James with Becky, one of his biggest fans.

Our DSP Shoutout for this week is James, who works at 32nd and spend so much time there you might think he lives there. He is a dedicated employee who is committed to helping the people he takes care of and making it fun. He brings joy to the house, and the people he supports can tell they are fully seen and heard in his presence.

James at work after the huge snowstorm, in a suit.

Program Manager, Jamie Randall, thinks James is very caring and attentive to all the individual’s needs. He says with a laugh, “James has a great sense of humor and has gotten the whole house a new hobby, watching wrestling! They watch as a house and have discussed getting tickets to see it live!” Adding, “James works a ton and when I say a ton, it would pretty much be every waking hour we let him.” It was just this kind of dedication and enthusiasm we needed when the snow hit a few weeks ago and we had to take him up on a long shift when he got ‘stuck’ covering the house for 24 hours. Jamie recalls, “He went home for a few hours and came back to work in a suit! That pretty much sums James up in a nutshell. Humor, dedication, caring and most importantly a great guy.”

Becky lives at 32nd and her sister Heidi Onnen agrees with Jamie, saying, “I love James because he truly takes the clients’ interests to heart. He really cares, and he is really good with Becky, she just loves him.” Adding, “Becky is kind of picky, and she really trusts him. She knows who she likes, and she likes James because he understands her.” This kind of trust and connection are what make James so special. It is virtually impossible to train staff to expertly create emotional connections with the people they serve, but when people like James show up with kindness and humor it can happen organically. We are grateful that so many people who work for Living Well have found the magic within he job and embraced being caretakers so beautifully.

Heidi reports that she can sleep at night knowing Becky is being very well taken care of. It puts her at ease and makes her comfortable that she is there, in James’ care. We agree with Heidi when she says, “I wouldn’t trade that guy for the world, I cannot say enough about James. He is such a good guy.”

Congrats, James! The work you do is incredible and helps Living Well meet our mission of providing exceptional services to people living with disabilities.




Number of years/months with Living Well: 3 years 5 months

Hobbies/Interests: I like to go to the gym to workout afterwork. It relaxes me after a long day, one hour at the gym is perfect after a shift.

Education: High School graduate, Liberia.

Job Experience/History: My first work experience was at the JFK Hospital in Liberia. I have also worked in security, at Target, and a car wash.

Favorite part of the job: I like to take care of the people and take them for van rides. We play music and dance and like to get out of the house.

Favorite work story: We love laughing at the house and I enjoy having a good time with the people I serve. We make the most of each day, and playing games together is always fun.

What is your motivation for coming to work: The work I do is meaningful to me, and I have a passion for helping people. You see yourself in the people you are helping, and being of service for someone who cannot do something for themselves feels important. It is nice to help.

What made you apply: Because I love people, so I like to work in this the field.

What made you stay: I love the people that I’m taking care of and enjoy the job.

What would you tell people interested in joining the team: There is a strong support system at work and the company has growth and success opportunities. And I love the relationships I have built with my coworkers. I tell my friends that Living Well is a good place to work with stability and encourage my friends to work for Living Well. I have referred people and will continue to do so.

When not at work what do you like to do for fun: You can find me at the gym.

Do you volunteer in your community or school: When I was in school, I helped clean up the community. When things are clean it shows you prepared it with love, and that feels good.


Want to nominate a DSP? Please email jessica.maurer@livingwell.org to nominate a Living Well Disability Service DSP. Thank you! Want to underwrite our DSP Shoutout Program? Please contact Devan Heinsen at devan.heinsen@livingwell.org for sponsorship opportunities.