Karen has worked at the same house supporting the same ladies for five of her six years in the profession. “I don’t think of Karen as an employee of the agency,” says the mother of one of the ladies Karen supports, “I consider her as extended family.” She also notes that it takes a special person to work with persons with special needs, and Karen can.
Karen is responsible for the coordination of medical appointments, medical books and medications for another house and its four individuals, while also maintaining oversight of those at her assigned work site, Westin House.
Westin House is known as a “one of a kind house.” Each bedroom is painted and decorated according to each of the ladies’ tastes. Karen earned their trust and respect with her active listening style; hearing them and their needs and respecting each lady, showing them that they matter. She’s there for advice, for listening, and for making sure they have the best supports and services.
Diane Danescu wrote about Karen in nominating her for Nevada’s DSP of the Year award: ‘When one lady moved in, she barely articulated yes or no, and engaged in aggressive, self-injurious, and destructive behaviors. Now she is happy, laughing, using short sentences, playing on her iPad and helping around the house, all with minimal aggressive behaviors. Karen took it day by day, spending one-on-one time with her with lots of patience and love, and that has transformed her into the wonderfully happy person that she is today.’