Q: What is your job here at AIM?
I work in Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Services (CDPAS). I help individuals with disabilities, ranging from mental health to physical disabilities, stay in their homes with the assistance of an aide. I work with many different types of individuals who want to remain at home, or want to come out of a nursing or group home. I have a handful of responsibilities, ranging from working with insurance companies to obtain authorizations that are missing, to advocating for individuals, to helping them understand how the program works.
Q: What made you want to work in this field?
This is something I have been doing since 2012. I was a personal assistant for three and a half years, working over 52 hours a week. I dropped down to part time, then not long after, I began working full time at the Arc in a group home. In 2015, I applied to AIM and jumped at the opportunity to work at a company that serves individuals with disabilities, especially since I am a huge supporter of giving people the choice to stay home, rather than go to a nursing home or a group home.
Q: What do you love about your job?
I love getting to meet new individuals. I love walking into a home to provide services and seeing someone who has just come home and desperately needs the services, then going back out a year later to see that they have regained the majority of their strength, they're smiling, waving and speaking. Sometimes, I'll go into a home where an individual is completely dependent on another, and I meet their family who is struggling to cope. A year later, I'll go back to find a completely different home.
Q: What are some of the difficulties?
One of the hard parts is when I'm unable to help someone the way I want to. I have a difficult time when, due to reasons outside my control, I can't provide services to someone who could benefit from the program. The hardest part for me is seeing how in need someone is, and trying to hold myself together in order to help them in every way I can. I'll admit I've walked out of some houses in tears because there is nothing more I'm able to do for someone, except refer them to an advocate to see if the advocate is able to help in some way.
Q: What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of work?
A: Outside of work I have a lot of interests. I have a 4-year-old daughter named Harmonie, so my interests have become teaching and entertaining her for hours on end. We hike a lot, we create a lot of different crafts together. We love swimming, mudding on the four-wheelers, and we also like to read and have quiet time. We love playing with our dogs, hanging out with friends that also have children, having bonfires -- you name it, we do it. Finishing my bachelor's degree was high on my list of priorities, and I finally completed it in May of 2016. I now have a bachelor's of science in health care administration with a concentration in health management. Interestingly, I continue to work in the human services field, even though it is a bit of a departure from what I studied. I've found I can incorporate a lot of my education into the work I am currently doing.