Our DSP this week is Annette. She has been with Living Well for almost eight years and has been a caregiver for years prior to working with us. When her children were young, she had an in-home daycare, and ever since has dedicated her career to helping others.

Annette always tries to make people feel seen and heard. She is creative and person centered and tries to make life easier for all whom she supports. She makes breakfast wraps with different ingredients and keeps them available in the freezer for the people served to heat up breakfast. She also recently purchased a waffle maker for the house and keeps the freezer stocked with a variety of homemade waffles for the people served so that they always have the option of a homemade meal for breakfast. When preparing the weekly menu, everyone has input, and the opportunity to choose meals they like. She does this to give options and choices, and in turn eases the work for other staff.

She also helps in a larger way. We all know that we are in a staffing shortage and that our industry was hit hard. Without people like Annette, it would almost be impossible to do the essential work we do. She has covered shifts in dozens of our homes. Annette is always the first person to step in and save the day, sometimes working at houses an hour away. When asked why she is willing to do this, her answer is simple, “because they need me.” Leave no room for doubt, we need her just as much.

Program Manager, Julie Conrad, says, “Annette is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.” She loves the job, and it shows. She recently donated a huge bath basket to our gala because she wanted to help us raise as much money and advocacy as possible. Annette shows compassion with each interaction and goes out of the way to make life easier for everyone.

Congrats, Annette, we appreciate you! Thank you for choosing a career where you can share your gifts with so many wonderful people.



ABOUT Annette

Number of years/months with Living Well: 8 years in November

Hobbies/Interests: I like to be outside hiking and moving outdoors. My husband and I used to be a lot more active but after kids ran out of time. I met my husband when I was getting Scuba certified, and when our time frees ups, we’d love to take a bucket list trip to the Great Barrier Reef. For now, I love to craft, and make things like soaps and body products when I get a few minutes of downtime.

Education: I was offered a scholarship for college but was told I needed to do classes during the day, so I pursued other things as I needed to work.

Job Experience/History: Prior to care giving, I was a computer operator and opened a home day care when my children were younger. Started DSP work following that.

Favorite part of the job: Helping others brings me satisfaction. Seeing a sense of accomplishment and smiles on other people’s faces, and being able to help them get something done or do something they want, is awesome. Helping someone try something new makes me feel complete, it really feels good to be of service to others. I once took a group to the Courage Learning Center Camp, geared towards children and adults with disabilities, and was with a person who was 65 years old. It was the first time in her life she had got to be pulled behind a boat, because up until then nobody had made the effort or invested in helping her. No one took the time to make it possible. We did here at Living Well, because making people feel and be included is what we do. It gave me as sense of accomplishment, happiness, and purpose. A sense of community and inclusion is what we all need and crave as human beings.

Favorite or craziest work story: Once, after a few hours of direct care I was a bit of a mess, my clothes were soiled, and I had an overnight shift coming up. A coworker had a change of clothes in their car, and I washed mine at the house. I was able to get my work done and get the work completed without missing a beat. We worked as a team and found a way to problem solve. It was a great reminder that you never know what will happen—and that having a change of clothes available is a good plan.

What is your motivation for coming to work: The fact that others cannot do things unless you are here to help them, it is the burning desire God put into my heart to help others who cannot help themselves.

What made you apply: I was at another company when my father-in-law died and left because I needed extended time off and was not offered flexibility. I had worked with a Living Well program manager in the past and asked him if he knew of any places hiring, and he hired me.

What made you stay: The people. I stay because the work is fulfilling. Helping people served is a calling.

What would you tell people interested in joining the team: I would say that if you enjoy helping other people and have an empty heart that needs to be filled, these guys will fill your heart.

When not at work what do you like to do for fun: I watch a little TV, but I feel most fulfilled when I am doing something. I like to play games with my family, board games and cards. I also like to cook and bake.

Do you volunteer in your community or school: There is no time to volunteer anymore. In the past I was able to, but when I am not at Living Well, I sometimes help a cousin. I cook and shop for him. I guess I end up caring for others even at home.



Want to nominate a DSP? Please email jessica.maurer@livingwell.org to nominate a Living Well DSP. Special thanks to Miles and Cheri Cohen for their support of DSP of Week. Want to join them in underwriting our DSP Shoutout Program? Please contact Devan Heinsen at devan.heinsen@livingwell.org for sponsorship opportunities.