The Caring Force Blog Workforce Hero Spotlight: Tamara Robertson-Darcy

The Caring Force is proud to announce that our next TCF Hero Spotlight honoree is Tamara Robertson-Darcy, a Career Navigator at WORK Inc. Tamara is enthusiastic about helping her clients and coworkers. According to her colleagues, she has stepped up to cover WORK Inc.’s high school program for a staff member who is out on family leave, she volunteered to take on extra shifts in residential care, and she regularly reaches out to help students with 1:1 zoom calls.

Here is what Tamara had to say when we asked about her career in human services:

How did you decide to pursue a career in human services?

“My professional background is extensive and diverse.  I always wanted to work with children and that has been a constant throughout my career path. Knowing I wouldn’t have to take math in college, I studied to become a dental assistant and was extremely lucky to have loved my job. I worked in pediatric dentistry, with a focus on working with children and teens with disabilities. I had found my niche. For many years I was a foster parent to children dealing with major struggles in their lives. I believe myself to be a forever foster parent because my role does not end when the children turn 18. I am proud to have 32 children call me ‘mom.’ I have also worked with youth groups for at-risk inner-city children and started 2 separate mission groups that are still up and running. I decided to change careers and work in human services, because it allows me to directly impact the lives of my clients.  I love going to work every day.”

What is your favorite professional memory?

“I have are many incredibly positive professional memories but one that stands out is my work with twin boys. While providing transportation for a family, the mother asked if I would be willing to help with her twin boys who had multiple developmental disorders.  She told me I have a ‘good vibe.’ The family was new in town and the mom didn’t have services for the boys. The boys had suffered from trauma and don’t come into contact with each other in the home; one lives upstairs one, while the other lives downstairs. This made the mother’s job incredibly difficult. After a lot of support, and by helping the mother attain additional services, I received a video on Mother’s Day of both boys sitting on the back porch together, having a conversation with their sister. It was a huge accomplishment, one that mom never thought would happen, and I got to be a part of it.

How have you coped with the challenges of the pandemic?

The pandemic has impacted my work in many ways, but it also opened up doors to new possibilities.  My boss, Paula, empowered me to implement my ideas and encouraged me to problem solve. I have connected with clients that previously were too distant to provide services. I am currently running a Pre-Employment Transition Services program because my coworker needed to go out on FMLA. Creating Zoom classes, engaging people in different ways than we ever have before, and looking at the future with this technology is very exciting for me. I have been given an incredible opportunity to work as a Career Navigator through our contract with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Department of Development Services. I also took this opportunity to work in our Residential Department picking up shifts in the group homes. This allowed me to work with amazing staff I do not normally get to interact with. So through this pandemic, I have been able to have my hands in several different pots and through that opportunity have learned so much.

Do you have a question for our next spotlight honoree?

“How are you able to relax and rejuvenate with our mentally challenging job?”

Thank you to Tamara and all the other tireless staff helping to provide services to clients and families throughout the pandemic. You are our human services heroes!

The Caring Force will be publishing additional workforce spotlights through the pandemic in an effort to raise the voices of workers on the front lines. If you know someone who inspires clients and embodies the spirit of The Caring Force, please nominate them by emailing Ravi Simon at rsimon@providers.org.

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