The Caring Force Blog April 2024 Workforce Hero: Colin Powers

| Caroline O'Neill

The Caring Force is pleased to announce that our April TCF Workforce Hero Spotlight honoree is Colin Powers, a Day Habilitation Specialist at New England Village.

1. Tell us about your background.  How did you decide to pursue a career in human services?

After a crossroads in my career path, I found myself at New England Village, my first job in human services. However, a lot of different factors contributed to my decision to pursue this career. Growing up with a family member on the spectrum, I was able to be exposed to the population at an early age and see first hand their day to day lives and challenges. Also, having friends in an independent living program and seeing the difference the staff makes in their lives, made me start to think “I could be good at that”. Additionally, having a disability myself, I have a unique perspective that allows me to better support my members. I was a part of multiple programs growing up that helped me learn to adapt and be independent. All of these factors have given me a unique view that not everyone in this field may possess. It also motivates me to help make a difference in the lives of my members, as I’ve seen made for myself, my friends, and my family.

2. What does a typical day look like for you at your organization?

A typical day at my organization for me truly depends on the day. Some days my members need less prompting and assistance, and some days they need more. I really have to adapt to the type of day they’re having. At the Efron Center for Enrichment, my home day program under the umbrella of the New England Village organization, we have a variety of offerings and opportunities for our members, and schedules change every day: Art to work on fine motor skills, fitness to work on bending/reaching and overall movement skills, book club for reading skills, music for listening skills, and so much more. My goal for my members every day is to make sure they have the best opportunity to achieve their goals. Whether the goal is a daily one, a weekly one, or a monthly one, I want them to have the most fun they can while achieving. Plus, if I am able to make them laugh and forget some of the things they may or may not be going through outside the day program, then I’ve achieved it too!

3. What is your favorite professional memory?

Since I began this job in human services back in 2019, I have made so many memories with both the staff and members. One memory that stands out to me was the moment I had gained the trust of a certain member that didn’t trust many people, especially people that were newer in his life. Don’t get me wrong, gaining it still took me some time, but I went from him being unsure about me to his preferred staff. I’m so glad he ended up “letting me in” and trusting me, it allowed me not only to be able to grow as a staff member but to give him the best day that I could every day, whether it was at day program or a picked up a shift at his residence.

4. This question is from our March TCF Workforce Hero Spotlight, Paul Paige: How do you maintain your self-health in order to maintain self-preservation?

I maintain my self-health in order to maintain self-preservation in many ways. I like to start every day that I can with a 2.5 mile walk to get my blood flowing. Getting a cup of Dunkin’ iced coffee about halfway through to wake myself up, and if I’m early enough and lucky enough, I’m rewarded with viewing a beach sunrise at the end. During this time I also enjoy listening to music, and I begin thinking about the things I need to accomplish throughout the day. I love my job, but I do my best to keep work and home separate. I enjoy spending time with my loving girlfriend, supportive friends, and countless family members. Additionally, I am a huge sports guy. Football, basketball, hockey, or baseball season, you’ll find me watching every night I’m able. I also enjoy attending any game I can. In doing these things, I am able to come into work the best version of myself every day for my members.

5. Do you have a question for the next person we spotlight?

With this being my first job in human services, I had a lot of different people that were by my side helping me learn the ropes, and mentoring me. In your time in this field, have you had someone that mentored you along your journey? Also, how do you plan to mentor employees that are new to the field?

Thank you so much to Colin and all of our wonderful human services workers who bring joy and passion to work every day! We are so thankful for your efforts and for making the Commonwealth a better place.

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