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Celebrating Our Direct Support Professionals

Employee Appreciation Week is an important time to stop and celebrate the resilient and amazing team that we have at The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region. Click below to view a video message from Shawn Kros, CEO of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region.

Scroll down to see all of our nominees for our most outstanding employee!

We are so grateful for our team at The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region. Know someone who is interested in learning more about joining our team?  This is the perfect time to recommend a career at The Arc NCR!  See below for new employee referral information.

For the next 60 days (starting 9/7/2021),
The Arc NCR will be offering a $500 referral bonus to all employee referrals
($250 at 90 days and  $250 at 6 months)
for anyone hired into positions 25 hours or more.

*Please make sure the candidate puts your name on their application to be eligible for the bonus.
*And, supervisors are eligible for this bonus as well.

Celebrate our team members! Check out this year’s list of outstanding Arc NCR team members.  Click on the names listed in the tabs below to learn about their amazing skills, talents and effort over the past year.

April Meller

Title/Department: Program Manager/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 9 years

Nominated by: Terry Grant

Here are the Highlights from April’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

April does whatever is needed to keep things running smoothly in the Community Living homes where she works.  She has been working with my sister for some time now and is currently supervising the house where she resides.  When there is an issue April is always there to help.  If there is an appointment my sister needs to get to and no one else can take her, April is there.  She goes above and beyond to make sure my sister’s needs are met.

Displaying Leadership
When an issue comes up, I know I can always contact April and she will take care of it.  She is always very positive and helpful. I have NEVER heard her say anything negative. She shows great leadership qualities.

Top Three Attributes

  • Kind
  • Encouraging
  • Responsive

Auriel Williams

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 7 months

Nominated by: PBS Committee/Shining Stars and Reannon Dawson

Here are the Highlights from Auriel’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Auriel advocates for the people we support daily. She goes above and beyond to offer exceptional support to the ladies living in the Community Living home she supports. It has been a pleasure having Auriel on my team! She ensures that the people she supports live a happy healthy life!  Recently, she went above and beyond to offer her assistance with someone she supports who was put on a strict diet per their doctor. Auriel took the initiative to develop a variety of healthy meal choices.  This person lost almost 20lbs due to Auriel supporting her in this effort and aiding in selecting healthier meal choices. She is on her way to a healthier lifestyle due to Auriel being so diligent.

Displaying Leadership

Auriel is a natural leader and is very dedicated. She is always willing to help out, particularly if her peers need help, and always comes to work with a positive attitude. Due to lack of staff, Auriel has worked tirelessly in the Community Living home where she works. Making sure this specific home has consistent and quality staff is especially important due to the people supported in the home being anxious around new team members. Auriel took the lead and offered support in any way possible even covering shifts, including the awake overnight shifts, outside her normal routine. The people she supports in this home enjoy being supported by Auriel and she continues to ensure they are happy, healthy, and safe!

Top Three Attributes

  • Helpful
  • Team player
  • Dedicated

Briana Johnson

Title/Department: Social Worker/Treatment Foster Care

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 3 years, 10 months

Nominated by: Nanette Silveroli

Here are the Highlights from Briana’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Briana works to support the foster families who care for children and teens in challenging situations.  She works directly with teens when they have challenges to help them identify their goals and assists them in working towards accomplishing them. Briana is a great team member and will help out other social workers when schedule conflicts come up and her peers are unable to be in two places at one time.

Displaying Leadership

Briana recently passed the LCSW-C exam and is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has also participated on several Arc NCR committees, such as the Social Justice Committee. In the Treatment Foster Care department Briana has become the team member to master the new database system.  If a coworker is having an issue, Briana can figure it out – she has been able to input new categories and forms into the system!  She also conducted a foster parent training on how to use the new system and has managed to get all her foster families to fully utilize the new data base system.

Top Three Attributes

  • Devoted social worker
  • Tech savvy
  • Team player

Bruce Page

Title/Department: Lead Employment Coach/Employment Services

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 12 years

Nominated by: Cyril Khan

Here are the Highlights from Bruce’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support
Bruce continues to assist the Career Exploration team with making independent choices to benefit their overall health and financial security. Bruce focuses on offering and reviewing healthy choices when people we support inquire about food purchases. He also assists, when needed, to ensure each person supported on the janitorial crew is safe when using cash for purchases.  Bruce ensures people are being given the right amount of money and receiving back the right amount of change.

Enhancing Community Participation

Bruce continues to encourage people he supports to participate in the activities of their choosing outside of work.  He encourages people to speak with their families or their Community Living team to have their voices and thoughts heard.

Top Three Attributes

  • Passionate
  • Mission driven
  • Committed

Carnetta Feury

Title/Department: Personal Supports Coach/Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 6 months

Nominated by: Dylan Rogers and Brenda Rotondo

Here are the Highlights from Carnetta’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support

Carnetta advocates for the person she supports, particularly with his diet and food preparation.  How his meals are prepared is an important part of his medical care and she makes sure everyone makes this a priority.  In addition, Carnetta also helped the person she supports in self-feeding at his kitchen table.  This was a big accomplishment in helping the person she supports in building his independence.

