Expanding our Horizons

Month: February, 2014

Our Celebrities: Part Two

First, a little background.Horizons is a member of an organization based in Denver called Alliance. Alliance represents people in Colorado with developmental disabilities. One of the most important things they do is make sure that our state level elected officials understand the work we do and, when they can, increase state funding for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD).

To help make sure our elected officials are well informed, Alliance hosts an annual Awareness Day in Denver. The House and Senate pass a resolution in support of I/DD followed by a luncheon at the Denver Art Museum. At the luncheon, Alliance honors Direct Support Professionals from around the state. Each provider who is a member of Alliance can nominate one or two counselors for this honor.

Here at Horizons, we invited employees and family members to nominate someone for this award. Of the three counselors nominated in Moffat County, the committee selected Melissa Stadler to represent us.

As one of 37 nominees from across the state, Melissa is honored at the Capitol for her work as a Direct Support Professional. L to R: Susan Mizen, Melissa Stadler, State Rep. Bob Rankin, Sean Davis.

As one of 37 nominees from across the state, Melissa is honored at the Capitol for her work as a Direct Support Professional. L to R: Susan Mizen, Melissa Stadler, State Rep. Bob Rankin, Sean Davis.

I would like to tell you about Melissa so that you will see why she was nominated. When Melissa first started working as a Direct Support Professional at Horizons, it was clear to everyone that caring for people was what she did. She came with a powerful sense of confidence and calm. With her observant nature, she notices the details and nuances that affect each Individual. As exceptional as she is at her job, Melissa works hard in every moment and puts all her effort into each individual, activity and interaction—she intrinsically seeks improvement not only in the lives of the people we support, but in her own professional performance as well.

Melissa keeps people in our program engaged at home and in the community. Her way of being—her willingness to help, to participate, to go out of her way—is a boon to the people she serves. Melissa, who is also an artist, naturally immerses others into the creative world. She has helped people in our program produce numerous art projects that decorate their homes. She led the effort for people we support to participate in making decorations for the local Festival of Trees—enhancing skill sets and raising awareness for Horizons’ mission. Melissa has not only brought art into the lives of those we support, she has also become Horizons’ artistic consultant for all activities.

Melissa is caring, giving, and truly understanding of the needs of those around her. Her natural disposition helps to increase the circle of unpaid professionals in each person’s life. Most recently, she noticed that one particular individual liked to jump into the conversation when Melissa was skyping with her father. Now, this person and Melissa’s father skype on their own. Melissa has easily expanded the individual’s and her father’s network and deepened connections for both.

At Horizons, Melissa is a positive role model.  No matter what is asked of her, she will do it and do it well. Whenever someone is needed, Melissa is there in a heartbeat—she never says no when people have needs to be met. Melissa is sharp, quick, kind, reliable, confident and knowledgeable. Her sense of humor and calm demeanor allow her to work successfully with new individuals and those with severe needs. Melissa is a natural who continually raises the bar for quality care.

I hope that you will have the pleasure of meeting Melissa if you don’t already know her. We are lucky to work with her.

Horizons staff at the Capitol on Awareness Day: Susan Mizen, Yvonne Truelove, Cathryn Marie, Amy Ibarra, Melissa Stadler, and Sean Davis.

Horizons staff at the Capitol on Awareness Day: Susan Mizen, Yvonne Truelove, Cathryn Marie, Amy Ibarra, Melissa Stadler, and Sean Davis.

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Our Celebrities: Part One

First, a little background. Horizons is a member of an organization based in Denver called Alliance. Alliance represents people in Colorado with developmental disabilities. One of the most important things they do is make sure that our state level elected officials understand the work we do and, when they can, increase state funding for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Representative Diane Mitsch Bush testifies on Awareness Day.

Representative Diane Mitsch Bush testifies on Awareness Day.

To help make sure our elected officials are well informed, Alliance hosts an annual Awareness Day in Denver. The House and Senate pass a resolution in support of I/DD followed by a luncheon at the Denver Art Museum. At the luncheon, Alliance honors Direct Support Professionals from around the state. Each provider who is a member of Alliance can nominate one or two counselors for this honor.

Here at Horizons, we invited employees and family members to nominate someone for this award. Of the six counselors nominated in Routt County, the committee selected Cathryn Marie to represent us. It was not an easy decision.

I would like to tell you a little bit about Cathryn. Cathryn has worked as a Direct Support Professional at Horizons for almost six years. She considers the people she works with family and relates to them with genuine concern and advocacy. Cathryn does everything she can to set them up for success. She skips no steps in this process: she is meticulous to ensure that the people she supports have the health supplies they need, the right protocols in place, and an informed and accountable team. She takes advantage of teachable moments so that they feel safe, develop skills and realize their autonomy. Cathryn is known for her deep level of commitment; she intentionally interacts with the people Horizons supports and goes out of her way to cultivate community connections. When Cathryn is out and about, she takes the time to introduce the people she knows to the people she works with. Cathryn’s dedication is clear: her priorities are the people we support.

Many people helped by Horizons enthusiastically participate in a weekly bowling league open to community members with and without disabilities. Cathryn attends on Wednesday nights whether or not she is working. She goes for the pure pleasure of spending time with those we help—she doesn’t just provide services to them, she enjoys them. Cathryn makes herself available 24 hours, seven days a week. She naturally connects with people with disabilities and nurtures those connections in all parts of her life.

The Wednesday Bowling League crew surprises Cathryn with her nomination for Direct Support Professional.

The Wednesday Bowling League crew surprises Cathryn with her nomination for Direct Support Professional (DSP).

A determined advocacy underlies Cathryn’s work at Horizons. When someone couldn’t attend Special Olympics, she found a way to make it happen—the travel plans, the hotel stay and the funding. When another person couldn’t afford a nice pair of shoes, she sought out a grant opportunity to fund the purchase. When someone needed hearing aids, Cathryn met with the team to discuss what would work best in all possible settings. Cathryn takes the time to use information—written documentation, personal observation and the dynamics of an environment—to help each individual and our agency make the best next move.

Professionally, Cathryn is organized. She manages her time efficiently and effectively. She is always willing to help out at other houses by picking up shifts as needed. She is as committed to the agency as she is to each person we help. Cathryn brings high energy and a positive attitude to work with her every day. This positive outlook is infectious amongst her coworkers and it teaches the people in our program to see the world in a positive way. Cathryn feels grateful to be able to work at Horizons, and this gratitude is palpable and enlightening.

All of us at Horizons are so fortunate to have her in our lives.

Out of 37 nominees from across the state, Cathryn Marie won the award for 2014 Direct Support Professional.

Out of 37 nominees from across the state, Cathryn Marie won the award for 2014 DSP.