Team Member Spotlight: Nicole Swartz - , Transition Youth Coordinator

Team Member Spotlight: Nicole Swartz

Posted on February 22, 2022

Each month, we’re highlighting a “behind-the-scenes” team member whose work supports our mission, but whose face you might not often see on our social media pages.

We’re excited to help you get to know our innovative team and the complex work we do.

So, tune in for our #TeamMemberSpotlight, where our team members share in their own words a bit about themselves!

What is your job title? I am the Transition Youth Coordinator for Penn-Mar. I also sub in some of our residential houses.

What’s an average day like for you? An average day varies. Penn-Mar has partnered with Transition Connections Academy Carroll County Public Schools. I am the instructor for their Customized Career Exploration course. I have worked with the employment team to create a curriculum that allows students to explore their passions. The course highlights student interests, skills, talents, ideal working conditions, networking connections and getting to know their communities through hands on and engaging activities and discussions. When I am not teaching, I work with students who are transitioning to our adult services in the Employment Discovery process.

What’s one thing you wish people realized about your job? Exploring employment with the individuals that we support is so rewarding. We are given a front row seat to a very exciting process. I love the creativity and the thinking outside of the box mentality that my job requires. Everyone deserves meaningful employment. My job is one with great purpose.

In another life, your career path is . . . to be a nurse. I have always had an interest in this field.

Why is Penn-Mar’s mission important to you? Penn-Mar’s mission not only challenges me in my work, but also challenges me to live courageously and teach my children the same. I have always, since childhood, been an advocate for those around me. I believe this has played an instrumental role in my career path. It is an honor to support people in finding their best life and having the say and control over the way in which they achieve this.

What’s one thing you wished the general public knew about people with IDD? I may be the staff supporting our individuals, but there is a lot more that I gain. I leave each class, shift, residential home with new insight and a lot of positivity and gratitude just by sharing my time with the people I support. I also encourage people to treat our individuals like they would their friends, they are some of the greatest people I have had the privilege to know.

What’s your favorite food? I have never met a sushi roll that I didn’t like.

Any hidden talents? I play the guitar and can carry a pretty nice tune. In my previous life, I played in bands and out at local coffee shops. Music is something that I could never go without. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, you’d visit . . . I have traveled to many desirable places, but Ireland is on the list. I would love to see the beauty in person. 

In your spare time, you’ll be found . . . Spending time with my children, pets, family and friends. We enjoying being out in the community and experiencing things. I may also pop up at a karaoke event here and there.

Who do you root for on game day? We are huge football family. We give our love to the Ravens and my 11 year old son and I are, currently, working on collecting memorabilia and autographs.

What’s something people may not know about you? I am a crazy chicken lady and my goal is to begin raising chickens again and maybe one day, owning a farm where I can have all the animals and foster dogs until they find their forever homes.

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