The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 20, 2014

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Mosaic pieces together purpose

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Today I want to tell you about a man named John — a man I never knew existed until last week. And yet he’s making a difference in my community.

He is an individual served by Mosaic of Southeast Kansas, which also, I learned, is making a difference.

I knew little of Mosaic until its community relations manager, Stephanie Webb, got in touch with me to invite me to a special luncheon called Partners in Progress.

She asked nicely, and as I had no other obligations during that hour, I said yes. I came away, as I’m sure the other hundred or more in the room did, a changed person.

The purpose of the event was to connect leaders in the Pittsburg area community with Mosaic and the individuals it serves.

Mosaic, I learned, serves 138 people with intellectual disabilities in Southeast Kansas, providing them with residential and day service, case management, employment coordination and supported living. It gives the individuals a voice, respect and the chance to pursue dreams.

Through businesses and industries in Coffeyville and Pittsburg, it also employs 160 staff members.

It’s also present in nine other states, represented by 36 agencies, and it has been in existence for 100 years.

The Southeast Kansas agency is in need of funding, however, as more than 20 families are on a waiting list for services. The luncheon kicked off a campaign to find donors to support such efforts.

To illustrate the impact Mosaic is making, Superintendent Ken Robertson of the Pittsburg parks department shared the story of John Elms.

John, now 62, moved to Pittsburg in 2001, when Ken was working on Jaycee Park trying to figure out how to remove rocks from the baseball field.

“It was my lucky day when John approached me,” Ken recalled.

John wanted to work, wanted a purpose. Ken gave him one.

John began looking for rocks, filling a 5-gallon bucket with them and dumping them off the field.

“He smiled like it was the best job in the world,” Ken said.

Working two hours each day, John completed the task in one week.

Ken hired him as a part-time worker soon after.

Now, John works five days a week, two to four hours a day, accompanied by a coach from Mosaic.

“He has a positive attitude, loyalty, a big smile and a willingness to do whatever it takes,” Ken said, prompting the superintendent to keep John on beyond the temporary seasonal status of other part-time employees.

John is thrilled to be earning his own paycheck, Ken said. He tucks it into his shirt pocket and takes it home to share excitedly with his family.

Thirteen years later, Ken said, John continues to be an inspiration to him and other parks department employees.

“We’re friends for life,” Ken said. “I can’t imagine a workday without him. How would the world be if everyone came to work with the same attitude as John?”

How, indeed?

FOLLOW ANDRA STEFANONI on Facebook at facebook.com/andrajournalist and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Gubernatorial hopefuls make area appearances

    Three potential candidates for Missouri governor in 2016 made stops in the Joplin area this past week.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • shoalcreekcleanup.jpg Wildcat Glades center puts on service day at Shoal Creek

    About 20 people on Saturday pulled trash out of Shoal Creek as they paddled in canoes and kayaks from Grand Falls to Zan’s Creekside Campground in Joplin.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearts & Hammers plans annual home repair event

    Since 2003, volunteers with Hearts & Hammers of Southwest Missouri have made free improvements to more than 170 homes owned by the elderly, physically disabled, and single parent or low-income families.

    July 26, 2014

  • Money clouds farm fight

    For much of the summer, while the campaign surrounding “right to farm” has been focused on its impact on “small, family farmers,” the bulk of the money pouring into the fight has come from big agriculture interests.

    July 26, 2014

  • jameswelbornupdate.jpg Local teen completes half of solo river trip

    James Welborn, a recent Webb City High School graduate, has reached the halfway point of his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River — just in time to celebrate his 19th birthday with family.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho police warn residents of phone scam

    The Neosho Police Department has received complaints from residents saying someone impersonating a lieutenant from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office warrants division has been calling them.

    July 26, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter