There are so many aspects to the Program Coordinator job. The short explanation: I assist in hiring, training, and supervising the employees in the Group Homes Department and am responsible for ensuring the overall progress, health, and safety of the individuals we serve. I work as part of a team that assesses the skill levels of each individual in various areas of development. From those assessments, I identify areas that need improvement then create goals and design programs to expand their skills. Throughout the year, we track the individual’s progress, identify roadblocks to their growth, and make necessary changes to promote achievement.
Many of the roadblocks faced by people with disabilities are often put there, unintentionally, by the people without disabilities. Many people who are not affected by a disability do not understand the potential for growth and achievement that people with disabilities possess. I would love for others to see and understand, that when given the right tools and opportunities, just how capable people with disabilities are of learning and doing things independently or with significantly less assistance. You can accept someone while still finding ways to encourage and push them to reach their potential.
I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology from Purdue University. During my college years, I was hired at In-Pact on a part time basis. I would spend my summer, winter, and spring vacations working as a DSP in the Sherwood children’s group home. After I graduated, I became a full time employee there.
During my time as a DSP, I supervised a program for several years that we ran in the summer called “Work Crew”, which was designed for our individuals between the ages of 15-22. The individuals worked as team to improve and maintain the landscaping around the In-Pact office and the walking trails behind it. Through this program, we were able to work on social and personal development while also improving the individuals’ fine and gross motor skills, their strength, and coordination.
For four years, I had a unique position within the group home department. I was the Program Coordinator for the Heavilin Group Home, while also being the Social Services Coordinator and handling the Social Security and Medicaid business for the Group Home Department. In 2019, I became the Program Coordinator for four of our all male adult group homes.
Hands down, the best part about In-Pact is the individuals we serve. I think we are so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our care. They are some of the best people in my life. They have the greatest personalities and being around “my guys” is always such a mood booster. Working here for so many years has provided me the opportunity to see so much growth- it’s rewarding to see everyone’s hard work pay off. It makes you feel that you’ve done something right.
My parents moved us to Lakes of the Four Seasons in 1993. We were fortunate that they found an area with families that had kids the same age as my brother and I. Everyone was friendly and welcoming from the start. The neighborhood was close knit, and it felt like we had family surrounding us. We didn’t have to go far to find a friend to play with each day.
At this point, I’ve been at In-Pact for almost half of my life. Before this, in high school, I worked in the dietary sector of a nursing home. My position was primarily in the main dining room- prepping for dinner, waiting on, and cleaning up after the residents that came for their meal. During college, I interned at the Early Care and Education Center that was located on Purdue’s campus. Following that internship, I worked there part time until graduation. I floated between the different classrooms and assisted the teachers as needed.
I’m driven by a commitment to self-improvement, social justice, and a compassion for helping others.
I love Brene’ Brown’s podcast, “Unlocking Us”. Her book “Braving the Wilderness”, is at the top of the list of books that I plan to read soon. I also listen to and really like many of the podcasts that The Wondery has put out.
I still have enormous adoration for the Harry Potter series. I love the many intricacies and the way that they tie together throughout the books. It amazes me that each time I read them, there’s another little detail to discover.
Admittedly, it’s been awhile since I’ve picked up any of my books on it, but I find Greek Mythology fascinating and enjoy reading about it.
When I’m not working, one of the first things I try to do is make time to catch up and spend quality time with my family and friends. I love hiking, taking our dogs out, kayaking, camping, traveling and exploring new areas, reading, and of course, binge watching a new series.
I can’t wait to be able to catch a Cubs game at Wrigley this summer and hopefully attend some concerts again. I drive a Jeep Wrangler and there is almost nothing that feels more freeing than pushing the top back, taking off the doors, and just driving. I also like to learn new skills. I’m currently trying to teach myself how to use an Akorn smoker to smoke various foods and attempting to be a little crafty with some woodworking activities. With both endeavors, it’s been an experience of trial and error, (truthfully mostly error) but it’s been fun!
“True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” – Brene’ Brown
“At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life, I want to be able to say that I have contributed more than I criticized.” – Brene’ Brown