Sandi Palmer is an artist that offers art classes a few days a week. She has artists with disabilities that also take these classes. In her classes, everyone is treated equally and with the utmost respect. Sandi’s respect and enthusiasm is contagious, to everyone in the room. If you walked in, off the street, you would have no idea who is a local community member or who is a client of Far Northern Regional Center.
Everyone views each other’s art with genuine admiration. Most of the art that is produced in the class is of amazing sellable quality. If you are fortunate enough to sit in the adjoining room and hear the lively conversations and suggestions, between all her class members, you would not be able to tell who is a client of Far Northern and who is an artist from the community.
Here are a couple thoughts from two of her class members.
“Sandi makes me feel welcome and treats me like any other artist taking her classes”.
“Sandi’s smiles, hugs, and laughter make me feel wanted, accepted and really make my day.”
Because of Sandi Palmer, these classes are an example of true community integration.
Todd is a daily example of servanthood in leadership and instrumental in creating a positive environment within the Community Services Department. What I value most about Todd is his ability to see the good in people and foster excellence and cohesion within a team. His compassion for the clients, staff and humanity in general is a true mark of character and a hallmark of a quality mentor. The role he undertook at the Regional Center was immense and he executed it with a depth of understanding, competency and grace – which was much appreciated by his staff. Through his 22 years at the Regional Center, Todd has made a tremendous positive difference for our community. His insight, kindness, intelligence and humility were huge assets to our team and will be missed.
Mary is an all around Hero in my eyes, she supports the Team and the consumers. She hears and supports what is necessary to help keep the balance in the environment of our community. She is an encourager and sees the good in everyone and always has kind words to say to keep things moving in the right direction. She is an amazing person.
In Donna’s case, she has overcome her own personal challenges to improve the quality of life for others. Donna has faced many challenges this past year or so between cancer, concerns for her loved ones, and losing her beloved dog. There are days when one can see the weariness in her posture. Yet Donna has never lost her enthusiasm for helping others. She has so many creative ideas and not only shares those ideas with others, but is willing to do some of the groundwork to make dreams happen. When a long time client of hers had to leave the county for a period of time due to a house fire, Donna received permission to hold onto the case and was instrumental in ensuring this young woman was able to find housing again in Siskiyou and not get lost in the cracks and become homeless again. Her deep connection with her clients and constant striving to improve their quality of life despite the personal barriers she faces is a perfect example of a Barrier Buster Hero.
Aaron is the owner and operator of Paradise Stronger in Paradise Ca. Paradise Stronger is a wellness center with a focus on recovery.
Aaron makes it a point to include all underserved communities, including those with disabilities. Aaron offers wellness classes for people with disabilities at Paradise Stronger and also employs a young man with disabilities through the FNRC internship program.
Additionally, Aaron oversees a number of volunteer organizations within the community and makes a consistent effort to include the disability community in local recovery efforts and community volunteer opportunities. Aaron values every voice in the recovery journey on the Ridge and works to ensure space at the table for all interested parties, without exception.
His efforts are greatly appreciated and make a difference in the lives of those that we serve!
I have known many providers over my years of being involved with People Frist in Region 2. Never in that time have I witnessed more dedicated support of People First Self Advocacy and the members, by a residential care provider, than I have with Puckett Residential.
They do everything they can to get the people they support to People First Meetings. They have a policy about their expectations of how they expect their employees to support members during the meetings. They teach care providers to stay out of meetings (unless they are needed). This way members learn from each other. I have even seen their employees provide useful information to other care providers.
I have heard their employees giving encouragement to members, about being part of the meetings. Granted People First is a personal choice, so if someone does not want to attend the meeting, they are never forced.
I have observed them providing reassurances to members to be more involved in the meetings. One member, they support, has gone from being shy and never speaking, to volunteering to be on a committee and hopefully, someday, to eventually becoming a future leader.
It is my hope that other residential care providers might learn from them on how to provide support to people in People First Self Advocacy.
Jaramie regularly volunteers his time to his community and continuously looks for ways to give back to others. He has volunteered through a local food bank, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), the local school district and more.
Lisa is our unsung hero for her unflagging help with all things UFS. She has streamlined the SSP process for us, streamlined how monthly recurring disbursements are sent and processed; just two examples of how she positively impacts our day to day work. Lisa is patient, thorough and intuitive, all traits that work well with anything IT. She always gives us 110% on any project, and makes sure she is delivering what we need by checking with us throughout the process. I cannot say enough about how impactful she has been for my unit’s workload and has made tasks so much easier for the staff. Lisa is a great asset to the administration units and wonderful to work with.
Sharon Byrne is our CHS Job Developer/WorkAbility Rep. Sharon is an advocate for students on every level: she goes out of her way, often on her own time, to improve the quality of life for our SPED students. She creates meaningful employment opportunities in our community, where students may not otherwise be hired. She sets students up with the transportation and materials they need to get to work, sometimes even the required work attire, as well as the job readiness skills and confidence they need to believe in themselves and their potential in the workplace.
Laurie Cory is the owner of Down Town Grounds coffee shop in Redding.
Laurie is helping the intellectual disability get paid for selling their crafts and paintings, and home made cards. Laurie Cory has brought the community together by having open house and singing with Christmas caroling coming to her cute cafe soon. Laurie also has folks working for her that have intellectual disability and makes everyone feel welcoming.