Donazell and her grandson!

Our DSP this week is Donazell. She has been with Living Well for over 14 years, and for the past two years has been at our Poppler house. Donazell has a deep commitment to the work, loves helping people, and has a never-ending smile and genuine laugh. She is active, adventurous, and caring beyond measure.

Donazell and her husband.

Donazell started working night shifts at Casey Court after a lay off. Her daughter was working with Living Well at the time, then known as Dakota’s Children, and recommended her mom give it a try. Her tender heart was a perfect fit and over a decade later she could not imagine leaving the people she helps support. A family of energetic care providers, her daughter has since worked her way through nursing school and is now at Regions Hospital. Donazell and her husband help care for her father and cared her mother for years as well. And their son is a sponsored runner in New York. Which means this family is like a group of Energizer bunnies.

With Rodney.

Program Manager, Alex Buslee, says, “Donazell has added nothing but stability, kindness, and love since she joined us a few years ago. She never stops moving and will never let anything be left undone. She cares about everybody so much and never hesitates to show us.”

Donazell and her son.

The Poppler house is filled with kindness and cooperation, with everyone working towards the same goal—helping everyone live their best lives. Donazell, we apprecaite your exuberant energy and kindness. We are so grateful you are part of the Living Well family. Thank you for making a career out of caring!








Number of years/months with Living Well: 14 years 3 months

Hobbies/Interests: I like to stay healthy. I take water aerobics at the gym and drink lots of water. I go from work to the gym right after I leave so I make it a priority. I also enjoy going to the movies, and love watching and going to Vikings games. My dad is 83 so my husband and I take care of him as well, while not a hobby it keeps us busy.

Education: Went to vocational tech school.

Job Experience/History: I worked in control data making disc drives and working in the cleaning room of a large company for 27 years. I was laid off for 9 months, and my daughter was working with the company and recommended I give it a try. Been here 14 years now.

Favorite part of the job: Spending time with the people here, they make us laugh and smile all the time. This morning Denis had the music going and we were singing and dancing and just rocking.

Favorite or craziest work story: There are so many. Sometimes you just don’t know what to do, and you find a way to take care of it. People will test you, and we have to find the best reaction to get to the other side of the behavior. This job is so fun and can also challenging, but there are plenty of laughs along the way.

What is your motivation for coming to work: The people here, and my boss. The people I work with and for, just being with the residents and other employees. When I walk in and Joey is in the corner laughing and grinning, I just love it. I don’t get that from kids or family anymore. It is so great.!

What made you apply: My daughter was working at Dakota’s Children and she was in nursing school, and she helped me apply after a lay off.

What makes you stay: I just love what I do. I cannot imagine leaving.

What would you tell people interested in joining the team: To give it a try, you never know. I have always been a caregiver, taking care of my mom when she was sick, and my grandmother. When I was younger, my grandmother asked when I wanted to be when I grow up, I said a nurse. I didn’t get that far, but this feels close. I would tell people to at least try it.

When not at work what do you like to do for fun: I enjoy golfing and bowling with my husband. And I LOVE spending time with my grandson!

Do you volunteer in your community or school: I volunteer at church.



Want to nominate a DSP? Please email 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 for sponsorship opportunities.