Enhancing Community Participation

Carnetta has been going to all appointments with the person she supports and his family. Being in the community for appointments, she shows great care and participates in medical visits. She shows excellent caregiving skills while on appointments and makes sure the person she supports is engaged in outings.

Top Three Attributes

  • Person-centered
  • Dedicated
  • Team player

Catreina Roberson

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 months

Nominated by: Kimberly McNair

Here are the Highlights from Catreina’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support
Catreina has advocated for the people she supports by exposing and educating them on price comparison and what to look for when shopping.  This has helped the people she supports become more independent and knowledgeable when spending their financial resources.

Enhancing Community Participation
Catreina works with the people she supports to expose them to different places, including locations outside of Harford County.  They have taken day trips to different tourist locations in other areas to learn and expose the people she supports to other cultures.

Top Three Attributes

  • Team player
  • Willingness to learn
  • Humorous

Chinazom Onyejekwe

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 3 years, 3 months

Nominated by: PBS Committee

Here are the Highlights from Chinazom’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Chinazom supports a person who had a goal to meet and get to know the neighbors in their community.  Chinazom worked with this person on how to greet new people, ask questions, and build relationships.  The person was able to accomplish this goal and get to know people in their neighborhood.

Displaying Leadership
Chinazom has displayed leadership skills by sharing feedback and information in team house meetings.  This feedback also allowed peers to better support people in the home. She constantly motivates the other employees and people we support to reach their goals.

Top Three Attributes

  • Helpful
  • Kind
  • Motivational

Christanna Brown

Title/Department: Social Worker/Treatment Foster Care

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 9 months

Nominated by: Nanette Silveroli

Here are the Highlights from Christanna’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Christanna is a dedicated employee who responds to her foster families when there is a crisis. She recently spent the night at a local emergency room with a foster youth while waiting for them to receive the outpatient care and services they needed. Christanna was able to keep this particular youth calm through the relationship she had built with them.  This allowed the child to feel more comfortable while receiving care.

Displaying Leadership
Christanna participates on the Positive Behavioral Supports Committee and has been an active member for over a year. She has led foster parent trainings about the court system and suicide prevention as well as co-leading training on the ARC (Attachment, Regulation, Competency) evidence-based model. She has excellent writing skills, and her progress notes are well-written and provide a true picture of the situation. Additionally, Christanna has helped out her co-workers when there are schedule conflicts, and they have to be in two places at the same time.

Top Three Attributes

  • Dedicated
  • Team Player
  • Develops Positive Relationships

Christine Cameron

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 7 years, 9 months

Nominated by: Swanisha Hinton

Here are the Highlights from Christine’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Everything Christine does is person-centered. As a veteran staff, she ensures every person she supports receives quality support and care.  Christine has trained and supported other team members to provide the same quality of care throughout the day.  She reviews daily logs and ensures medications aren’t expired and all information is communicated.  Christine is always interacting and speaking positive words to the person she supports.  During the pandemic, Christine worked long hours and jumped in to support people without complaint.  Her energy is contagious, and her patience is never ending.

Advocating for People We Support

If the people Christine supports need additional assistance, she is there to ensure they are supported. For instance, a gentleman who receives 24 hours/7 days a week support experienced medical issues that required additional lifting and more personal care. Christine increased her support to ensure this person had what they needed during this time.  This gentleman has not left his home in some time except for medical appointments, yet Christine assists him with always looking his best.

Top Three Attributes

  • Dedicated
  • Compassionate
  • Flexible

Christine Irby

Title/Department: House Supervisor/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 7 months

Nominated by: Kiara Butler and Cindy Burns

Here are the Highlights from Christine’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support

Recently, a person Christine supports complained of leg pain and while this person’s doctor said issue was minor, Christine made sure a walker/chair could be ordered to use while on outings that require a lot of walking. Christine wanted to make sure this person could continue participating in activities as this was important to them.

In addition, on another occasion Christine helped a person she supports communicate with a doctor during a recent visit.  Christine connected a family member of the person she supports with the doctor who was able to assist with the conversation and helping communicate needs.  This communication helped ensure this person received the care they needed during this time.

Displaying Leadership

Christine shows leadership skills by not hesitating to speak up regarding situations involving the people she supports. She puts their well-being above what others may think and does not take the easy way out of a situation.  In addition, when in team meetings Christine constantly provides ideas on how the people supported in the home can be involved in community activities and/or vacations.

Top Three Attributes

  • Personable
  • Smart
  • Knowledgeable

Corrin Beach

Title/Department: Quality Enhancement Manager/Quality Enhancement

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years

Nominated by: PBS Committee/Shining Stars

Here are the Highlights from Corrin’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support

Corrin regularly trains team members about the importance of human rights for people supported by The Arc NCR.  She ensures that all team members are aware and knowledgeable of the agency’s person-centered philosophy and develops solutions for team members if they are in need of ideas.

