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CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Dawson shines at the Venice YMCA
By Christine Call
VENICE — Bobby Dawson works at the Venice YMCA. As a veteran employee with 17 years in the maintenance department, he folds towels, fills spray bottles with disinfectant, wipes down the exercise equipment and vacuums the building both upstairs and downstairs.
“I like this job the best. I like my boss, because he’s good to me, Dawson said. “People like me, and I get along with everyone.”
Dawson is a client at Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Brad Daily is the wellness director and Dawson’s supervisor.
“Bobby has a smile on his face 95 percent of the time. The other five percent is when he is focused on completing a task at hand,” Daily said. “We enjoy Bobby’s wonderful personality and laughter. He’s also a great salesman when it comes time for fundraising.”
Daily added they are working with Dawson to gain more strength. “Bobby is great at solving mechanical issues that he is used to working with. As he gains strength he will also be able to physically solve these issues.”
Dawson enjoys having extra money for food, eating at Applebee’s, hanging out with his friends, and watching football when he’s not working. He also enjoys watching the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Buccaneers.
Melissa Mazaeda is Dawson’s support coordinator, and she’s very proud of Dawson. He’s integrated into the community. He usually rides his bike around town, but uses the door-to-door bus to go to work and to the Loveland Adult Day Training Program on Thursdays.
“Bobby lives in his own place with a roommate and lives his life on his terms,” Mazaeda said. “He’s a hard worker, has a great attitude, and is a good role model because he’s always positive.” Mazaeda added that Dawson comes from a very close family and he’s an example of how much is possible with a good support system.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).