Passion for Community
At the age of 14, Jason underwent surgery to remove two brain tumors, which was followed by chemotherapy and an extensive stay in the hospital for several months. Wanting to become more involved with his community, Jason enrolled in the Community Partners program in 2012. Jason has a passion for volunteering and helping others; he has volunteered at a local food bank and Meals on Wheels, served as chairman of the Lion’s Club, and has been involved with events at his local Croatian Club.
Due to ongoing health concerns as a result of his cancer treatments, Jason was not as active in his community as he was in the past. He was anxious to begin setting goals with his Community Partner to apply for the programs and services he needed to get back into the community. Jason and his Community Partner established two goals so he could become more active in the community: apply for and utilize ACCESS Transportation and obtain of a volunteer position.
Previously, Jason had applied for ACCESS, but was denied. With his Community Partner, Jason worked to resubmit the application. His Community Partner was able to explain the questions, if necessary, and was also able to assist Jason in choosing the best possible answers on the application, so the ACCESS Office could best understand his need for transportation services. In addition to assisting Jason with the actual application, Community Partners helped him compile a full summary of his medical history and diagnoses from several different doctors and medical providers, which was necessary for the application. When asked to complete the interview with ACCESS, Jason and his Community Partner attended the interview together to ensure Jason was able to fully understand the questions and able to convey his answers to the interviewer. Within three months of resubmitting the application, Jason was approved for ACCESS and his goal became to learn how to best utilize his ACCESS membership. Jason and his Community Partner developed different strategies to build his confidence in using the ACCESS System. These strategies included learning how to use the e-purse system and creating a logbook to track all of the information needed to schedule rides with ease such as the destination address, phone number, and the date and time of his pick-up. Through this added confidence, Jason has shown a steady willingness to travel and is able to do so independently in the community.
Another of Jason’s goals was to obtain a volunteer position. After researching options with his Community Partner, Jason decided that Hillman Cancer Center would be a perfect opportunity for him. As a patient, Jason was familiar with the facility and wanted to give back to the place that was able to support and care for him over the years. Community Partners assisted him with preparing a resume, completing a volunteer application, and practicing possible questions for the interview process. Jason was offered the position. As part of his volunteer duties, Jason interacts with cancer patients by providing emotional support and mentoring. He has expressed that he feels as if his experience with cancer helps him in providing support to others, as ‘he has been there’ and knows what they are going through.
Within the time Jason has been with Community Partners, he has grown increasingly confident in his steps toward independence. Jason believes he can make an impact in not only his own life, but in the lives of others. While continuing to work with Community Partners, this belief continues to motivate Jason. Now in his thirties, Jason is cancer free and resides with his grandmother in McKeesport.