Feb 15 2017

February Member Spotlight!

Posted by: Christine Batista

The Caring Force is pleased to announce the February Member Spotlight honoree is Ashley Stone, the Lead Case Manager at Community Work Services.

In the short time that Ashley has been at Community Work Services, she has already played an integral role in launching Pathways, a pre-employment transition program for high school students with disabilities. In addition to her hard work, her passion and high energy do not go unnoticed.

Here’s a little more information about Ashley and what she had to say about working in human services:

Organization: Community Work Services

Years in human services: I have been working in human services professionally for seven years, but prior to starting my professional career, I volunteered and completed service learning with a variety of human service organizations for about four years.

Job title: Lead Case Manager

Best professional memory: There are too many to choose from to be honest, but one that always will stand out is a bit pre-professional. One of my best memories in the human service field is from when I worked at Easter Seals Wisconsin Camps one summer as the High Ropes and Climbing Director. I worked with a young woman diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy who had recently transitioned from using a wheelchair to a walker and never had the opportunity to climb a rock wall or a high ropes course because of her limited mobility.

We had adaptive equipment that would allow her to climb primarily by using her arms only or we could hand-over-hand buddy climb, but she really wanted to use her “newly strong legs and climb independently” as she would say. We worked together to figure out a way for her to do that without taking away her independence; instead of climbing behind her, I climbed beside her and helped with leg and hand placement when we were in difficult spots on the rock wall and cheered her on the entire way. When she missed a spot or couldn’t reach a spot, we simply talked it through until we found a way. Our 15-foot wall took us about 45 minutes to climb, and only 10 seconds to zip line down, but she said it was the happiest day of her life and that she felt strong.

She and I have created a lifelong friendship and still talk; she is still climbing and her legs are stronger than ever. It isn’t the best professional memory because of something I did, but because she was able to accomplish her goal as independently as possible with a few simple adaptations. I think that is so important to teach people or help them along, but not to do for them when they can do themselves.

Recognizing that these jobs can be challenging, how do you incorporate fun each work day? (Question from Nicole Ubaldi from North Suffolk Mental Health): I mainly work with our youth and young adult populations, so I like to do a lot of ice breakers when I am with them. I also like to keep a stash of Laffy Taffy in my desk and read the corny jokes on the back to my colleagues because I think they are the best.

Question for the next member spotlight honoree: We all work to ensure that our clients are treated respectfully and with dignity; what actions are you taking to teach human rights to your clients so they can be their own advocate?

 

P.S. If you know someone who inspires clients and embodies the spirit of The Caring Force, please nominate them on our website or email Christine Batista at christine@providers.org for more information about our Spotlight program.