.

Now, though, his personal indifference toward the virus could threaten his own health, the stability 
of the country and his already dimming hopes for re-election.

Strategists in both parties and even senior aides to Mr. Trump said the president would face a 
harsh judgment from voters for throwing the country into greater uncertainty after one of the 
most trying years in American history.

JB, Sierra Madre

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