Our DSP Shoutout for this week is Freya. She hasn’t been here for quite a year yet but has already made a huge impression. She is always up for adventures and loves making the most mundane tasks more fun. She has been a team player since day one and does not run from a challenge. Even at orientation it was clear she was committed to the work and ready to shine.
Recently she had an unexpected super long shift after a few coworkers were unable to make it to work due to circumstances out of their control. Not one to be put out by a schedule change, she handled it with humor and said with a chuckle that she was simply grateful her boyfriend was able to bring her an overnight bag and some take out for dinner. Thankfully there was a comfortable bed, and more importantly a DSP like Freya to stay at the home when needed most.
Program Manager, Ashley Aljets, says, “Freya is an absolute light that shines bright at Selkirk. We are so incredibly lucky to have her as a part of the team. She tackles every challenge with patience and grace and always with a large smile on her face. She has built an incredible bond with everyone who lives and works at Selkirk, and this is apparent in the incredible smiles and positive interactions we see daily. She is always up for a new challenge and keeps the house running smoothly through it all! She has also built a beautiful connection with one of the people at the house and has assisted her in living a beautiful life by making sure she gets the most out of every outing and staying by her side tirelessly through hospital visits and always making sure she has the best care imaginable. She is an absolute angel, and I can’t say that enough!”
We are so grateful to share Freya’s story with you and shine a light on all the beautiful care providers who do the incredible and essential work of caring for society’s most vulnerable with grace and kindness. We cannot meet our mission without the support of our amazing Direct Support Professionals. Thank you to everyone who chooses to make a career out of caring. Congrats, Freya!
Number of years/months with Living Well: 11 months
Hobbies/Interests: I love going to Twins games during the summer, finding new parts of the city to explore, and playing games and doing puzzles with friends and family.
Education: University of South Dakota, BA in Psychology with minors in Spanish and Child & Adolescent Development.
Job Experience/History: I have worked very different jobs through high school and college including summer rec for 5 summers, grocery store deli/catering for 3 years, USD’s student counseling center for 4 years, and then a DSP at SESDAC for 2.5 years. After moving up here from South Dakota I started as a DSP at Thompson before taking the APM position at Selkirk.
Favorite part of the job: The best days are when we have a fun activity at the house, a holiday, or an outing to go on. Sometimes I like to turn a not so fun outing, like going to an appointment, into a fun one where we grab a bite to eat, go shopping, or take the long way home.
Favorite or craziest work story: Two of my favorites are both a movie night where we got all the people supported and staff together, but one was at my old group home, and one was here at Selkirk! Another is taking people on drives during the holidays to go see all the lights and decorations on the houses.
What is your motivation for coming to work: I am motivated by getting to come in and make our people smile and laugh. All the other aspects of the job are a means to keep them healthy, so they keep on smiling and laughing.
What made you apply: I had a connection with the guardian of a person I supported in the past who had family that worked for Living Well. So, when I told her I was going to be moving to Minneapolis, she was sad to hear I wasn’t going to be working with her cousin anymore, but really wanted me to apply to continue the work for the people supported up here.
What made you stay: I stay because I love the people, and getting to assist them live as independently as possible is such a pleasure! Also, once we have the proper staffing, we will be able to do so many more outings and community building for them, which is also community building for staff.
What would you tell people interested in joining the team: I tell anyone who is willing to listen that we need so many types of people working in this field to provide new perspectives, ways to tackle issues, and to advocate for our people. Not every house is the right fit for every employee, but with so many different houses throughout the metro there is certainly one that is fit for you.
When not at work what do you like to do for fun: I love going on walks, trying out new recipes and restaurants, spending time with my boyfriend, friends, and family, and watching Survivor.
Do you volunteer in your community or school: In high school I was a part of our Best Buddies program and in college I volunteered in the adopt a grandparent program. Now most of my extra time goes back in to picking up shifts and working longer hours at the house in order to keep us afloat!
Want to nominate a DSP? Please email firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com for sponsorship opportunities.