Yolanda Photoby Gabe Taylor


Working as a caregiver for The Independence Center can be a difficult but rewarding job for those who find joy in helping people with disabilities. For many, making the decision to become a caregiver is based on the search for a fulfilling and stable career. For others, the decision can be because they feel an obligation or desire to help a loved-one with a disability. In both cases, the on-the-road and in-home work environments can be very different than the traditional office environment that some are used to.

With the majority of employees at The IC working in locations away from the main office, sometimes it’s hard for them to get an idea what it’s like here. Yolanda Ruiz, who has worked at The IC for a year and a half, and as a caregiver for the majority of that time, has had just that opportunity. Ruiz, who was the primary caregiver for her mother-in-law, transitioned to working in the office at The IC after her mother-in-law passed away this past October. With The IC’s expansion into the Spanish speaking community, Ruiz was a perfect fit with her background as a licensed practical nurse and fluency in Spanish. Since starting her new role, Ruiz’s main focus has been translating training and testing materials used at The IC from English to Spanish. When I ask her what she thinks of the work, she tells me “I feel proud. I feel so helpful for doing this.” I can tell by the way she smiles that she loves what she does – it really shows.

When discussing her experience working at The IC and the impact it has had on her, Ruiz says “It’s been an amazing experience”. She goes on to tell me “When you’re out there in the field, you don’t imagine how hard people at the office work.” She is especially impressed to see how well people communicate and work together to find solutions to tough problems. She tells me that all around, her experiences here have been wonderful, especially the people who are all so friendly and caring. She’s made many new friends and learned valuable skills, but most of all she has earned an appreciation for the other side of The IC that she didn’t know working as a caregiver.