Pictured above: Jezette Watkins (left) and Juan Arango (right)
Juan Arango – Creating a Positive Impact
With a heart of gold and passion for his job, DSP Juan Arango is a tremendous role model for the young boys at Stephens. A Kerr employee for the past 15 years, Juan’s positive attitude is contagious, not just for the boys in the group home, but for his coworkers, as well.
The young residents in his care always look forward to the start of his shift. As their biggest advocate, Juan truly gets to know each of them. Using a little humor and ample patience, he can de-escalate behaviors within minutes, making the boys in the home feel safe whenever he is around.
Juan also plans plenty of activities with the boys. Whether it’s teaching them life skills; from household chores to being respectful in the community, or participating in outdoor adventures, like fishing, hiking and biking, Juan is helping them live their life fully.
Jezette Watkins – Creating a Nurturing Environment
The boys in the 4th Avenue Group Home can count on compassionate guidance and encouragement from DSP Jezette Watkins. A Kerr employee for just over three years, Jezette starts her shift by preparing a homemade breakfast for the residents. The boys then gather around the kitchen table and share their recent accomplishments, concerns, and plans for the week with each other.
Jezette goes out of her way to make special occasions memorable. On birthdays and holidays, she cooks their favorite dinner, bakes a cake, and organizes group activities.
She is also their biggest cheerleader. When one of the residents joined a basketball team, she helped him practice shooting hoops, to help boost his self-confidence. The boys know she’ll attend their events, even if it’s her day off, and cheer them on.
Whatever it takes for these boys to be successful and live up to their potential, Jezette is there to help them along the way.
Lyndell Culley – A Trusted Listener
Lyndell Culley is often the person residents at Orchid – a transition group home – will talk to first when they’re feeling anxious, embarrassed, or frustrated. As a DSP, she leads by example, whether by showing clients how to be kind and clear while expressing their needs and concerns, or by showing new staff how to do documentation.
Lyndell possesses the quiet authority that comes from demonstrating time and again that she can be trusted. She helps the residents learn self-regulation, independence, and responsibility, as well as practical hands-on skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and hygiene.
With the perfect balance of being fun and firm, she goes out of her way to acknowledge individual successes. She’s always working to teach residents new skills that will foster independence. People listen to Lyndell because they know she will listen to them and will go the extra mile to help them meet their needs safely and appropriately.
Melissa Depa – Helping Clients Find Success
Bringing new light and energy to every facet of her job, Melissa Depa has quickly moved through the ranks in the Employment Services Department. With Kerr since December 2017, she started out as an Employment Specialist, then Project SEARCH Skills Trainer, and finally Lead Skills Trainer at Project SEARCH Sunnyside.
Melissa quickly becomes a favorite with every client she coaches. She is dedicated to their success in employment and meets this task with dedication and innovation. Her disposition and attitude make her someone you can trust and enjoy being around.
Alex Archer – Creating Meaningful Relationships
With Kerr since May 2014, Alex Archer’s caring way make her an asset to the Portland Art and Learning Studios. She gives her best every day to the people she supports, from creating great projects to facilitating enjoyable field trips.
Alex is especially helpful in supporting participants who need extra attention during their day. She is patient and takes the time to listen and have meaningful conversations. Thanks to Alex, many of PALS’ less verbal clients feel heard, as Alex has a knack for helping them communicate their thoughts and feelings with ease. Alex’s kindness and thoughtfulness has a positive impact on the artists at PALS.