Cape Abilities Celebrates Direct Support Professionals Week 2017!


During Direct Support Professionals Week, September 11-15, 2017,
Cape Abilities is proud to recognize the dedication and commitment of our outstanding Direct Support Professionals, and we want to express our sincere appreciation
for their vital contribution to the Cape Cod community.

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This committed group of loving and caring professionals come from a wide variety of backgrounds who work directly with the individuals we serve,  assisting them with many different areas of their lives, including activities of daily living, jobs, volunteering, community involvement, social skills, recreation, self-expression, and personal relationships.

“Cape Abilities truly is a blessed agency”, noted Beth Von Staats, Cape Abilities’ Director of Residential Services. “After over 30 years in this industry I can tell you that you will not find a more committed team of direct care professionals anywhere. They demonstrate daily an extraordinary amount of responsibility, strength of character, work ethic, compassion and steely resolve to support the people they support, and I know everyone on this staff takes their jobs very seriously. It really is that simple.”

By offering our Direct Support staff more professional training opportunities and increased Human Resource and Clinical training and support, this dedicated Cape Abilities team can provide the highest quality of services for the hundreds of individuals with disabilities that we serve every day.

Please join us as we celebrate Direct Support Professionals Week
with a few stories about our remarkable Direct Support team!

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As evidenced by over 13 years tenure as a Direct Support Professional at the Allen Drive, Brewster residence,
Karen Mahoney is a 100% committed to the women she serves. As the women and their parents will attest, Karen is a hard-working, efficient, highly responsible, and compassionate Direct Support Professional. Karen was recently promoted to a Lead DSP position in recognition of her exemplary work performance – a promotion the women she supports agree is richly deserved. After all, as Jennifer attests, “Karen can do anything…. Yes, I mean anything.”

Karen is a staunch advocate for the women who live at Allen Drive, not only teaching skills necessary to day to day life and to grow personally, but also supporting the women with weathering a variety major life challenges. The women trust Karen implicitly. That trust was hard earned through years of unwavering dedication.

As Residential Manager Lisa Farrington observes, “Karen takes pride in what she does, enjoys her work and does it well. If something needs to be done, Karen is the first to step up. She remains focused and strives to ensure that the women she supports continue to receive quality services and continuity in their routines through any changes or challenges within the home.”

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Megan Layton is an Intervention Specialist in our Eastham Day Habilitation program. She joined Cape Abilities in September of 2014. Since then, Megan has grown quickly to become a masters-level licensed Applied Behavior Analysts though a cohort with  Endicott College.  Along the way, “Megan has supported people in day hab who require a high level of care so that they may have a meaningful and safe day,” notes Glenn Loomis, Director of Day and Employment Services at Cape Abilities. “Staff and participants alike benefit from Megan’s professional, gentle and old-fashioned common sense approach. She has a very bright future in this field, and with Cape Abilities, in the years ahead”.

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Deb Nelson, Individual Support Case Manager, served with pride individuals supported by the agency for over four years. Deb’s initial work assignment was at the agency’s Heather Lane, Centerville residence. Deb’s commitment to excellence, exemplary work ethic, teamwork, and advocacy was respected by supervisors and peers. Amy, Lori and Caroline were also very satisfied with Deb’s support to them, each offering positive feedback in completion of her performance reviews.

As a result of Deb’s outstanding work performance, she was promoted to the position of Individual Support Case Manager two years ago. Her work and support to the people on her caseload has been nothing short of best practice. The needs of each person Deb serves are highly unique, and Deb adjusts her approach, interactions, and supports provided with a high level of clinical and programmatic sophistication. Says Patrick, whom Deb supports, “Deb’s got the right stuff. She treats me like the man I am.”

Lisa Farrington, Residential Manager, sums things up. “Deb Nelson is an outstanding professional, mentor, teacher, and co-worker. Deb is a wonderful role model for anyone looking to get into the human services field, because she is patient, kind, and really understands people’s abilities and support needs.”

