The staff at Tobosa assist individuals who are challenged by developmental disabilities. Staff assist them to live in their homes and in the community as independently as possible. These individuals have goals and dreams which staff assist them to reach and fulfill.
In Tobosa’s supportive living program, each individual lives in a home, with one or more housemates. They are supported by staff at home with their daily living skills. The staff support them in the community to access community resources and work and attend community events. Staff also encourage and assist the individuals to advocate for themselves and others. In each house, staff work as a team to make sure the individual’s needs are met.
The “Poe” team is responsible for the individuals living on Poe street. The staff are Erika Leyva, Catherine Brady, Evette Cereceres, and Gracie Raigoza. This year, Tobosa recognized the Poe team with the Team Recognition Award at the overall staff meeting. I would like to extend the recognition to the four awesome ladies by posting a few more words about their accomplishments, including the transition of Emily Harmon into the program.
These ladies took on the positions at the Poe house knowing that Emily faced extreme challenges and that her transition would be difficult. They were primarily responsible for assisting Emily to adjust to living without her mom and dad whom she lived with for 35 years. Staff had to assist her to become independent with her daily living skills. They would assist Emily out in the community to interact with new people and adjust to a whole new schedule. Staff was also responsible for Emily’s health and safety. Emily had a routine that she did daily with her parents, but because of Tobosa’s and the State of NM’s regulations, staff would have to assist Emily with changes in her routine.
The first achievements with Emily was gaining her trust. Because of her deafness, communication was difficult at first. Staff learned simple sign language and with time, they put together their own ways of communicating. After that, they helped Emily accomplish other achievements like sitting down at the dinner table through the entire meal and letting us assist her with her medication. I was shocked when I first saw her drink a glass of water out of a cup. To keep her hydrated, her parents had to use a syringe and dilute the water with root beer first.
We’ve seen other major accomplishments from Emily as well. I see her with staff out in the community attending community functions with less agitation all while acquiring friends. When she lived with her parents, she slept in their room. Once she was in the program, she wouldn’t stay or sleep in her room without staff. Now she will sleep a few hours alone in her room. These accomplishments may seem small, but to Emily’s team they are major and rewarding accomplishments on the way toward independence.
I am fortunate to be the Team Lead for this team. I have watched these ladies go above and beyond to make Emily secure with her new independent lifestyle. Even though there is still challenges with Emily, each of these ladies still have the patience of saints. When I listen to them share ideas and experiences to assist Emily, I like how each of them are open to try each other’s ideas. They are not afraid to admit when they are wrong and own up to their mistakes. I feel that because of the communication between each of them, Emily’s health and safety is in great hands. To me the bond between these ladies is the main reason for Emily’s success.