Displaying Leadership

Corrin is willing to help and/or participate in team meetings and trainings and truly cares about those we support. Corrin remains calm and non-reactive to situations that are stressful. Her calm demeanor helps set the tone and keep other team members calm in challenging situations.

Top Three Attributes

  • Level-headed
  • Smart
  • Willing to help others

Deierra Johnson

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 months

Nominated by: Kimberly McNair

Here are the Highlights from Deierra’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Deierra started working on the Community Living home she supports now after initially starting as fill in support when needed.  She soon became a permanent team member of the house and has worked one-on-one to support a person who needed additional support.  Deierra has supported this person to attend more community outings, allowing them to be more social, develop new relationships and friendships, and feel less isolated. She is extremely mission oriented.

Advocating for People We Support

Deierra has been exceptional at advocating for the person she supports to visit her family more frequently, as well as supporting her in the planning and logistics of doing so.  She has also helped this person become more independent.

Top Three Attributes

  • Patient
  • Sense of Humor
  • Great communicator

Dennis Pink

Title/Department: House Supervisor/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 4 years, 5 months

Nominated by: Deisha McDaniel

Here are the Highlights from Dennis’ nomination:

Advocating for People We Support

Dennis excels at advocating for the people he supports.  He is great at communicating what the people he supports are expressing, as well as what they need or want.  He ensures their requests are heard for smaller items such as a new cable box being needed, to wanting to set up a time to visit with family.

Displaying Leadership

Dennis is a true leader.  He regularly checks in with his team, and communicates any changes or activities coming up, such as appointments or trainings.  He is always willing to cover shifts when team members have unexpected conflicts that arise.

Top Three Attributes

  • Stays on top of his job
  • Kind
  • Caring

Erika Bridgeforth

Title/Department: Psych Support Specialist/Clinical Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 11 months

Nominated by: PBS Committee

Here are the Highlights from Erika’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Erika has been super helpful to not only the Clinical Department but also every team she gets to work with. Erika is knowledgeable and shares outside resources that can help team members and people we support. She truly follows the mission of The Arc NCR on a daily basis.

Advocating for People We Support

Erika has shared observable information about people we support and their health-related concerns to teams so that they can best support each person.  Erika is a true advocate for the people we support at The Arc NCR.

Top Three Attributes

  • Understanding
  • Teamwork
  • Willing to Help

Erna Coley

Title/Department: House Supervisor/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 11 years, 10 months

Nominated by: PBS Committee, Holly Ritchie, Shining Stars Nomination

Here are the Highlights from Erna’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Erna makes sure that her team has what they need to provide the best support possible. She has useful house meetings with support teams so that DSPs have a way to provide feedback and gain new knowledge. Erna goes above and beyond in advocating for The Arc NCR’s mission.

Enhancing Community Participation

Erna recently helped her team plan outings for the ladies and gentlemen at two Community Living homes. Erna also continuously suggests community-based outings for both homes she supervises. One example of this is she organized a day trip to the beach for both Community Living homes she supervises. Currently she is working with the new day programs to get all the individuals back into programs that benefit them.

Top Three Attributes

  • Positive
  • Supportive
  • Mission-driven

Flossie Rosser

Title/Department: FSS Navigator/FSS

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 11 months 

Nominated by: Lauren Neubauer 

Here are the Highlights from Flossie’s nomination

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Flossie offers a wealth of knowledge to families who are new to DDA/diagnoses/school systems. Throughout the pandemic, Flossie implemented a Social Skills group by calling upon her interns from Harford Community College. Flossie is mission driven and always displays this in her daily activities.

Displaying Leadership

Flossie saw the need and opportunity to begin a virtual Social Skills program this year. She was able to delegate to interns and still allow them creative liberties to develop classes that would be helpful to all people we support.  Flossie is a true leader!

Top Three Attributes

  • Intelligent
  • Opinionated
  • Kind

Hakeem Hines

Title/Department: Employment Coach/Employment Services

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 4 years

Nominated by: Cyril Khan

Here are the Highlights from Hakeem’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Hakeem continues to demonstrate The Arc NCR’s mission through supporting people on the agency’s Career Exploration team, day in and day out.  Hakeem is very attentive to each crew member, working with them to build hard and soft work skills, giving equal time to each person being trained.

Displaying Leadership

Hakeem has displayed leadership in his position by providing consistent feedback on bettering the program, particularly when it comes to cost effective ideas on supplies, and work routines with crew members.  He has been vital in the development of this program.

Top Three Attributes

  • Passionate
  • Mission driven
  • Committed

Hassanah Abdullah

Title/Department: DSP/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 5 months

Nominated by: Shelby Anderson, Erika Bridgeforth, PBS Committee/Shining Stars Nomination

Here are the Highlights from Hassanah’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Hassanah started with us earlier in 2021 and has been exceptional from the start. She is an active member in our Certification and Apprenticeship Program, is willing to jump in and help the team, shares mission moments with highlights, and supports people in living their best life. She demonstrates the mission of The Arc NCR by empowering the people she supports to live independently as possible in their home while providing respect and encouraging self-determination.

