The Caring Force Blog Workforce Spotlight: May Institute’s COVID Crew

Meet the self-appointed “COVID Crew” from May Institute’s Eastern Massachusetts Adult Services programs (l-r): James Kirkpatrick, Jr., Program Coordinator; Nichole Murphy, M.Ed., Clinician; Ryse Caratini, Assistant Program Coordinator; and Sarah Campau, MA, BCBA, CBIS, LABA, Assistant Clinical Director.

The Caring Force is proud to announce that the COVID Crew are our latest Workforce Spotlight honorees. As residents and staff in several of May Institute’s adult residences tested positive for COVID-19, this group of four stepped in to cover shifts round-the-clock, keeping the individuals served safe and cared for with consistent staffing, and filling in as infected staff took care of themselves and quarantined until they were better.

Sarah Campau, who has worked in human services for 11 years, explains, “It’s hard enough to be sick, without the added challenges presented to clients who are differently abled. I want to celebrate my coworkers. I’m grateful for these amazing humans that I can fully depend on. But I also want to remind others that this virus is really impacting people. It still feels like everything is hard right now, but keep doing your part. It matters and so do you. I can’t wait to celebrate with all of my May colleagues at the end of this.”

Is there anything additional you wish to tell us about the COVID Crew and the work you have been doing?

“Three months ago, the four of us went to a residential home that was new to us, and with no familiar staff. Yet, there was such a team attitude! The Crew was eager to assist and showed constant empathy toward the individuals. With life being anything but normal, we have worked to provide as much normalcy as we can. I always say my job is to make everyone happy to the best extent possible. During the pandemic is no different. It’s about maintaining the best quality of life for the individuals we serve.”

-James Kirkpatrick, Jr.
19 years in the human services field

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

“Prior to joining May, I worked for a medical transportation company where I would escort patients to and from their appointments, whether they lived in a nursing home, assisted living, their own home, etc. During my time there, I felt like the quality of life for many of these patients was poor. Being a bystander was no longer acceptable. After much encouragement from friends on the same career path, I chose to join them in human services. I have been extremely rewarded ever since.”

-Ryse Caratini
Four years in the human services field

How has your work been impacted by the pandemic and how have you coped with this challenge?

“As a clinician pre-COVID-19, my daily role was to create behavior plans and explain to staff how to implement them. Now, my role has changed to work directly on the floor and implement the plans myself. While we have had to temporarily pause some of our responsibilities as clinicians, we have been able to take on these new ones as direct staff. It has been emotional, frustrating, and gratifying. One thing for sure is this experience has given me an even deeper appreciation and care for the individuals we serve. I personally would not have gotten through this without my “Covid Crew” (Sarah, Ryse, and James) as well as our supervisor, Justin Kelly. Their constant communication and support have made this experience possible.”

-Nichole Murphy, M.Ed.
Seven years in the human services field

Thank you to the COVID Crew 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

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