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.
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.