Phyllis Whitton, a Direct Support Professional (DSP), started working at Lighthouse about a year ago. Before working here, Phyllis owned her own home health agency and loved caring for the elderly population.
One day Phyllis took one of her clients on a tour at Lighthouse, and she sensed God’s call to work here: “I gave (Lighthouse) a call. They hired me and I’m so grateful that I’m here,” she reflects.
Now as a DSP in our Vocational Training Program, Phyllis monitors a group of six individuals and provides guidance and supervision as they complete light assembly work. In addition to teaching new skills and answering questions, she documents their progress every day. Phyllis especially enjoys the opportunity to relate with her clients.
Phyllis describes with fondness her favorite parts of her day: “Being able to talk with the participants and watch how proud they are of their job and watch them grow.” She tells how one individual who was withdrawn is now taking initiative asking other participants, “Do you need more products?” She states: “Watching him grow is the greatest.”
For her, it’s important to offer praise and to take the time to relate with each person individually. “I want to be the person who relates with them one-on-one,” she says. She describes how in some group homes activities are done as a group. For instance, an individual might have a TV in his home, but he might not get to pick out his own shows. “It’s important to give people a sense of control,” she says.
When asked to describe the participants in her group, Phyllis’s eyes lit up: “Understanding—forgiving people—loving and caring. ”Faith is a vital part of the day. Before the workday starts, Phyllis and her co-worker, Dena Soders, pray with the participants who want prayer. Spread across the wall in bright colorful paper is the verse from Psalm 139:14: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Listed below the passage is everyone’s name in unique font and color. Throughout their workday, the individuals can spot their name and be reminded of how they are valued.
When asked if she was glad that she accepted the position to work at Lighthouse, she responds,
“It’s very rewarding working here. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
~ Emily Bauman, Marketing and Communications Assistant