I have been in this field working in group homes and ICF homes for going on 7 years. I have worked with all different types of individuals and have truly enjoyed each of them. I like that in this field every day is different and you never really have the same days. I love getting to know each individual and learning all there is to know about them. Helping each individual meet their goals and live their life to the best of their ability. It makes my heart happy to see our individuals thriving in their communities and in their own lives. I like doing things with individuals and helping them in every aspect of their life whether it is doctors' appointments or going out into the community or sitting at home watching TV. I have always loved helping people and the special needs community and with this kind of work I get to do both. Heart Havens always gives the opportunity for growth both in positions and in knowledge. The company is always offering extra trainings to better help the staff support the individuals we serve. Upper management is willing to listen and help in any way they can to make staff's lives easier. I feel the company truly cares for their employees and the individuals living in the homes. Each of the homes are filled with great staff and wonderful individuals. I truly appreciate all this company has helped me achieve in my years here.
Heart Havens provided me the opportunity to expand within this field of working with individuals with a developmental disability in a residential setting. I share a connection with parents who has a child with intellectual disabilities, based on being a parent myself, who had a daughter that had intellectual disabilities. I learned that theirs a deep love and desire of every parent to see that their child attains their maximum potential and, the hope that they will live as independent individuals. I was blessed to have the right support, guidance and preparation, in order to prevail. I am sad to say, my daughter passed on to glory in November 2008 at the age of 31. I feel that God’s love for me, put me here at Heart Havens in a situation for growth, responsibility, and being able to connect in a fulfilling way that would help the individuals that I serve to succeed and having a meaningful life. That’s what I love about working at Heart Havens!
I love working with the residents here at Heart Havens. Prior to Heart Havens, I worked at a Day Support Program for 13 years as a Lead DSP. Before that I worked in the high school setting with teenagers with Multiple Disabilities for 3 years and before that I worked with children age 2 – teenager in a Speech, OT/PT Clinic. My youngest son also has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I enjoy seeing the residents and having a chance to connect with them each day. I love helping the residents at Lynchburg to find ways to increase their quality of life by providing activities like paint night and offering them opportunities to go to local plays, whether at community, college or high school theater.
Originally from New York, I have been in the field for 20+ years. I started my career providing services for an individual in her home, not really knowing what I was getting into. As years went on I knew that this was the field for me, but had a lot to learn. Over the years I have done Direct Support, Medication Trainer, Case Manager, Assistant Day Support Manager, Day Support Manager, Residential Manager, and Appointment Aide just to name a few. I started with Heart Havens in July of 2020, as a House Manager. As my time went on I was able to learn the core values of Heart Havens, and what it had to offer, myself, as well as the individuals I support. The best part of my job with Heart Havens is making a change in at least one life. Encouraging all my individuals to be all that they can be ensuring that they understand that sky's the limit if you put your mind to it. I have learned that every day there is something new to learn, and it all takes time.
I have been on the Heart Havens team since 2013 when I started as a Development Assistant. Before Heart Havens, I worked for an engineering firm as a Regional Marketing Coordinator. I have a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. At Heart Havens, every day is a new challenge and I love working toward the mission of empowering adults with a developmental disability.
I began my career serving the IDD/DD population in 2012 as a Direct Support Professional. My first experience as a DSP was through an Americorps program in Spokane, Washington where I supported 6 adults. After completing my year of service, I returned to the Washington, D.C. area to be closer to family and continued supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities at L’Arche GWDC. During my six years at L’Arche I served as a House Manager and Program Director. I started working at Heart Havens in May 2019 after relocating to Richmond with my husband. As a sibling of someone with an intellectual disability, providing excellent and individualized services is deeply important to me. I enjoy supporting our employees engage and connect with Heart Havens mission and am constantly touched by the commitment that our staff has to providing the residents with the best life possible.
I have had been in the disability field since 2011, working for a variety of non-profits as a referral coordinator and disability service system educator, grassroots advocate for the disability field, and provider of programs and services to individuals with disabilities. I received my Bachelor of Social work from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) and my Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!). I started with Heart Havens in 2016 as a House Manager at the Tate-Ashland location and most recently began serving as COO in February of 2020. What I love most about Heart Havens is the people – from our individuals who truly are the heart and soul of Heart Havens - to our dedicated Direct Support Professionals and House Managers who are the best in the field. Every day in residential comes with its challenges and triumphs, and I feel so fortunate to work in an environment that is always striving to be the provider and employer of choice! Everyday is a good day because I get to see our mission in action and our residents thriving.
Prior to Heart Havens, I started SupportOne from grassroots and led them through growth for 10 years. Before that, I worked for Chesterfield County CSB in employment and residential (both group home and supported living settings). I am a member of Virginia CEOs (VACEO) and serve on the board and finance, DEI and advisory committees. I am a graduate of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders (ENLP) and Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR). To stay abreast of all the changes and challenges of our industry, I represent Heart Havens with the Virginia Network for Private Providers (VNPP). I 100% believe in the mission and love the people of Heart Havens. People are my motivator and giving to my community is very important to me.