Minh holding her award and posing next to Community Living leadership staff

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in social work, Minh set out to find a job working hands-on with people. She had done her internship working with seniors in a residential program but wanted to try something new. She started working in a different residential program with three ladies who all had different developmental disabilities. After a few years in the program, Minh was ready for a change. She found Community Living in an online job search and found a great fit in the Support Services for Adults program. Minh has been working as a Direct Support Professional at the Mahon Center since October 2019.

“I love this place so much,” she said about the Mahon Center. “My favorite part is seeing the participants, interacting with them, making them laugh and smile and making their day. It warms my heart when I achieve that. It makes me happy seeing them happy.” Minh’s impact goes beyond the individuals served in the program. “Minh provides a bright light to the center with her unwavering positive attitude, even during the most challenging of days, and often is seen providing support to both clients and staff throughout the day to ensure that everyone around her is having a good day,” said Taylor, the Mahon Center’s Manager. “She’s just sunshine at all times,” said Krista, a Support Coordinator at the Center.

Minh manages to stay positive even when her job is challenging. “Minh consistently demonstrates her creativity, leadership and advocacy skills and recently has gone above and beyond to serve a participant needing extensive behavioral supports,” Taylor said. In fact, Minh considers getting to know that particular participant one of the highlights of her time at the Mahon Center. She remembers a day when the Center had planned a big party with lots of volunteers visiting. She knew that participant likely wouldn’t enjoy all the commotion, and offered to take her on an outing that would be more fun for her. Together, the pair went to the mall to visit Santa. “She was so, so good to me,” Minh said. “We had a blast.” Minh says one of her favorite parts of the job is getting to do one-on-one outings because she gets to know the individuals more. “You start to bond,” she said.

Another one of Minh’s favorite memories was getting to share her culture with the Center shortly after she started working there. Minh was born in Vietnam and her family celebrates Chinese New Year. “I bring decorations and on the day of Chinese New Year, I read them facts and bring snacks,” she said. The first year, she suggested making fortune cookies as a group. “It was so fun having everyone involved and learning,” she said.

“Everyone needs someone like Minh in their life, both professionally and personally.”

“I’m very lucky to have a great team,” she said about the other Mahon Center Employees. “We like each other and we help each other out.” And the Mahon Center is lucky to have Minh. She’s always sharing insights and tips when she discovers a new way to support a participant and sets a great example of providing positive supports and encouragement. “Everyone needs someone like Minh in their life, both professionally and personally,” Taylor said.

In her free time, Minh enjoys doing crafts and spending time with her four sisters. They like to go shopping and go out to lunch together. Before the pandemic, Minh visited Hawaii and is looking forward to returning there for a vacation someday.

Minh was recently named Community Living’s Direct Support Professional of the Year by the Gateway Coalition. She was nominated and selected for going above and beyond as an advocate and a leader. Community Living is proud to have Minh in our community!