Making a difference for Joey and more

Attending meetings and trainings have become just an everyday thing for me. It is part of my daily tasks and responsibilities. In August, I was reminded about the importance of our work at Tobosa. We attended a meeting for a Tobosa family centered around how we support individuals with making daily choices. During this meeting/presentation, I was truly inspired and it reminded of the small gratifications that we don’t get to see everyday.

This meeting started with the typical introduction from our Executive Director, Rosy Rubio. We were meeting to discuss the federal mandated CMS Final Rule and how that will have an impact on our agency and the individuals within our services. You can learn more about the CMS Final Rule and get updates in regards to it on There were several videos shown regarding the meaning and purpose of Direct Support Professionals (our staff who provide direct support to individuals challenged by developmental disabilities). These videos were followed up by a brief discussion on Person Centered Planning and what that means.

Joey talking about his experience.
Joey talking about his experience.

Person Centered Planning is the basis and foundation that Tobosa is set on. We strive daily to make sure our programs and services are geared toward individuals and their needs and wants. When we began discussing this topic in the meeting, Rosy made as in invitation for the crowd to share was her testimony about how she believes that our employees can learn so much from the individuals we support, especially when we sit back and let them make daily choices. I was overwhelmed with joy as Joey, a man receiving supported living services through Tobosa, shared his experience. Joey raised his hand and was called on. It was as if he was moved by his own excitement. He chose to come to the front of the room and address the whole group. Joey who just a year and a half ago, was very shy and did not speak out often, stood and addressed the whole group. He talked about getting to live in a house of his own and getting to live with two other gentlemen that were his friends. Joey also informed the group that he makes his own lunch everyday and enjoys doing so. He gets to pick out what goes in his lunch and then he puts it all in his lunch cooler. Joey went on to share that he also enjoys cooking his own breakfast and that he gets to go and do what he wants to throughout the day. Joey exclaimed these things with such certainty and excitement that it really made me think of all of the things that I take for granted in my own life.

Picture of Joey sings the national anthem.
Joey sings the national anthem at the 39th annual awards ceremony.

After speaking with our group on the daily choices they make in regards to the services they receive from Tobosa, I can say we are right on track with the CMS Final Rule regulations. It is very apparent that the individuals within our service are happy with their autonomy. As I think about the daily choices they make with great enthusiasm, I consider the choices I take for granted. For this reason, I am pledging that I will make my time here at Tobosa count. I will continue to advocate for them and their daily choices. I pledge that I will think outside of the box to create opportunities for them and their daily choices. I will also give to them what I can to make sure governing systems do not interfere with their programming, services, activities, and projects. Make this pledge with me.

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