As the activities coordinator for CareMeridian in Garden Grove, California, Jesus works closely with individuals with brain injury and other challenges to help them embrace their therapy. His guiding principle is to build a sense of trust with the individuals he supports so they know they can count on him to help them through any challenge.
“Jesus has a talent for connecting with people,” said Aida Torres, director of nursing at Garden Grove and Jesus’s nominator. “The people we serve have catastrophic injuries. Some are depressed and emotionally shut down, but he motivates them.”
Jesus assists participants, most of whom spend much of their time in a bed or wheelchair, with activities of daily living such as cooking and gardening, as well as community outings to shop, or attend a sporting event or movie. His infectious smile, good humor and positive energy are often as instrumental in an individual’s progress as his skills, which are derived from decades of work helping others. Jesus’s mother was a nursing home administrator and Jesus started volunteering with her at a young age. He transitioned into similar work in adulthood. Today as a volunteer, Jesus coaches for the American Youth Soccer Organization’s Very Important Player (VIP) program, enabling players with a wide range of challenges, including developmental disabilities, blindness and mobility challenges, to play soccer in a supportive environment.
“I love to see people smile,” said Jesus. “We all deserve to have a wonderful day. The most important thing I can do for the people we serve is to keep them moving forward in life.”