Submitted By: Michelle Quinell-Gayle, St. Lawrence NYSARC
Michael Holland’s life is full because of his connection with Direct Support Professional, Rebecca Farr. “Becky” is a veteran staff member with St. Lawrence NYSARC and her commitment to people with disabilities is unsurpassed. Becky carefully discovers what is best for each person she supports in her daily planning. Just one of the many examples of this extraordinary dedication is highlighted by Becky’s relationship with Michael.
When the Personal Outcome Measures® interviews were conducted in 2014, three themes arose during multiple conversations with Michael, his parents, Irene and Oakley, and key staff members. The goals that Michael most wanted to focus on included: Choosing Personal Goals, Maintaining Intimate Relationships, and Continuity and Security.
Becky’s impact is evident on Michael’s achievement to choose personal goals with his work at St. Lawrence NYSARC’s store, ‘Crafts and Such.’ The store began as a way to showcase hand-made goods created by people with developmental disabilities. Becky was an integral part of the team who began and now maintains this community-based employment option for people.
Becky promotes Michael’s independence at ‘Crafts and Such’ by lending encouragement and praise throughout the day. Through this support, Michael’s duties have expanded over the years to opening the store, delivering the mail, obtaining supplies, sewing and organization. Michael takes pride in handling each new challenge and is sincerely respected for his contributions.
Michael has been significantly supported by Becky to achieve his goal of maintaining intimate relationships. One of Michael’s most valued connections is with his parents and it is a priority for all of them to spend time together. Becky developed a close bond with the Hollands and picks Michael up from his supported residence to bring him for regular visits on her own personal time. Michael feels these visits with his parents are truly meaningful and bring great joy to his life.
Becky’s dedication to offering an enriching environment has also helped Michael expand his social roles. During breaks at ‘Crafts and Such’, he is supported to foster relationships with members of the community. Michael values his friendships with Rusty at the bus station and waitresses at the Village Diner. Becky has even involved her own mother, Jean Farr, in work at the store. Michael and Jean look forward to seeing each other and are both enriched from the experience.
It is apparent that Becky Farr is crucial to providing continuity and security in Michael’s life and with achieving his goals. Through her caring, creative assistance Michael is doing what makes him happy and fulfilled.
Perhaps Michael’s mother, Irene, put it best by stating, “Becky has been a wonderful constant in Michael’s life, in and out of the day setting. With her guidance as a direct support professional, I know I don’t have to worry about Michael achieving his goals and being content. We are so grateful she is a part of our lives.”
2016 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week
This article is part of a campaign during the 2016 DSP Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are helping people achieve their individually-defined outcomes, through the use of Personal Outcome Measures®. This campaign was developed through a partnership between CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership and The National Alliance For Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).