Displaying Leadership

During Apprenticeship meetings Hassanah is an active participant, shares experiences, and encourages others to chime in. Her energy is infectious and motivates those around her. Hassanah has displayed leadership in her position by taking the initiative on tasks. Hassanah shares what works for her when supporting someone, listens to others, and gives feedback to them in productive and positive ways.

Top Three Attributes

  • Mission Driven
  • Passionate
  • Positive Leader

Iva Mack

Title/Department: DSP/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 6 months

Nominated by: Mari Towonde, Shining Stars Nomination by Erna Coley, Alice Mbugua

Here are the Highlights from Iva’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

I call Iva “Wonder Woman” because she never complains, leaves from a full-time job, and always puts in the work at the Community Living home where she works.  She always engages with the people she supports and cares for them with all her heart.  Iva has a passion for our mission, is a team player, and is also kind, patient, and a good listener.

Enhancing Community Participation

Iva has been very helpful in getting the person she supports logged in, muted/unmuted, and participating in virtual groups throughout the pandemic. She encourages them to work through their fears and learn to do things by themselves while out in the community.

Top Three Attributes

  • Kind
  • Good listener
  • Patient

Jennifer McGann

Title/Department: Job Developer/Employment Services

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 15 years, 11 months

Nominated by: Joseph Hughes

Here are the Highlights from Jennifer’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Everything that Jenn does through her work each day as a Job Developer assists people we support to live, work and thrive in the community! She is focused on supporting people to be included in their community through competitive employment.   Employment creates independence, friendships, and a sense of accomplishment. Jenn’s work for the past 16 years has been devoted to this mission in support of people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive in the community!

Displaying Leadership

When The Arc NCR had to make the decision to cease direct transportation services within the Employment Services Program, Jenn stepped up as a leader to support each person in gaining access to alternative forms of transportation.   She researched options, the cost for each person, presented the findings in meetings, and facilitated the process with and on behalf of the people she supports.  Jenn displays leadership in her role every day at The Arc NCR!

Top Three Attributes

  • Passionate
  • Dedicated
  • Person Centered

Jessica Bonsiero

Title/Department: DSP/Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 3 months

Nominated by: Lori C.

Here are the Highlights from Jessica’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Jessica has been such a positive influence for me for a long time. She has taught me many things.  I admire Jessica because she shows great concern for others, especially peers.  Jessica is the most trusting, responsible, respectful worker that I have ever had.  I believe she had gone above and beyond the call of duty. She is very good at helping me with cleaning and is a true mission-driven employee. I just can’t say enough amazing things about her.

Enhancing Community Participation

Jessica always asks me what I want to do out in the community! She loves taking me places that I want to go, and we always have fun together.  While out in the community, we have a great time together and joke around a lot. She is such an awesome woman! Thank you to Jessica for always being so supportive.  I admire her dedication to her hard work at The Arc NCR!

Top Three Attributes

  • Honesty
  • Positive Role Model
  • Mission-driven

Jessica Jackson

Title/Department: Job Coach/Employment Services

# of Years with The Arc NCR2 years, 9 months

Nominated by: Madicella Martinez, Leslie Kydd Shining Stars Nomination, Neill Christopher

Here are the Highlights from Jessica’s nomination:

Displaying Leadership

Jessica provides thoughtful feedback to support teams during team meetings.

Jessica has served as a peer trainer for all incoming coaches and has helped develop and implement our team’s coaching strategy.  She was one of the first DSP III’s in the nation!  She frequently reaches out to other coaches to help them manage their caseloads, and always participates in balancing caseloads as new coaches join the team.

Enhancing Community Participation

Jessica continues to support those working in the community to ensure that they have what they need to continue community-based employment. Jessica is great at helping people she supports cultivate natural supports in the workplace.  She works to assure that all coworkers understand the abilities of the new hire and to focus on them and their assets.  She was part of a team that developed a Disability Awareness program for an employer whose management had requested guidance in this area.

Top Three Attributes

  • Thoughtful
  • Person-centered Leader
  • Motivational

Joanne Epps

Title/Department: DSP/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 10 months

Nominated by: Deisha McDaniel, Madicella Martinez

Here are the Highlights from Joanne’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Joanne advocates for the people she supports, comes into work every day and gets the job done in a loving and caring way.  The people she supports really appreciate her.  She provides quality care for the gentlemen who live in the Community Living home where she works.  She knows the men well and works with them providing feedback and suggestions for goals and progress and wants to help them become more independent. She has been working with one person on daily living skills such as personal hygiene and empowering him to do things for himself and initiating the tasks. Recently, in his prep meeting, she shared that he had independently squeezed his toothpaste on his toothbrush after a couple of months of working towards this goal!

