Jennifer Houle – International Direct Support Provider of the Year (Ontario, Canada)

Media Hub / April 19, 2023

During her 17 years with our organization, Jenn has focused on the treatment and the personal goals of everyone in the group home. She looks for creative ways to address the physiotherapy and occupational therapy goals (e.g., gardening, baking, canning). She promotes their relationships with family or friends from their church and each other in the group home.

Jenn has often demonstrated her commitment to those she serves by learning their interests and goals, then creating a plan to help them achieve them. One participant enjoys gardening and grows a wide variety of vegetables each year. Jenn assisted this participant with preparing, cooking, and canning homemade salsa, sauces, jams, and pickles, mainly using ingredients grown by the participant. Another participant recently expressed an interest in photography. Jenn encourages this participant to spend time at the library and assists with finding books about photography and discussing and planning walks during which this individual can take photos. In both examples, Jenn recognizes how the activities engage them, promotes their cognitive treatment goals, and provides a meaningful activity that enriches their lives.

Jenn recognizes the importance of family and friends in the lives of those she serves. She always encourages participants to build and strengthen family and friend relationships. Jenn often role models proper social interaction with others when accompanying participants out in the community or when engaging with others in the home. Jenn will often make herself available for extended periods, allowing participants to attend and engage in special events. In June, she accompanied one of the participants on a multi-day visit home so that he could attend his sister’s wedding. The participant was very excited to be at such a special event and to spend time with his family, many of whom he had not seen in years.

Jenn demonstrates teamwork and leadership skills regularly. She has a working knowledge of company policies and procedures, making her an invaluable resource for others when they may have questions. Jenn is always willing to help others when asked or answer any questions staff or participants may have. Jenn’s leadership and teamwork skills particularly stood out in June when she attended Camp Dawn with four participants. Camp Dawn is typically a four-day camp that Jenn has attended for many years. This year, due to COVID-19, it was only a one-day camp. While at camp, Jenn engaged with the participants, encouraging them to participate in as many activities as possible. She provided support when needed, such as during craft time, while playing Bingo, or when assisting participants with getting their meals. Jenn’s enthusiasm for the various camp activities contributed to each of the participants having a great time on camp day.

Jenn promotes personal and emotional well-being for the individuals she serves, which she does with respect and care.

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