Meet Matt Roach: Senior Job Coach at Bancroft

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Matt Roach is a Senior Job Coach in Bancroft’s Adult Employment Program. In the three years he’s been with the organization, Matt has become an invaluable resource and mentor for both Bancroft colleagues and the adults he supports and their families. His diverse background –which includes teaching, management and direct care – enables Matt to bring immense depth and breadth to the program and provides the adults with whom he works the opportunity to develop and strengthen a host of on-the-job skills.

In July 2016, Matt graduated from the South Jersey Summer Institute for Educators program, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey. The program introduced educators to regional businesses and provided a resource network to better prepare individuals for future employment – another accomplishment that enables Matt to elevate Bancroft’s robust adult programs.

Matt’s unmatched dedication to the adults he supports – especially his Maggie’s Farm crew, “Team Tomatoes,” provides him with a unique perspective on what makes working at Bancroft such an incredible experience.

Why do you love Bancroft?

I’ve been in the workforce more than three decades (please, don’t do the math!) and can honestly say this has been my best professional experience. Bancroft has opened so many doors for me, and ultimately, the adults in my program, by encouraging creativity and fostering growth. Every day, I come to work knowing I’ll be motivated and challenged, and l know I’ll make a positive impact in someone’s life – what could be better?

Favorite Bancroft memory?

In March 2016, members of Team Tomatoes – a crew of talented gardeners in our Adult Employment Program – presented a workshop, “Organic Farming Made Easy,” at the Cherry Hill Public Library. I worked with the team for two months in advance of the event. They selected audio and visual supports, contributed to the content and sharpened their public speaking and listening skills. When the night came, they nailed it! I nearly burst with pride!

The event is one of my favorite Bancroft memories, because we proved – to an audience comprised of the general public – that the adults in our programs have abilities, not disabilities. The individuals I work with have diverse talents. They’re funny, creative, talented, stubborn – just like you and me.

What do you find most rewarding about the work you do?

That’s easy! The most rewarding part of my job is watching individuals truly succeed and soar. I’m fortunate to have a part in helping these adults not simply accomplish daily tasks, but to genuinely identify their interests, passions and talents and thrive in their communities. It’s amazing!

What might surprise someone about your work with Bancroft?

It may surprise someone to learn the most important part of my job is not in my job description or on my resume. I’m a job coach, so of course I teach my team day-to-day functional skills. But the bigger picture things – business outreach, identifying and preparing for those special opportunities such as the Cherry Hill Library presentation – these are the reasons I come to work every day. Beyond my job on paper, I’m personally committed to ensuring the individuals who rely on me have access to opportunities they never imagined far beyond job training.

What would you like the public to know about the adults Bancroft serves?

This is so important. The adults in our programs have abilities – preferences, interests and immense talents! Bancroft serves individuals with “disabilities,” (I’m purposely quoting that word), but I’d love for the public – especially potential employers – to know these men and women have so much to offer their communities. As advocates and educators, our job is to hold them accountable and help them soar.

What do you love to do when you’re not helping the adults in Bancroft’s programs develop and strengthen job skills?

When I’m not at Bancroft, you’ll most often find me spending quality time with my girlfriend and adult stepchildren. Also, I’m a sports and fitness fanatic and love tennis, cycling and soccer – it keeps me young and able to keep up with the Tomatoes!

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