Laura Baker Services Association (LBSA) would like to congratulate two of our outstanding direct support staff, Molly Halls (Community Services) and Michelle Anderson (Oak Street Services). They have been nominated by LBSA for the Direct Support Professional of the Year Award, given annually by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR). ANCOR is a national, nonprofit trade association representing more than 1,600 community providers of services to people with disabilities. Staff who are nominated have demonstrated a commitment to person-centered support, leadership, building relationships, and innovation.
Michelle is currently a senior residential counselor and has worked at LBSA for approximately a year and a half. In a short period of time, Michelle has developed into a leader within the organization as evidenced by the fact that she is now a peer mentor for new staff in the household she works. Her supervisor says that Michelle has a remarkable sense of purpose and determination in helping residents achieve their goals. Recently, Michelle approached the house’s behavior analyst with a plan to implement a cooking goal that is in four of the resident’s person-centered plans. Instead of focusing solely on cooking, Michelle has expanded it to include a variety of tasks that helps develop other skills including reading recipes, shopping, money management, planning and organization. This is a good example of how Michelle can take a fresh look at client program plans and seek opportunities to further build skills that will be relevant to each individual’s goals.
Not only is she a committed, dependable employee, Michelle clearly enjoys her work. She regularly involves her children in the lives of the residents she supports. Recently she brought her kids to the house to trick or treat in costume. This was especially meaningful to one client in particular who loves Halloween. Michelle says one of her favorite things about working at LBSA is the expression on a client’s face when they accomplish a goal. “I love my job! I love the interaction with clients and being able to help them have better lives.”
Molly has worked at LBSA for about 12 years. Molly has a gift of tuning into the needs and interests of the clients she supports to determine how she can best help them achieve their goals. Then she uses kindness and persistence to make that happen.
In recent years, Molly has had an opportunity to practice her skills of client centered support helping new residents make the transition to a new living environment. She says that one of the most amazing things she’s seen since working at LBSA was the transformation of one new client. “In the first couple of months, we were afraid we couldn’t figure her out, and how to work with her.” Molly said that once she and other staff got to spend time with her and got to know her personality and understand her support needs, her progress was remarkable. “She is really a funny, creative, bright person.” Molly adds that she has an incredible sense of humor and now is doing new things. “She just recently joined the LBSA choir. Nobody thought that was possible.”
Molly says that her favorite thing about working at LBSA is the connections she develops with her clients she supports. “When they’re struggling, and I can help them figure something out is very satisfying.” She adds, “If feel alive when I’m caring for someone.” Molly’s enjoyment of her work has resulted in making a few referrals encouraging people to work at LBSA. “My sister, my mom and my nephew all work here now.”, she chuckles.
LBSA is fortunate to have committed, talented staff like Molly and Michelle on our team!