Hon­ors given for serv­ing those with spe­cial needs

Women lauded with ci­ta­tions for work with spe­cial needs com­mu­nity

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNews

Two women were rec­og­nized Sept. 22 at Green­well State Park in Hol­ly­wood with gover­nor’s ci­ta­tions for their ded­i­ca­tion to help­ing the South­ern Mary­land spe­cial needs com­mu­nity.

Bay Com­mu­nity Support Ser­vices di­rect support staff Carol Hebb, one of the awardees, said she was “in a po­si­tion where I couldn’t do for my­self” in the past.

She said she saw peo­ple “in worse sit­u­a­tions [and was] in­spired to get up and give.”

Hebb said her job al­lows her to work di­rectly with the spe­cial needs com­mu­nity and help with day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I also as­sist with get­ting them out into the com­mu­nity,” she said, adding she’s been with Bay-CSS for al­most 19 years.

Hebb’s client, Car­rie Shoe­maker, 43, was at the award cer­e­mony with her mother, Grace Shoe­maker of Leonard­town. While hold­ing back tears, the mother said Hebb “has been a bless­ing … you can’t re­place her.”

Hebb helped her daugh­ter with “hos­pi­tal stays and los­ing her fa­ther,” Grace Shoe­maker said, adding that life wouldn’t be the same with­out Hebb’s 14 years of guid­ance.

Mitzi Bernard, BayCSS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said the mis­sion of BayCSS em­ploy­ees is to help those with spe­cial needs to have “mean­ing­ful lives.”

Bay-CSS day ac­tiv­i­ties man­ager Kim Aubourg said she nom­i­nated Hebb for the ci­ta­tion be­cause the ef­fort she puts into help­ing is “all from the heart.”

“It’s only a hand­ful of times that you see peo­ple who are gen­uinely in it for the right rea­sons,” Aubourg said, adding that she was happy and thank­ful to have Hebb on the team.

“You’re an in­spi­ra­tion for ev­ery­one … your kind­ness, your car­ing, all of that,” she said.

Cher­ish Shep­herd, the man­ager of Ken­tucky Fried Chicken in Solomons, was also awarded a ci­ta­tion. She said be­fore the cer­e­mony that she was in­spired to hire com­mu­nity mem­bers with spe­cial needs be­cause her cousin has autism.

She said he strug­gled to find gain­ful em­ploy­ment be­cause of his learn­ing curve.

“Ev­ery­one has a learn­ing curve,” she said. “We all learn dif­fer­ently” and hir­ing peo­ple with spe­cial needs gives them “a fair chance to earn a liv­ing.”

Shep­herd was dif­fer­ent from other em­ploy­ers “be­cause of the way she talked” to a fu­ture em­ployee who had spe­cial needs, Mau­rio Cole, BayCSS vo­ca­tional man­ager for sup­port­ive em­ploy­ees, said.

“She spoke to him as though he was al­ready work­ing there, with no dis­abil­i­ties,” he said. Shep­herd com­mu­ni­cated with the fu­ture em­ployee us­ing what Cole called “the discovery process. She asked about his abil­i­ties, his skills, what he can and wants to do,” he said.

Bernard said the em­ployee couldn’t at­tend the cer­e­mony be­cause he was work­ing.

Cole said af­ter Shep­herd hired the em­ployee, she be­came his ad­vo­cate.

At one point, “he was hav­ing a melt­down, and … she took him un­der her wing” and in­structed him on how to bet­ter han­dle his job tasks, he said.

“He needs that stern­ness, and that’s what she’s giv­ing,” Cole said. Em­ploy­ers like Shep- herd “are peo­ple we need to ad­vo­cate for our peo­ple … it shows that they want to be pro­duc­tive in so­ci­ety as well.”

Ike Pu­zon, Bay-CSS board pres­i­dent, said em­ploy­ers “who hire our peo­ple make all of the dif­fer­ence in the world … it is so im­por­tant for our peo­ple to get out into the com­mu­nity.”

Ci­ta­tions were signed by Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) as part of com­mem­o­rat­ing the Mary­land De­part­ment of Dis­abil­ity’s Di­rect Support Pro­fes­sional Week from Sept. 13 through Sept. 19.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI

Cher­ish Shep­herd, left, man­ager of Ken­tucky Fried Chicken in Solomons, holds her gover­nor’s ci­ta­tion Fri­day while Bay Com­mu­nity Support Ser­vices Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Mitzi Bernard, cen­ter, and Bay-CSS di­rect support pro­fes­sional Carol Hebb look at Hebb’s ci­ta­tion. Shep­herd and Hebb were rec­og­nized by Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) as part of the state’s Di­rect Support Pro­fes­sion­als Recog­ni­tion Week.

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