Our Legacies magazine is a special anniversary publication, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is Sondra’s story:
On my first day on the job, I got punched in the face.
I quickly learned that “behaviors” are actions that communicate. I told my sister, who I was working with, that I was done and that it wasn’t worth the $6.75 an hour. However, 28 years later, here I am and loving what we are doing for the people we support.
As a DSP, I never thought the little things I did each day would make such an impact on other people’s lives. The routine and stability that we provide is so important, it creates trust and builds relationships. I remember one morning when I was working at the Hale house, Denise called me “Fred” and I said, “Why am I Fred?” Her immediate response was because she was Barnie, and we were best friends.
I really enjoyed working in the homes with the people we support. In 2005, my son, Corey, had his first grand mal seizure and at 22 years old he continues to have them. If it wasn’t for the parents of the people we support that I’ve gotten to know over the years, I don’t believe I would have known how to advocate for him and without my experiences as a DSP I don’t know how my family would have survived the daily challenges that someone with special needs brings to the home. Living the daily struggles makes me so appreciative that there are places like Hammer & NER for the people we support and their families.
As DSPs we often refer to ourselves as coaches or teachers. I have learned so many great values from people that I have worked with over the years that I think I was often the student, and they were the teachers. The thing I have learned the most is the importance of dignity. Dignity goes so far; it is simple and creates lifelong relationships.
Sondra Hampton is Director of Licensing and Quality Assurance and previously served as the Operations Development Manager for Northeast Residence. Sondra joined the organization in 1995 as a Direct Support Professional. Sondra is pictured in the photo above with her son, Corey, and his girlfriend, Kelana, at Hammer & NER’s annual Luau.
If you would like to receive a copy of Legacies and/or be added to our Discoveries distribution list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.