Displaying Leadership

Joanne goes above and beyond for the people she supports in the Community Living home where she works.  She is a true leader!  Joanne is hospitable with visitors, welcomes employees on team meetings, and appreciates sharing feedback and suggestions. Recently, in a prep meeting she helped to ensure the other team members in the house were aware of what works best for the people she supports so that consistency is always provided.

Top Three Attributes

  • Team Player
  • Loving
  • Passionate

Kaitlyn Allen

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Partners

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 2 months

Nominated by: Sarah Ortiz-Brown

Here are the Highlights from Kaitlyn’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support

Kaitlyn regularly advocates for the people supported at The Arc NCR. Most recently she identified 4 people to receive supports in the seniors group for Community Partners. Although I had already identified a different group of people, Kaitlyn shared her knowledge and experience of each person, what was important to each of them, and the relationships that were developed pre-COVID-19. This resulted in a new group of 4 receiving supports, engaging in meaningful activities, and re-establishing relationships.

Displaying Leadership

Kaitlyn returned to Community Partners after being with Community Living for over one year. Kaitlyn immediately began to identify community resources and reestablish contacts. As new team members were hired, Kaitlyn was identified as the peer-trainer and quickly demonstrated her initiative. She began identifying future small groups using a person-centered approach and shared her personal experiences and knowledge to ensure groups would be able to engage in meaningful activities. Kaitlyn asked about growth opportunities in the department and indicated she wanted to be considered for a Lead position. Once she was provided with the job description and requirements, she went above and beyond and obtained her DSP II and DSP III simultaneously.

Top Three Attributes

  • Passion for the mission
  • Empathy
  • Excitement

Karen Guilbault

Title/Department: TFC Recruiter/Treatment Foster Care

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 4 years

Nominated by: Steve Acerno, PBS Committee, Nanette Silveroli

Here are the Highlights from Karen’s nomination:

Displaying Leadership

Through her excellent organizational skills, Karen has been very successful in splitting her time between recruitment of foster families and administrative work for the Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program. She has taken a leadership role in the tracking and monitoring of client records as well as developing a recruitment plan.

Karen was assisting a different department out, and her leadership showed everyone how breaking down silos is achievable. Karen is a great public speaker and along with the Director of Treatment Foster Care holds online information meetings for new prospective foster families, leads the pre-service PRIDE trainings for new families and co-leads many in service trainings for foster families.

Enhancing Community Participation

Karen is in the community on a regular basis to identify families who would be willing to become foster parents. Karen educates community members by highlighting the needs of the kids we support. She continues to help in identifying possible resources for both foster families and youth in foster care. Karen also organizes the foster parent quarterly events and follows up, calling and emailing to make sure she has gotten a response from everyone who wants to participate. She has provided the team, foster children and foster parents with bracelets or key chains with their “word” and new foster parents get a key chain with their date of approval stamped on it.

Top Three Attributes

  • Positive attitude
  • Team Player
  • Advocate

Karin Elsmore Hines

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 4 years, 4 months

Nominated by: Susan LaFond

Here are the Highlights from Karin’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Karin takes great pride in her work and truly cares about the people she supports.  A person living in the home where Karin works was struggling with self-esteem issues.  Karin noticed this and decided to develop a plan to provide this person with positive thoughts.  Karen wrote, in dry erase marker, on the mirror of the person she supports, five things that would help them think positive thoughts. These steps have worked towards building better self-esteem and the family of the person supported was extremely appreciative of the steps she took to make this happen.

Advocating for People We Support

Karin has advocated for people she supports many times.  More specifically, she has continued to help someone she supports stay focused on finding a job, creating goals to keep her motivated, and engaging this person in more community outings.

Top Three Attributes

  • Kindness
  • Positivity
  • Incredible Work Ethic

Kenda Smith

Title/Department: DSP/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 10 months

Nominated by: Reannon Dawson

Here are the Highlights from Kenda’s nomination:

Displaying Leadership

Kenda is a natural leader, she is always willing to help out wherever needed. She is a huge asset to the Community Living home where she works.  She also continues to offer support to her peers and Supervisors as much as possible. She always goes above and beyond to be sure that the people she supports needs are being met. She always has a positive attitude!!!

Enhancing Community Participation

Kenda works with her peers to make a schedule to take the people she supports out each week. They are always out participating in fun activities while keeping safe during the pandemic. Kenda knows the importance of getting people she supports out in the community. Each week she makes a schedule of different activities they can do with the people she supports such as going to parks, car rides and visiting local restaurants. She is always keeping people she supports active!

Top Three Attributes

  • Team player
  • Communication
  • Determination

Kim Coleman

Title/Department: DSP/Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 21 years, 2 months

Nominated by: Nancy Knaub

Here are the Highlights from Kim nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Kim has been amazing at maintaining stability for the people she supports, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She always displays professionalism and works very hard in assisting the people she supports while out in the community!

Enhancing Community Participation

Kim enhances community participation by going to the gym on scheduled visits a few times a week with the person she supports.  She supports them by helping the person work out, as well as interact with other gym members.  She also enjoys providing this person with the opportunity to take walks on the Promenade in Havre de Grace while he learns to interact with people there as well.

