Our DSP this week is Teresa, who has been with us almost four decades. She works at our Woodgate location and has so many fond memories that it would be impossible to tell all her stories! Teresa loves the people she supports, delights in helping others live their best lives, and has made room for helping others her entire adult life.

Woodgate Program Manager, Alex Buslee, says, “Teresa just takes care of business. Her decision making is so efficient and effective. She clearly welcomes those ladies into her life and makes decisions as if they are her own family. They look for her and love her.” Alex knows everyone will be well taken care of and supported when Terea is working and appreciates her energy.

Paul’s Place Program Manager, Kelsey Schoeberl, has worked with Teresa in the past and says, “Teresa treats the women at Woodgate like family. It is very clear that she just loves her job, and that she does it because it brings her joy.”

Tereasa first learned about the job 38 years ago when a man pushing a wheelchair ordered food from her at a concession stand. She immediately appreciated his energy, and he eventually gave her a card about Dakota’s Children, as we were known at the time. She marveled thinking, people get paid to go to sporting events?

Teresa, we are so grateful you are part of the Living Well family and that you chose to make a career out of caring. We appreciate your kindness and hard work. Thank you!

 

 

 

ABOUT TERESA

Number of years/months with Living Well: 38 years

Hobbies/Interests: My interests include reading, downhill skiing, hockey (yes, I play still), camping and swimming.

Education: University of Minnesota, Bachelor of Science

Job Experience/History: 23 years at St. Paul Public Schools, High School coach—volleyball and fast pitch softball. Lifeguard at Lake Nikon in Minneapolis for 8 summers.

Favorite part of the job: I love going on activities with the residents. My favorite outings are vacations. I went to Florida twice, numerous times to Wisconsin Dells, camping and many cabin trips up north. But the vacation that will always stick with me was when a group of staff biked from Hastings to Winona while pulling several residents from Victoria Road. Yes, that’s right, we would go on road trips with the buggy behind us and bike for three days straight and camping in tents along the way. These three-day bike trips happened for seven years straight. We also did triathlons and biking road trips. No one asked the staff to go on the trips, everyone just volunteered and organized the trips because they cared. The residents who went on these bike trips loved so much to be outdoors and be a part of a gang of bikers.

What made you apply: In early 1980’s I worked for St. Paul Civic Center (now the Excel Center). A young man approached my concession stand and was pushing a wheelchair. They ordered food, and I chatted briefly with them. That same gentleman came back later that evening and ordered more food. We talked more and he informed me that he worked for a group home which I had never heard of. As he gave me more information, I had a weird sense that this was something I needed to pay attention to. I was floored that he was paid to go to events and have so much fun. And truly loved his job! He had an Aura about him that I to this day I cannot explain and felt compelled to follow in his steps! He handed me a card that said Dakota Children’s on it. I nonchalantly put it into my pocket and went about my night. Yet, the very next day that card was stuck to my shoe and as I pulled it off, I realized that that was a sign for me to call this company and get an interview. I eventually took a tour of Marie Avenue and fell in Love. They say Love at First Sight? Well, I totally understand because I loved that place. Unfortunately, they had way too many Staff, so I had to wait six weeks before they told me that I would be able to work overnights at Victoria Road. And so, the story began.

What makes you stay: When I first started, I thought that I was helping people with Disabilities. I thought that they needed me to make their life better, more fulfilling. And yet over the years, I realized that it wasn’t me that was helping them, it was them helping me. As I look into their eyes I see compassion. As I look into their eyes I see hope. As I looked into their eyes I see acceptance. And yes, as I look into their eyes, I know that they are here to teach us compassion!

What would you tell people interested in joining the team: That this is a unique job. The people that you will be working with need your one hundred percent attention. This is not a job where you can sit on the couch and hang out on the phone. This is a job where you will be doing activities in the home and the community. Doing direct care is the easy part of the job. The hard part is being self-motivated to make a difference in people’s lives by actively participating in their lives and making a connection. Living Well needs staff who are willing to go above and beyond the direct care aspect of the job and be engaged with the residents.

Do you volunteer in your community or school: I volunteered at the St. Paul Edgecumbe playground for over 30 years. I coached T-ball, volleyball, softball, soccer, and basketball.

 

 

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 for sponsorship opportunities.