For 25 years now, The Arc of Alameda County has teamed up with the City of Pleasanton to provide Arc clients – people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – the opportunity for some on-the-job training by washing Pleasanton’s maintenance vehicles. Over the quarter century, the Arc workers have done such a great job that just recently they picked-up an additional gig; washing command vehicles for Pleasanton’s Firehouse #1.
We Learn a Lot
Chris Rosolli is with Pleasanton’s Public Works Department. He says having Arc clients on site is good for the clients and good for the city but he likes having us around for another reason. “Your clients teach us more than I think even you realize,” Rosolli says. He explained that before the Arc, many of his staff had never been around individuals with a developmental disability. Now working with, and in many cases becoming friends with, Arc clients, Rosolli says his employees understand that not all disabilities are the same and are learning that being born with an impairment doesn’t stop our folks from getting excited and motivated every day!
Pride in their Work
“Your guys come into work and take such pride in their jobs,” says Rosolli, “and that is definitely a morale boost for our employees.” He says the city employees noticed that Arc clients tend to see the good in even the smallest things and have started adopting that same attitude. He says the city workers are learning patience, awareness, and for some, how to be comfortable around individuals who are different than they are – “a huge life lesson,” says Chris. He also says that one of the traits he admires most about our clients, aside from their work ethic, is that they tell the truth adding that Arc clients demonstrate more kindness and willingness to give than just about anyone he has ever met. And “not just to their job,” he says, “but to others.” On a personal level he says being around our clients is inspiring him to be a better man.
The Battle of the Budget
His feeling about the program and the people we serve is a familiar story. Even the fact that Pleasanton’s Public works Department had to fight hard to keep the program is familiar – it’s happened in Livermore, Union City, and Oakland as well. A few years back due to budget constraints the Public Works Department was faced with a major cutback of employees and programs but Chris said at the time that when it came to the Arc “the benefit is greater than the cost and we are going to do everything in our power to keep this going! And we did! That is how strongly we feel about our ‘Car Wash Kids.” (as they guys in the yard call them)
Pleasanton Likes Us – They Really Like Us
Rosolli says he can’t begin to describe the level of appreciation he has for the Arc workers. “Your clients are amazing,” he said, “they are kind and giving, they are helpful and follow directions, but most important, they are grateful! And you don’t see that much anymore. We love the Arc!”
And we love the City of Pleasanton.