Top Three Attributes

  • Reliability
  • Caring
  • Respectful

Kim Thomas Brooks

Title/Department: DSP/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 5 months

Nominated by: Kimberly McNair, PBS Committee-Shining Stars Nomination

Here are the Highlights from Kim’s nomination:

Displaying Leadership

Kim displays leadership in her position regularly.  She is excellent with managing shifts, as knowing the correct process for filing important paperwork, making sure everything is signed correctly.  Kim is always willing to manage and medical appointments, at any hour, to make sure that the people she supports have what they need.

Enhancing Community Participation

Kim has engaged the people she supports in the Community Living home to participate in activities including yard sales in the neighborhood, shopping in thrift stores and consignment shops and visits to the salon for hair appointments.

Top Three Attributes

  • Team player
  • Patient
  • Detail-oriented

Kimberly McNair

Title/Department: DSP/Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 2 months

Nominated by: Kim Thomas-Brooks

Here are the Highlights from Kimberly’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Kimberly has continued to set and model high standards that are attainable for her team and the people she supports in the Community Living home where she works.  She has been a team player, motivator, coach, supervisor, advocate, and role model for the people she supports.

Enhancing Community Participation

Kimberly has encouraged the people she supports to research and participate in various activities in the community. I have never heard her say “you can’t.” She encourages them to make informed decisions by doing research and planning, while she observes. She is always there to help if needed.

Top Three Attributes

  • Strong
  • Caring
  • Resourceful

Lauren Neubauer

Title/Department: Clinical Behavior Analyst/Clinical Behavior

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 8 months

Nominated by: Erna Coley

Here are the Highlights from Lauren’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Lauren is very professional in what she does, keeping up with the needs and interests of the people we support. She makes sure team members are trained and supported during trying times. Lauren always gives us a different way to look at a situation to find the best solution to any problem. She always has an open door at any time if needed!

Displaying Leadership:

Lauren is always punctual for meetings and supports the team. She is always sharing great information that we might have missed in order to keep the team aware of what is going on at The Arc NCR. She sends information on community activities to ensure people we support live a meaningful life.

Top Three Attributes

  • Passionate
  • Great Attitude
  • Dependable

Lisette Bullock

Title/Department: Quality Enhancement Specialist/ Quality Enhancement

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 1 month

Nominated by: Corrin Beach

Here are the Highlights from Lisette’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Lisette started in the Quality Enhancement (QE) Department at the very beginning of the pandemic and had to learn her job while working remotely. She has demonstrated time and time again that she is devoted to the mission and the people we support. She routinely attends house meetings to advocate the importance of providing quality support. She will take time to explain the WHY of things to team members and the people we support. She has advocated for the finances, health, and safety of people we support by completing financial and safety assessments. She has completed house reviews to make sure we are in compliance with DDA. No matter her position in the agency (DSP/QE Coordinator/QE Specialist) she has always put the person she supports first. She advocates and encourages people she supports to be independent. She is willing to go above and beyond for her team, peers, and people we support by making time to understand other people’s perspective and explain the why of things.

Advocating for People We Support:

During the past year, a person she had previously supported had difficulty with finances. She worked with Coordination of Community Services (CCS) and Case Managers to advocate and provide feedback. She remained flexible for the team to make sure the person was comfortable and that a financial support plan was created.

Top Three Attributes

  • Mission Oriented
  • Positive
  • Caring

Matt Marinovich

Title/Department: DSP/Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR:  2 years, 8 months

Nominated by: Nancy Knaub

Here are the Highlights from Matt’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission

Matt has been amazing at maintaining stability for the person he supports, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt always displays professionalism every day and he works very hard in assisting this individual he supports while out in the community!

Advocating for People We Support

Matt advocated for the person he supports by helping to reduce the amount of his cable bill for more affordability. He also gives him guidance when shopping for groceries and staples for daily needs.

Top Three Attributes

  • Reliability
  • Caring
  • Respectful

Madicella Martinez

Title/Department: Advocacy and Database Manager/ Case Management

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 7 years, 6 months

Nominated by: Kristen Schnell, Laura Deigert, Ronak Vaidya and Katelynn Selchert

Here are the Highlights from Madicella’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Madicella fully embodies The Arc NCR’s mission every single day with the work that she does. One great example of her dedication is how she handled the changes that were put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did Madicella take the lead in uncertain times and guide the Case Management team in how to navigate teleworking, but Madicella also took great lengths to make sure all the families we support knew what was going on and knew that they were still supported. Madicella was also very instrumental in helping organize and advocate for the people we support to get access to COVID-19 vaccines. She is also a great leader and creates a positive atmosphere. She sends her team a new motivation every Monday morning, as well as sets up helpful reminders in the Case Managers calendars for when things are due.

Advocating for People We Support:

Madicella advocated for a person we support who wanted to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. She helped facilitate meetings with the family while working with the Employment Services team to get the person we support back to work. Because of her advocacy, this person successfully transitioned into the working environment.