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Employed by Cape Abilities for three years, Kayla Savery is a shining example of Direct Support Professional “leadership”. Beyond Kayla’s exemplary direct support skills, she has the unique ability of richly supporting people experiencing acute clinical, personal, or medical crisis. Though our first inclination is always to protect those we serve, they experience many of the same major life challenges as rest of us. In those time of life crisis, Kayla Savery “steps to the plate” with unwavering dedication.

Beyond Kayla’s unique ability to support people in times of personal crisis, Residential Manager Devon Pritchett shares, “Kayla is incredibly skilled and diverse; she has worked effectively with individuals living with a variety of disabilities ranging from Autism Spectrum Disorders, Acquired Brain Injury and severe physical impairments. She has demonstrated an expertise in managing challenging behavior, given a voice to individuals that cannot speak, and fiercely advocated to preserve the rights and dignity of individuals that are often devalued.”

As a Lead Direct Support Professional, Kayla is an exemplary team player, assisting programs and individuals not typically on her caseload. Do you have an immediate staffing need for someone experiencing acute challenges? Did a shift become open late in the evening due to an employee’s unavoidable personal emergency? The solution is simple. Call Kayla. Devon Pritchett sums things up. “Kayla is truly exceptional and her contributions to the individuals we serve have proven invaluable. We are fortunate to have Kayla as part of the Cape Abilities team.”

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Job Development without Job Supports is a little bit like flying a plane with one wing. Getting a job, learning the job and keeping the job takes teamwork and what a great team of Job Coaches we have agency wide! We highlight two job coaches who play an integral role in the Vocational Program; Mandy Gomes (top,right) and Lisa Ransom (bottom, right).

Mandy Gomes began her career at Cape Abilities in August of 2000.  17 years and counting! She moved from her position in the shelter workshop to Job Coaching people in the community and social enterprises. Mandy loves to work and she loves providing people the opportunity to do the same.

Lisa Ransom came to Cape Abilities in March of 2012. Lisa loves to get things done and she inspires people to work hard and perform well.

Both Mandy and Lisa support workers at the VA Clinic in Hyannis, 6A Farm, cleaning crews for the CCRTA Bus Shelters, Old School House in Barnstable Village, Snyders Lance, Inc, and Cape Abilities. They also job coach at Centerville Pie and Chatham Bars Inn and fill in wherever job supports are required. Willingly and professionally.

Mandy Gomes and Lisa Ransom are incredible and critical members of our Direct Care professional staff,” notes Glenn Loomis. They go the extra mile every day to keep people happy and productive in their work and employers satisfied with Cape Abilities vocational services.  I can’t imagine where we would be without them.”

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donna-linares2Donna Linares is a woman with a passionate drive for excellence – not only for herself, but also the women she supports. A Direct Support Professional at Cape Abilities’ resident home, Lila’s House, since 2009, Donna’s commitment, positive spirit, exhaustive work ethic, and compassionate assertiveness has resulted in best practice outcomes, most notably in the marked personal growth of the women who call Lila’s House home.

Lila’s House Residential Supervisor Gail Capello, herself the proud parent of an individual supported by this agency, commends Donna’s outstanding work on behalf of the individuals entrusted to her care. “Donna interacts with the women at Lila’s House with enthusiasm and caring,” says Gail.  “She offers an understanding ear when needed and an energetic boost… The women, staff and supervisor of Lila’s can rely on Donna to be there when they need her… Donna has been a strong influence on the progress made by each woman at Lila’s. “

Gail Capello adds that Donna’s commitment to her work follows the example of Helen Keller, who Gail noted teaches us, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do.”

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monique-normanMonique Norman is a pillar of commitment and consistency for individuals supported by Cape Abilities. One of the agency’s longest tenured Direct Support Professionals, Monique has been making a difference in the lives of others for nearly 20 years.

