Although I want this blog to be about big ideas in the world of services for people with cognitive disabilities, it is also an opportunity to share good news when we have it.
And today we have it!
Imagine! consumer and Out & About employee Kyle Sanchez has been named the Irwin Siegel Agency’s Direct Support Professional of the Year Award. I was told by the Irwin Siegel Agency’s representative that Kyle won by a landslide.
A little about Kyle (on the left in the photo), from an article in Imagine!'s employee newsletter a few months back:
Last summer, Kyle completed the online application for employment at Out & About, interviewed for the job, and completed all the required training. Kyle and his family were provided with information on the impact paid employment would have on his disability income.
Through hard work and an unbelievably positive attitude, Kyle succeeded in landing his very first job with Out & About working as an Assistant Recreation Instructor at the same camp he used to attend as a participant! Born with his own personal challenges, Kyle’s family enrolled him in Out & About while he was growing up.
As an Assistant Recreation Instructor, Kyle is expected to provide participants with the opportunity to successfully and safely access and participate in activities in their communities, to learn new skills, have fun, and to provide them with the opportunity to enhance their quality of life. Kyle’s job is no small task, and he has proven himself to be an independent, high achieving, and determined member of Out & About’s staff.
Kyle is a role model for many of the participants at Out & About. They look to him for guidance, comfort, and instruction. He has willingly taken on many new responsibilities that come with the job, and has done so graciously and with a smile! He handles schedule changes with ease, and is always aware of where he needs to be. Kyle asks meaningful questions and follows through with his job responsibilities. He is always on time, even when he takes the bus, which he has recently learned how to do on his own! Kyle notifies coordinators of any schedule conflicts as soon as they arise, and is always ready for the unexpected changes that often come with his job.
Over the past few years he and his family have experienced great loss. His father passed away, his mother was diagnosed with progressive MS, and his younger brother was also diagnosed with a disability. While maturing into a young man, Kyle has overcome many of his challenges while helping at home. Kyle feels very strongly that he needs to contribute financially to his family, and gaining paid employment helped him to achieve this goal.
Congratulations Kyle! Your honor is well deserved.