What’s Your Why? Maria West
“Even if our individuals don’t complete a task like others would, it doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of succeeding. Along these same lines, just because an individual doesn’t use words to communicate, it doesn’t mean they’re incapable of communicating. It’s important for people to understand that our individuals are just people who happen to need extra assistance and adaptations. They have dreams, desires, and the need to feel accepted and validated, just like I do.”
Maria West is a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (known as a “Q”) here at St. Joseph Home’s main campus. As one of three “Q”s on the SJH team, Maria supports and facilitates many parts of each resident’s day-to-day life. Although she doesn’t directly provide care any longer, she makes sure each individual gets the care, support, and challenge that they need to engage as fully as possible in life. She is the first and primary point of contact with parents and guardians as well as the point person with schools, programs, and clinics. Simply put, Maria and our team of “Q”s makes sure all of the dots get connected for those we serve.
Maria first learned about St. Joseph Home from a college career fair at the University of Cincinnati during her sophomore year. She took the leap to become a Direct Service Professional (DSP) during her junior year and after two years as a DSP, she shifted to become a “Q” earlier this year.
It’s safe to say that the commonalities she’s uncovered with many of the individuals we serve are a key part of Maria’s “why”. “I can identify a little with each resident – Terry is a music buff and loves to rock. Kalisha loves time to herself. Matt adores his family and volunteering. John is always ready for an adventure. Dustin and Katie love to sing. Reagan is a movie buff… I could go on and on!” says Maria. The other “why” for Maria is the SJH community. She says that, “connections with residents and their families reflect the small town values I grew up with, so SJH quickly felt like home”.
While Maria has plans to pursue her Masters in coming years, she is very taken by the opportunity to serve as a “Q”. She feels that her jobs here at SJH have allowed her to become a more empathetic, compassionate, and generous person. We are grateful to you, Maria, for giving your best every day so that all those we serve can live even more full, fulfilling lives. And, it’s great to be witness to your humility as you realize all that our work together has done to transform you in the process.