Top Three Attributes

  • Passionate
  • Accommodating
  • Communicative

Mandy Keene

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 1 month

Nominated by: Dylan Rogers and Virginia Brown

Here are the Highlights from Mandy’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support:

Mandy assists a person she supports as the lead DSP on medical appointments, social outings, and team meetings. Mandy has recently advocated for this person to return to work, and they have recently started a new job. She was a vital team player in making this happen!

Enhancing Community Participation:

Mandy encourages the people she supports to participate in a variety of community engagements including visiting family, engaging with neighbors, and attending community functions. Mandy is always attentive to the people she supports and goes above and beyond to help them in whatever they need.

Top Three Attributes

  • Communicative
  • Reliable
  • Mission Driven

Margaret D’Agostaro

Title/Department: DORS Transition Specialist/ DORS

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 4 months

Nominated by: Sherry Klapaska

Here are the Highlights from Margaret’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support:

Margaret is a strong advocate for those she supports. She helps people we support break down barriers that impede employment success. Margaret was recently able to successfully advocate with an employer for additional hours for someone she supports.

Displaying Leadership:

Margaret is an excellent oral communicator and is very results oriented.  She demonstrates professionalism when interacting with employers. Margaret helps people we support find work that matches their skills, interests and preferences.

Top Three Attributes

  • Driven
  • Articulate
  • Mission Oriented

Maria Moscovitz

Title/Department: PS/ISS Support Coach/ Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 5 months

Nominated by: Gail Wilson

Here are the Highlights from Maria’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Maria consistently encourages the people she supports to participate in the community.  She encourages appropriate interactions with other members of the community or with colleagues at the workplace. Maria will often think ‘outside the box’ to provide explanations and examples when needed to help the people she supports understand the current situation.

Advocating for People We Support:

Maria has consistently advocated for the person she supports, particularly when someone has been unkind or unaware of the individual’s disability.

Top Three Attributes

  • Empathetic
  • Determined
  • Mission-Driven

Melissa Johnson

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 1 month

Nominated by: Kimberly McNair

Here are the Highlights from Melissa’s nomination:

Displaying Leadership:

Melissa has taken initiative in her work and is always willing to help in any way possible. She takes the lead during her shift, completes all needed paperwork, and shows her strength in her role.

Enhancing Community Participation:

Melissa engages the people she supports to participate in all activities in the community.  She will also participate to show them they can conquer and participate in anything they put their mind to.

Top Three Attributes

  • Team Player
  • Quick Learner
  • Adaptable

Michael Welch

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 10 months

Nominated by: Corey Johnson

Here are the Highlights from Michael’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Michael is always willing to help wherever he is needed and picks up extra shifts if asked. Michael gives feedback during team meetings on goals/activities that the people he supports are interested in.

Enhancing Community Participation:

Michael encourages the people he supports to engage in the community, and he also helps the rest of his team increase community participation with the people they support.

Top Three Attributes

  • Thoughtful
  • Helpful
  • Willing

Natarra Duffus

Title/Department: House Supervisor/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 7 months

Nominated by: Hassanah Abdullah

Here are the Highlights from Natarra’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Natarra shows compassion and respect for all her employees as well as the people we support. She has great leadership abilities and always goes the extra mile to help us and provide guidance so that we understand the duties of our jobs better.

Advocating for People We Support:

Natarra has advocated for a person she supports to receive a membership to the YMCA. She was able to receive a membership for everyone in the Community Living Home and it has made all the difference. All the people in the Community Living home are happy that they can participate in swimming classes.

Top Three Attributes

  • Helpful
  • Reliable
  • Professional

Pam Rohde

Title/Department: Staff Accountant/ Finance

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 9 months

Nominated by: Rhonda Gerding

Here are the Highlights from Pam’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Although Pam is in Finance, which is a supporting administrative department to our mission, she demonstrates a sense of loyalty and dedication in her job to provide the best services for her peers, people we support, and team members.  She is a team player and always willing to help other employees with answering questions and providing information on special requests. When people we support come into our office, she is always willing to help them in any way she can and takes an interest in them and their needs.

Displaying Leadership:

In preparation for our annual audit, Pam has stepped up and taken on additional tasks/reconciliations/projects not previously done by her in order to help out the team.  This initiative was taken in addition to completing her regular work duties in a timely manner. She is always offering to help other team members even when she has her own deadlines to meet.

Top Three Attributes

  • Team Player
  • Driven/Results Oriented
  • Caring

Ruth Uzzell

Title/Department: PS/ISS Support Coach/ Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 2 years, 3 months

Nominated by: Nena Peaker

Here are the Highlights from Ruth’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Ruth is flexible and comes in early or stays late to ensure that her team is supported and those they support have what they need. Ruth and her team encourage community participation with the people they support as often as possible to ensure they are having meaningful experiences.

Displaying Leadership:

Ruth leads by example and makes sure new team members are learning how to do their job correctly. Ruth shares her thoughts and gives feedback during team meetings that is helpful to the group.

