Jesse Sparkman just celebrated one year of employment at American House Lakeside in Clinton Township, Michigan. An important milestone for anyone in today’s workforce, hitting the one year mark was especially sweet for Jesse and his mother, Karri Haugh-Sparkman.
“I was born with cerebral palsy”, Jessie explained. Doctors didn’t expect Jesse to survive. But at 23 years old, Jesse is living his life without limits and inspiring others to do the same.
After searching for three years, partnering with the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (MORC) to find gainful employment, Jesse had become discouraged when all leads fell flat. Karri remembers having a conversation with her son that opened a new avenue. “Mom, I love being around older people”, she recalls Jesse saying. “I can learn so much from them.” That’s when Karri decided to reach out to American House Senior Living Communities.
Karri made a few phone calls on Jesse’s behalf and before long, he was sitting in the executive director’s office for an interview. Jesse was no stranger to hard work, and knew that he’d be expected to pull his own weight. Karri sat side by side with Jesse during the interview, a little nervous, but proud. Jesse, on the other hand, said, “I knew this job was for me.” Soon after, Jesse received his badge and shirt, and started his first job with American House in Housekeeping Services. (Jesse, pictured right with mom, Karri)
“I really love it here”, Jesse explained. “It’s not just one thing. It’s the people – it’s putting a smile on someone’s face. That does it for me.” Jesse was paired with another employee, Terry, who has helped him along the way, even purchasing a special board to assist in folding laundry. “In whatever he does”, Terry said, “Jesse gives his all.” (Jesse, pictured left, with colleague, Terry)
Karri agrees. “He’s always had such drive and passion” she explained. “I couldn’t just stand by; I had to make things happen for him.” And she did. First, making sure that Jesse was able to earn a spot on his high school’s wrestling team, paving the way for other students with special needs. Then, helping him gain independence and supporting his efforts to find employment. Now Jesse is on yet another mission, pursuing his dream as a hip-hop artist. Although he’s unable to read or write, Jesse is very articulate and, with the help of the DMAN Foundation, is using his voice to encourage and inspire anyone who will listen.
Like any other young man his age, Jesse is busy. When he isn’t working, he’s either at the studio or hanging out with friends. He’s made “life without limits” his mantra and shares his story openly. “Don’t let anything hold you back” he said. “There’s always something that you can contribute.”
Simply stated- yet profound. We are so grateful to count Jesse among our American House Family.