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April 11, 2024

Team Member Honored with Easterseals Upward Mobility Award

Holly Klosterman, a linen technician at HHS, was honored in 2023 with the Upward Mobility Award by Easterseals Redwood in Cincinnati, Ohio. Easterseals’ Brighter Futures Celebration is an annual awards gala that honors the success of the people they serve. Awards are given to individuals who have overcome obstacles and made great strides toward their goal of self-sufficiency. Holly has certainly overcome personal challenges and societal barriers in her quest for meaningful employment.



Growing up with a learning disability, Holly ran into numerous hurdles living in a world not built to accommodate her. Throughout her education, Holly found herself discouraged by ableism and the constant constraints she experienced because of her disability. Many of her educators in middle school and high school would tell her they didn’t believe she could go very far in her life. Fortunately, these were not the only voices in Holly’s life. She had the support of two incredible teachers and her family. 

It was Holly's parents who suggested she follow in her brother's footsteps and explore Easterseals Project Search, a program designed to bridge the gap between individuals with disabilities and finding success in competitive employment.

Holly Klosterman

Project Search became the catalyst for change in Holly's life, providing her with the tools, confidence, and support to pursue her aspirations. Her previous experience, working at a trampoline park during high school, laid a foundation of determination and a strong work ethic. Despite being offered a management position there, Holly felt she could find a position that allowed her to make a positive impact in the world. This desire to contribute to something greater than herself ultimately led her to the healthcare sector and her current position with HHS.

Holly's transition to HHS was met with the warmth and acceptance that she had gone without for so long. Her director, Rick Johngrass, reflected on the impact Holly has had, saying, “Her personality outshines everybody, and that is what we need. Sometimes our job is challenging. We want to interact with patients in a way that is kind and compassionate and [be] part of the healing process for them, and [Holly] does that really well.”

Holly's favorite part of the job is the people she encounters daily, the smiles, and the positive environment that she has become a part of. "I like that everyone in my workplace believes in me. I get to come in every day and work for a hospital that I absolutely love working with, and just everybody is always smiling [and] happy," Holly expressed.

Holly’s exceptional reliability and dedication have enabled Rick to rely on her to take on critical tasks such as ordering linens and managing inventory. Holly is incredibly proud of all that she has accomplished in her position at HHS. To those who find them in the same position she was in, she shares, “Never give up. If you have just one person who believes in you, you can show [those who don’t] that they’re wrong about you. You can do this.”

Easterseals Redwood's recognition of Holly is not just an acknowledgment of her achievements but a powerful reminder of the profound impact that belief and encouragement can have on an individual's life. Holly's journey to achieving her goals and becoming a valued team member at HHS had its challenges, not because she wasn’t capable, but because of how others perceived her. Removing barriers and ensuring accommodations is what propels, not only individuals with disabilities, towards success, but their entire team as well.

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