Initially hired as a relief employee, Monique joined Cape Abilities full-time supporting individuals with pervasive support needs in the agency’s Lyndon Center Day Program in May 1999. After a five-year tenure, Monique then joined residential services, working as a Direct Support Professional in three of the agency’s group homes, most recently at the Old Jail Lane residence in Barnstable Village.  Residential Manager Lisa Farrington recently shared her thoughts of Monique’s contributions to the residential team. “Monique is truly devoted to the women she cares for. It is apparent in the quality support she provides to the women in the home.”

Monique enjoys the interactions she has with the women she serves, and she strives to get to know each person intimately. “I really want to help each woman find her own voice,” Monique recently shared, adding, “I’ve enjoyed watching everyone’s progress through the years, and I find helping people through all phases of their lives very meaningful to me.”

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corrina-dyalNot only is Corrina Dyal an exemplary Direct Support Professional, she is also a very special person. For the last six years, Corrina has supported several elderly and medically vulnerable individuals living at the agency’s Brush Hill residence. In her invaluable role, not only does Corrina ensure people in her care enjoy rich, valued and comfortable lives, she also supported others who came before them with life ending care, guiding six individuals through their final days with us.

There are just no words to adequately describe just how profoundly Corrina has touched the lives of others, but Residential Supervisor Kimberley Buldini is valiant in her attempt. “Corrina is extremely competent and enjoyable to work with. She is bright, innovative, dependable and invaluable in caring for the residents.” Kim adds, “Corrina is always kind, thoughtful and patient. She truly wants each individual to be happy.”

Beyond Corrina’s passion to insure the quality of life of the people she serves, she is always an informative, welcoming and compassionate supporter of their families, as well as peer staff at Brush Hill. A strong team leader, as well as an enthusiastic team player, Corrina’s steadfast commitment and exhaustive work ethic raises the bar of excellence common to Cape Abilities outstanding Direct Support Professionals.

The opportunity to enhance and help change the lives of individuals with disabilities begins with the commitment of our direct support professionals.  Without their incredible efforts and loyal dedication to our mission, we could not offer the high quality of support services that are benefiting hundreds of individuals with disabilities every day.

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20160913_122944The day is fast, stimulating and exciting at the Hyannis Life Skills/Day Habilitation program! People travel to and from their community for volunteer and social opportunities. Once back to home base, they may be hitting the exercise area, cooking for the CHAMP House or joining a gathering for one reason or another. For some, often a little older or in need of a less stimulating environment, it is good to have an oasis when they return.
Mary Eagan, a long-term Cape Abilities employee with years of experience in this field, provides a balance for these individuals.

“Her program area in Life Skills could be called Safe Harbor,” notes Glenn Loomis. “A place for the folks we serve to dock after a day of voyaging.”

The people who Mary supports seek Mary’s support; they’re not assigned to it.  She gives people a chance to challenge and pace themselves at the same time.  In Mary’s world, people are treated with respect and dignity and there is nothing more important in her day then the people who come to be with her. The people who come to this program and, when needed, Mary’s harbor.

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20160913_122757When Brittany Galgay decided to make Cape Abilities Community Based Day Supports (CBDS) her choice of employment after providing some additional supports to the program on temporary basis, a collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout the program. Colleagues within her previous assignment were disappointed to lose her but very happy that Brittany was staying with Cape Abilties. Knowing that the agency gained yet another superb addition to the mission was all that mattered.

From the moment Brittany entered the Lyndon Center in Hyannis, she took on more than her share of responsibilities and she hasn’t stopped since. Simply stated, Brittany Gets It! A loyal colleague to her dedicated CBDS team, Brittany understands that community based programming should be and must be community based. She works with everyone in the program to plan activities that will help support the goals of the people who attend. Brittany is also a self-taught writer and her passion for capturing accurate and well written prose reflects in her progress notes. It is one of the reasons why she takes the lead on reports and documentation. What a combination! “Brittany makes sure that the program fulfills its community obligations and captures it in writing”, says Glenn Loomis. “She gets it and we are privileged that we got her.”

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Congratulations and thank you to this most outstanding team!

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