Some people thrive by taking on responsibilities.
At age 19, Karina Orozco has more responsibilities on her plate than most people her age. As LBSA’s youngest household director, she is responsible for scheduling and supervising 16 staff, maintaining the well-being of the clients of North Oak Cottage, and overseeing general day-to-day activities in the cottage. Talking with Karina, you don’t sense the long hours and level of demands. She’s almost always smiling.
On the rare occasion that she has free time, Karina enjoys spending it with family and friends. So, it’s not surprising that she first heard about LBSA from her sister, Zelene, who is also a household director on the Oak Street campus and has worked at LBSA for many years. Karina started working at LBSA as a part-time direct support staff member at age 16. After one year, she was promoted to senior lead counselor, and in November 2017 she became household director of North Oak Cottage.
Two things Karina enjoys about working at LBSA are the work environment and the client-centered approach to services. “I’m surrounded by a lot of positivity,” she notes. “Both staff and clients encourage me to do more.” Karina left LBSA for a brief period but ultimately returned, missing the positive atmosphere that LBSA provides. She also believes that LBSA is unique. “We really focus on the clients. We always put them first. Many of them don’t have family. We are their family.”
LBSA has always valued ensuring that its clients are part of the community, and Karina believes that the household directors continue to work to make that a priority. “We’re more in the community now. We [the household directors] have been coming up with ideas on how we can be more involved,” she explains. “I feel like when I take my clients out now everybody knows them. I think that’s important.”
Karina has a bright future ahead and plans to continue her education online this summer and eventually wants to go on to work in the medical field. She is quick to assure that she’s not leaving LBSA anytime soon, stressing how much she enjoys working here. She describes a recent trip to take a client to celebrate his birthday with his parents. “On the way home, the client, who is not very verbal, said, ‘thank you.’ It made me so happy.”
LBSA is fortunate to have young, caring leaders like Karina serving our mission and bringing the power of possibility to people with special needs.