By: Samantha Cantrall, Communications Specialist

Hammer Residences Direct Support Professional Michelle

Michelle, Program Manager at Hammer

A little-known fact about the Hammer Program Managers – not only do they carry the responsibilities of managing a Hammer home, many of them also work regular direct care shifts. Michelle has been at Hammer for over four years and was recently promoted to Program Manager at our Zachary home. She still frequently picks up direct care shifts to help out with staffing shortages in other homes. Recently, Michelle worked a direct care shift at our 1st Ave home. A night that began normally ended with a wonderful gesture of kindness and generosity.

That evening, the individuals from 1st Ave had planned an outing to Perkins for dinner, so Michelle took them out to the restaurant. During dinner, a lively discussion about Christmas and holiday plans ensued, a favorite topic of conversation given the season. There was good food and good conversation, and everyone was enjoying themselves.

At the end of the meal, one of the men overheard the table next to theirs ordering pie. This sparked his own idea for wanting a slice of pie for dessert. Michelle reminded him that they were being careful to keep the cost of the meal down, so that they could afford to have lunch out at the Mall of America, their planned activity on Sunday. The man agreed, and the pie idea was dropped.

When it was time to leave, the group got up to pay for their meal. As they were paying, the woman at the next table over approached them. She introduced herself and said she was a paraprofessional in the Wayzata School District. She said she was so impressed with the interactions between Michelle and the guys during dinner that she wanted to buy them a pie to take home!French silk pie purchased for Hammer Residences

Michelle thanked the woman for the compliment but said the pie was unnecessary. The woman quickly interjected, insistent. She said she was impressed to see the positive interactions between staff and individuals living in a group home. Michelle and the guys graciously accepted the sweet treat to bring home and thanked her again.

On this week of Thanksgiving, we at Hammer have so much to be thankful for. Our fantastic staff members keep our programs running smoothly and effectively, and keep the individuals we support happy and successful. Our community and family members are supportive donors and volunteers. And sometimes, just when we think we have seen it all, we are once again humbled by the support and recognition from an unforeseen source. Not only did a stranger take the time to recognize and thank one of our hard-working staff, she also provided a wonderful example of kindness to the individuals.

Thank you to all of the strangers who go out of their way to provide random acts of kindness. Sometimes, you never know how much a small and simple action can mean to the recipient.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.