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Barbara Kostecke-Horton: Empowering People

Submitted By: Brian Potvin, The Arc of Monroe

Barbara Kostecke-Horton serves as a Direct Support Professional for The Arc of Monroe, a CQL-Accredited human service organization headquartered in Rochester, NY. The Arc of Monroe provides a variety of programs and services for over 1,700 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families in the Rochester community for almost 60 years.

Barbara focuses in on certain components within each of the Personal Outcome Measures® indicators, helping the people she supports understand them. Barbara has helped several different people identify and achieve their goals through interview and discovery process.

Some of the goals that people have identified relate to Personal Outcome Measures® indicators such as People use their environments, people are safe, people choose where and with whom to live, and people choose where they work, people participate in the life of the community, and people have friends.

One woman who Barbara supported desperately wanted to get a job in the community. For various reasons, the woman didn’t feel like it was happening fast enough. She kept hearing “it takes time,” “there is always a lot of paperwork,” etc. She used the advocacy skills that Barbara taught her, and asked Barbara to attend a meeting with her and her parents to discuss options and avenues to help her take the next step. At the meeting, which Barbara typically wouldn’t have needed to attend, Barbara advocated for how well the woman was doing and that they were ready for the ‘next step.’

With Barbara’s own advocacy and support for the woman to be a self-advocate, the broker helped her complete an application for Access – VR, an employment training service in the Rochester area. Her support broker worked with another agency to get her into a job-path community employment program and this person was successful in her training! She is now in her second year of being successfully employed in the community. Her trust in Barbara and the advocacy skills Barbara taught her helped make this dream a reality for her.

Another example of Barbara’s commitment to the Personal Outcome Measures®, occurred when one person receiving services was having trouble making friends. His mother had asked if Barbara could help him gain confidence in this area. Barbara knew this person well and knew that he might not be comfortable using his cell phone to reach out and call one of his peers. She asked some of his peers if there was anyone who wished to call him. A person agreed and called him that night.

This meant the world to him, and he was so excited to tell Barbara about this the next day. Phone calls continued – both ways – and a friendship grew from this. Support staff assisted them in having dinner together and now they get together regularly, even checking up on each other if one is not at work!

In addition to helping support people in spending time with their friends, Barbara also works to discover more about their families. By providing supports to ensure people are connected to their natural supports, she is able to help make things happen in the Personal Outcome Measures® that families typically resist – such as people use their environments, people choose where and with whom to live, and people choose where they work.

She gets to know everyone who she works with and is able to use that knowledge to help them apply Personal Outcome Measures® to their unique lives. Their excitement over the self-determination they practice with her support is evident in the words they say about her regularly. The people who Barbara supports have told us that she is “kind, loyal, friendly, and respectful.” In talking about Barbara’s excellence as a Direct Support Professional, they share that she “empowers independence, relationships, and safety,” while helping people to “make friends and get together on weekends.”

2019 National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week

This article is part of a campaign during the 2019 National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are demonstrating excellence through the use of CQL’s Personal Outcome Measures® and/or NADSP’s Code of Ethics/Competency Areas. This campaign was developed through a partnership between CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership, The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), and The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).