John Mezydlo knows just how important it is to give people who are self-directing their long-term services and supports the tools and assistance they need to do so effectively. As an individual who uses a wheelchair and self-directs his own life, John’s unique understanding of this makes him a fantastic self direction consultant for Wisconsin’s self-directed waiver program, called IRIS.
As an IRIS Consultant for TMG by Magellan Health, John helps the IRIS participants he partners with to clear their path ahead. John is resourceful and collaborative in his work in his community, and has developed a great network of resources. These resources benefit not only the IRIS participants that John partners with, but are also widely shared with his fellow self direction consultants across Wisconsin to increase awareness of resources and key contacts.
In his personal world, John is heavily involved with a foundation that provides grants to individuals so that they can purchase adaptive sports equipment and stay active. He is also an active member of his wheelchair rugby team. He shares his life experiences with his colleagues and with the individuals he partners with in the IRIS program.
As an example of how genuine John is, here is a brief story: As an IRIS Consultant, John has supported a gentleman, Shawn, who shares a similar injury to John’s. They have been working together for several years. Shawn was extremely reclusive when they first met. John utilized not only his skills as a creative and responsive consultant, but also tapped into his unique outlook on the world to truly partner with Shawn and to listen to and understand Shawn’s story. John introduced Shawn to wheelchair rugby, and this has opened Shawn’s eyes to potential possibilities. So much so, that Shawn is now a volunteer at the humane society, has joined a woodworking group, enjoys adapted curling, sled hockey, wheelchair rugby, and has applied for and received a grant to fly to Colorado for an adaptive ski trip.
In John’s own words, “I show people what is possible. Most people are unaware of the different resources available to accomplish a dream of theirs, or simply never knew it was even an option. I get such enjoyment seeing people who take the resources and guidance I give them, and then put the work in to achieve their goal. I understand reaching goals can be difficult. I live with a disability every day and embrace it!”