Discovering Myself Through Direct Support

Kaitlyn poses with two of the individuals she supports. They are in a photo booth with fiesta-themed photo props.

Kaitlyn, pictured in the center, poses during a fiesta-themed party with two of the individuals she supports, Shaina (right) and Joyce (left).

By Kaitlyn Kohley, Direct Support Specialist

A year and half ago, I was unemployed with a Master of Public Administration degree and desperate to find any source of income. This is when a friend told me about an opening for a Direct Support Professional on Team 260 within Supported Living. I applied mostly because I needed a full-time job with benefits and thought it would be a fun gig until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. What I didn’t expect was for the people we serve and my co-workers to suck me into the Supported Living lifestyle.

My journey with Supported Living has been rocky and filled with challenging stepping stones. Through them though, I discovered a lot about myself and grew as a working professional and individual. I don’t know who I would be now if our residents hadn’t entered my life.  I consider the fact that these individuals allow me to be a part of their everyday lives and to create memories together to be an absolute privilege. They embrace me as I am and I get to do the same for them. The people we serve have taught me that people with disabilities are not defined by their “diagnosis” but that it is a part of who they are as a unique individual. As a result, I have the opportunity when I go out into the community with our individuals to teach our community members that.

As I have continued to work at Team 260, I have developed close relationships with each of my co-workers and it’s hard not to when you are doing something like direct care. Direct support is a multi-faceted and complex role to play within Supported Living.  Actual lives lay in our hands and these individuals along with their guardians trust us to support them and ensure they thrive. When faced with challenges, having our team members whom we can confide in makes all of the difference. I am grateful to my site manager, site supervisor, and my peers who have invested in me and pushed me to grow and develop, working alongside me to ensure quality of care for our individuals.

This is why I continue to come back to BCFR and choose to work in a profession that is difficult and challenging but also fun, endearing, and exciting. If you’re looking for a life-changing experience you should join one of our Supported Living teams!

We’re Hiring

Do you know someone like Kaitlyn who is passionate about enabling people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live their best lives? We are looking for strong candidates to join our team in roles such as direct care, case management, skills training and more. We offer an outstanding benefits package and competitive wages – apply today!