Name: Chelsea Ellis
City: Fairhope, Alabama
Side Hustle: Pediatric occupational therapy
Do you have a website or store?: Nope.. but the Funky Fun Walk for the Autism Society is April 14 in Mobile, Alabama!!
How did you get started?: I did a lot of volunteering and summer camps for kids with disabilities in college and fell in love! I knew I had to spend my life working with these amazing kiddos.
When/where do you work?: I started working at a pediatric clinic in Montgomery after OT school and have been working with ped’s ever since in North Carolina and now I’m Daphne, Alabama. I work at the American Autism and Rehabilitation Center twice a week. I try to stay involved with philanthropic events benefiting these sweet kids.
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Each kid with autism or developmental disabilities is so unique and different. I love the challenge that comes with each kid to figure out how to get them to progress and be the best that they can be in all areas of their life.
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?:
They change my life everyday! Sometimes I feel selfish in that these kids probably do more for me than I do for them. They can teach you so much about the world without even knowing it. They truly show us how to celebrate the small things in life and appreciate what really matters. These kids work harder than any of us!
Who is your greatest supporter?: My husband. Junnie has always allowed me to work in the settings and with the kids that I am passion about. OT is such a broad field and pediatrics isn’t exactly “where the money is.” When you take an OT peds job, you do it because you love it, and he has always supported my passion with that.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: The kids themselves!! Every tiny victory is motivation to keep working harder and shows me that what we are doing matters. When a kid can climb to the slide or participate with a friend or sibling for the first time and you see that parent cry tears of joy, there is nothing better. Or when a parent tells you that they were able to go out to eat or do something as a family for the first time, it’s unexplainable!
Have you received recognition for your work?: Highest utilization the past 2 years at work. (So highest turnout of patients for my schedule)
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: Just small.. I just want to keep serving these kids as long as I can.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
Always make time for your passion. Life is too short to just punch a clock with no purpose.