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“Exactly Where I Need to Be”

Anna Fon joins the Joseph Maley Foundation as a Program Associate. In her first weeks working with new colleagues and puppeteers, she says she is, “exactly where I need to be.”

To put it simply, why JMF?

I knew I wanted to be a part of the Joseph Maley Foundation as soon as I talked to Vivian. She was so passionate about everything that she was describing to me and I just knew that working with all these loving people and families is exactly where I need to be.

How does this job differ from previous experiences you may have had?

I have had different jobs in the last ten years, mostly retail and customer service. This one has some similarities but is a lot more personal. JMF makes sure that every person we reach receives all the help we can possibly give. That’s definitely something I love about this place so far.

Anything unexpected at JMF so far?

Nothing unexpected so far. Still just trying to figure everything out!

How would you describe the work environment at JMF?

Loving. Everyone is so helpful and kind and will answer all the questions you may have at any time and will sit down with you and make sure you understand everything, no matter how long it may take.

JMF’s mission statement is intentionally broad. Where do you think your position fits into the mission, “serving children of all abilities?”

I work primarily with the Joseph Maley Friends Puppet Troupe; I love the puppets! I think they are so unique and are definitely something children remember and can relate to. I get to work with so many talented students who are behind the scenes as puppeteers.  Their special characteristics really come to life when they put on their shows. The love they bring out through the puppets definitely goes out into the crowd and spreads awareness of everyone’s abilities and that is just something that I really enjoy witnessing.

How do you, personally, fulfill the mission statement of JMF?

I try my best to be accepting of all people. Everyone has their own story. And that is the same with their abilities. Everyone is unique and I think it is very important to show that. If you start showing children that people do things differently and in their own special way we could change so many ways of thinking. It’s just important to support and understand as best you can that everyone is special.

What were you doing before JMF?

I was working at St. Malachy School as the kindergarten aide. I worked with students who may have needed a bit more time or different explanations of certain topics being discussed or taught in the classroom. It was so much fun!

What were you looking forward to when starting this job? Afraid of?

My answer would be the same for both of those questions. Starting something new was a big step and I jumped out of my comfort zone because I knew that this was something I needed to try. It has definitely been a wonderful decision so far.

What did you think of the JMF Run, Walk, Roll?

It was great! I had been a participant in events like this before. (I walked.. I don’t run.) I love how everyone puts their heart into the event to make it so special for everyone.

What are some unique challenges to working at JMF?

Learning about all the puppets was a unique challenge for me. It was just interesting to learn about all their characteristics and abilities. I never thought I would be taking notes about the lives of puppets!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you to all of the people who are involved with JMF. You all have been so welcoming and helpful. Everyone really truly cares about everything we do and stand for here. It is a true pleasure to work with all of you!

Interview by Gino Maley

Loyola University Chicago

Joseph Maley Foundation Board of Directors