Blog created by Developmental Services Director Kathleen Hamilton — 32 years
As we begin a new calendar year, we once again face the uncertainty of funding decisions that will be made this legislative session. Once again we will be struggling to prove publicly the value and necessity of our services to the individuals we serve. And once again we will be hopeful that we can continue our mission to ensure quality, individualized services, which keep people safe, maximize independence, and reflect the needs and wishes of some of this community’s most vulnerable individuals and their families.
When I was reflecting on what seems to be the constant struggle to justify our services, and thus our jobs, I wondered why the staff and home providers in Developmental Services (DS) are so committed to what they do. What is it about working here that keeps them coming back day after day, year after year to face the same – and increased – challenges?
So…I polled a variety of staff and found that their reasons mirrored my own – feeling good about making even one small difference in another’s life and the opportunity to be part of an organization where you feel respected and valued.
The following are quotes from some of the committed DS staff who provide quality, individualized services that keep people safe and maximize independence. It is a pleasure for me to work with these people. After you read them in their own words, you’ll see why.
Paula — 16 years
“In February 1995 I decided to take my life down a new path. Having two friends who lived in Vermont, I took their praise of the state seriously, quit my job, gave up my apartment, and bravely ventured forward, looking for two things – a place to live that felt like “home” and a job that I would love for years to come. Now, sixteen years later, I know that this move was something I was meant to do. My various positions over the years have given me the chance to work with many of the clients in our division as well as with many different staff, and the opportunity to contribute in many different capacities. For nearly 16 years I have felt valued, challenged, and appreciated for the efforts I have made on behalf of the folks we serve. I am in awe that the jobs we do affect so many lives in so many ways. I am always aware that we mold and shape people’s lives, that we have a responsibility to improve lives, and the opportunity to do so. How many jobs give us that? I’ve come a long way from February 1995, but know I have found my forever “home” and the job I continue to love here in Vermont.”
Anne — 5 years
“I love the rewarding aspects of my job as well as working in such a friendly, family oriented environment.”
Beth — 5 years
“I love working for UCS because of the clients I care for and the folks I work with.”
Raymond — 7 years
“I started working here because I needed a job; I stayed because of the wonderful people. From the caregivers to my supervisors, the people that choose to work in this field are dedicated and special.”
Diane — 17 years
“I became a Home Provider while I was in the midst of raising my children. I have always enjoyed my home and what drew me the most to becoming a home provider was my exposure to people with developmental disabilities when I was growing up. One of my friend’s parents were home providers. Another friend and I so much enjoyed visiting there. We shared special moments — like sharing half a cookie, compliments or bringing wildflowers. And the ladies were always so happy to see us. They always appreciated our visits. We felt like we had more grandmothers who adored us. It was the simplest form of happiness. Then as I grew older I was naturally drawn to anyone I met in the community who was disabled. So I guess it was just meant to be for me.”
Shannon — 2 years
“My quote would be ‘Just another day in paradise’. Most people take this the wrong way and think that you are trying to put down your job or think that you are not happy in your job. Well, let me tell you when it comes to my job, it is just what I say, ‘another day in paradise’. I wake up every morning happy and ready to come to work. I enjoy that every day I might help someone that I work with learn something new or try something different. Not so long ago I can remember that I was the one that was learning something or trying new things. I can remember how hard it is to let go or let in when you don’t know what will happen in the end. But if you really think about it the end is really just the beginning.”
Susan — 3 years
“I can say that I like the fact that every day is different. I can say that I learn something new each day. I can say that the staff I work with are extremely dedicated and caring. I can say that we all try to help each other when a problem arises…..you never feel alone. I can say that I value the staff meetings once a week as they bring the TEAM together. I can say that I like the fact that our job presents a real challenge.”
Jackie — 4 years
“I love my job with UCS because I work for a supportive and flexible company that recognizes the efforts of their employees continually.
“I love my job because I have a great supervisor that ensures that her employees continue to grow.
“I love my job at UCS because I get to help my clients reach their goals and full potential. I get to help these clients live fulfilling and enriched lives.
“I love my job because I am treated daily by my clients with a smile and genuine gratitude that I am in their lives.
“I love my job because my clients are always teaching me new things and making me grow emotionally.”
Abigail — 3 years
“At the end of the day you leave feeling rewarded for helping a client with something they may not have been able to accomplish on their own, and they most always feel thankful for you helping them.”
Valerie — 13 years
“What can I say? What a team we have here at Developmental Services, from the front desk to the direct service staff, it is a pleasure to work here…as one of our reviewers for CARF said, this place gives you warm, fuzzy feelings.”
Corinne — 6 months
“I have been employed in UCS’s Developmental Services division since August. During this time I have had the opportunity to begin developing relationships with clients, families and coworkers. Although these relationships all take time, the amount of support and encouragement has been overwhelming. The respect and camaraderie among the staff, families and clients is quite unique and refreshing, making Developmental Services a supportive and comfortable environment to work and learn in.”