Top Three Attributes

  • Helpful
  • Committed
  • Caring

Sloane Young

Title/Department: PS/ISS Support Coach/ Personal Supports

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 4 months

Nominated by: Dylan Rogers and Madicella Martinez

Here are the Highlights from Sloane’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Sloane is very passionate about her job and what she does. The people she works with and their families often share about how much her support means to them. Recently, a person she supports said the following about Sloane and her supports, “Supports are going great with Sloane. She is consistent, on time, and is so positive.” This is really important coming from a person we support that has seen employee turnover and takes a while to build relationships with new team members.

Enhancing Community Participation:

Sloane is always looking for activities in the community that the people she supports may enjoy and has frequently worked outside of her scheduled time to support them in these endeavors.

Top Three Attributes

  • Passionate
  • Kind-hearted
  • Reliable

Taofeekat Ajose

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 6 months

Nominated by: Marlice Roberts

Here are the Highlights from Taofeekat’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Taofeekat (TK) is a dedicated team member of The Arc NCR.  Her work embodies the mission of The Arc NCR, which is to empower people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive in the community.  She assists the person she supports with cleaning, grocery shopping, getting haircuts, staying organized, and preparing for the work week.  TK has built a healthy relationship with this person, and they have mutual respect for each other, which builds this person’s confidence within the community.  The person she supports, and the family are so glad to have TK as a Direct Support Professional. Since COVID-19, this person needed increased supports.  The parents reached out to the team for more support and once the request was approved, TK had no problem with accommodating the increased hours of support.

Displaying Leadership:

TK is a very reliable employee.  She displays leadership in the way she communicates with both her supervisor and with the person she supports.  She ensures that if any changes occur, she effectively and timely communicates those changes with her supervisor, the person she supports and the family members.  She leaves no stone unturned when it comes to effective communication. This type of communication and accountability makes for a very impressive employee.

Top Three Attributes

  • Reliable
  • Thorough
  • Compassionate

Tiffinay Green

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 5 months

Nominated by: Christine Irby

Here are the Highlights from Tiffinay’s nomination:

Advocating for People We Support:

Tiffinay advocates regularly for the people she supports. While working at another Community Living Home, Tiffinay advocated for the people she supported by letting the House Supervisor know they loved going to the movies and that they wanted to go every Friday. Her communication and advocacy have positively impacted the people she supports.

Displaying Leadership:

Tiffinay is hard-working and is a team player. She helped set goals with the person she supports and exceeded expectations. She took charge and showed the whole house how to work with the person we support on increasing community engagement.

Top Three Attributes

  • Mission Driven
  • Hard-Working
  • Dedicated

Virginia Brown

Title/Department: House Supervisor/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year

Nominated by: Lauren Neubauer

Here are the Highlights from Virginia’s nomination:

Demonstrating The Arc NCR’s Mission:

Virginia leads a team at one of the Community Living homes and encourages them to help each person reach their goals and improve quality of life. During house meetings, Virginia shares meaningful feedback and information to help team members receive additional training.

Displaying Leadership:

Virginia is helpful, positive, and kind. She is able to assist the team in finding resources they need, and support those in the home. Virginia encourages the team to work on community-based goals and has herself taken the people she supports out to the community, leading by example.

Top Three Attributes

  • Kind
  • Hard Working
  • Focused

Walde Diabate

Title/Department: Community Living Coach/ Community Living

# of Years with The Arc NCR: 1 year, 11 months

Nominated by: Heidi Rainville

Here are the Highlights from Walde’s nomination:

Displaying Leadership:

Walde educates her team if there is a problem and advocates for her team members to receive appropriate support and training to support the people living within the Community Living Home.

Enhancing Community Participation:

Walde has encouraged the person she supports to remain active, and this person has benefited greatly from her support. They now exercise regularly and engage in their community consistently.

Top Three Attributes

  • Intelligent
  • Kind/Caring
  • Advocate

In addition to those recognized above, The Arc NCR also has monthly nominations for our Shining Stars initiative. Shining Stars are employees who have been recognized as exemplifying The Arc NCR’s mission of empowering people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive. These employees are the lifeblood of the organization and help to keep our mission going, even through years as challenging as this last one has been. The slideshow below highlights this year’s Shining Stars.

Thank you to all of our team members listed above for making a difference in the lives of those supported by The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region. It is an honor to celebrate your work and commitment to our mission.

To learn more about the work of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region and how you can support it, contact Development at development@arcncr.org or call 410-837-7177.

The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region is proud to stand with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals in elevating the status of the Direct Support Professional role, and we are excited to offer their certification program to our team members. Reach out to the Human Resources Department to find out how you can take advantage of this great opportunity. The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region wants to invest in you and your professional development. Contact HR@arcncr.org

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Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Mailing Address
4513 Philadelphia Road
Aberdeen, MD 21001
Phone: (410) 836-7177
Fax: (410) 893-3909