“A Career for Life” - Vera Mota’s Story
When new Intervenors ask me how long I’ve been in the field of Intervenor Services, I proudly say 15 plus years for many reasons. I was a young adult who wanted some work experience in the field and who still holds a passion for the role.
In January of 2002, I was just finishing my last semester in high school and was accepted into the Social Service Worker Program at Seneca College. As a young teen, I watched a close friend’s family member speak passionately about her career as an intervenor and had many opportunities to meet and interact with an adult with deafblindness. I wanted some work experience in the field but only knew about 10 signs. Soon after I started with DeafBlind Ontario Services (called Independent Living Residences for the Deafblind in Ontario back then), my cousin was born at 20 weeks gestation and was deaf and blind with several medical challenges. My passion to learn sign language and learn about deafblindness increased. I was given many opportunities to learn and grow in many different positions within this organization but was always reminded along that journey that providing Intervenor Services was my true passion and purpose.
Over my 15+ years in the field, I have been given opportunities to learn about client rights, the importance of choice making, promoting independence, slowing down, patience and been challenged with ethical issues. To this day, I can remember every detail, sign, cue and step used to support a client who independently put on his shoes after 45min and the impact, empowerment and joy he got that day from that experience. Seeing the smile on a client’s face after riding a rollercoaster 3 times and hearing them vocalize happy sounds after making their favourite dessert is beyond memorable to me.
Along with all the fun, joyful, empowering and resilient experiences of being an intervenor comes many challenges and also loss. Saying goodbye to incredible clients who taught me how to have fun, enjoy life and to not stress about the little things helped me mature and become a better person and parent. When I entered the field I thought I would be bringing new experiences, skills and joy to the clients I had the pleasure of supporting but it was really the opposite. The clients that I supported brought all those things equally to me and my life and taught me everything I know today. I learned to take in the warmth of the sun and to appreciate all the little things in life like swings, music, good food and the “Macarena”.
My advice to anyone who has a passion for making a difference, helping others reach goals and is who is looking for a rewarding career, consider becoming a intervenor. Bring your advocacy hat, your ability to think outside the box shirt, your passion for fun socks, your enthusiasm to learn tee and grow and learn endless skills with your patience pants as rock star intervenor!