When I applied at ADEC, I was 20 years old and had held only one other job before. When I was called for a second interview, I was shocked; the only prior experience I had was caring for a grandmother with dementia. After being with the company for two years, I have learned many things. Common sense, a sense of humor and a strong sense of self are a few of the most valuable character traits, not only for a DSP, but for a living, breathing human being.
Understanding and caring for others first begins with understanding and caring for yourself. Relating to the way someone else is processing a certain task or piece of information is something that comes more naturally to some than it does to others. I have dealt with personal hurdles for a majority of my life, making it easy for me to relate with a lot of the things I encounter on a daily basis with our clients (The strong stomach was a learned skill). I feel I have always had a good sense of humor, but the groups of people I have come to work with in the past two years have turned laughing, joking and just casual conversations into some of the most memorable and amusing anecdotes.
Just this last February at Fred Klemm’s 75th birthday party, witnessing the fellowship between clients and staff, cheered me up and brightened my day. Watching him open each card and look for money, hand it over to his guardian, then move on to the next present or card in search of “that green stuff” as he called it when I asked what he wanted for his birthday, made me laugh. Seeing the love and care between my co-workers, clients, and other staff has helped me overcome much over the past two years.
Three years ago, if you asked me what I would be doing in the future, this job would not be anything close to what my answer would have been. But with the love and camaraderie I get to witness and be a part of every day, I am most definitely glad to be working at ADEC, and hope to make a career out of it.
Article by Tori Stack | Direct Support Professional, Bristol Day Service
Photo by Rod Tackett | Communications Specialist