Welcome to our newest Direct Support Professional, Angie! Coming to us as a recent undergraduate from JMU’s Special Education program with a background as a special needs aid, Angie has stepped into our organization with a plethora of experience.
When people find themselves working with or volunteering in the intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD), it’s almost always because of a personal relationship with someone with DD. In high school, Angie was connected with a young man with Down Syndrome in her hometown in New Jersey through friends of her parents. This turned into multiple years of support as his special needs aid which basically meant Angie and her friend got to hang out, go places, and just be together. “The best part was coming home feeling like I made his day,” says Angie. Instead of becoming a waitress or working in retail, which many of her friends were doing as jobs, Angie was grateful for the opportunity to get paid to build a real relationship with a unique individual.
Today, Angie’s time is spent working with program participants through SpArc, our community engagement program which helps get the I/DD community more involved in Harrisonburg and Rockingham. She also spends one-on-one time with participants through in-home supportive services and can often be found touring fire stations, visiting the Luray Zoo, and checking out animals at local pet stores as requested by program participants.
Beginning this fall, Angie will be working towards her Masters degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis through JMU’s Psychology Department. Outside of The Arc, you can find Angie at UREC, JMU’s rec center, or walking her beloved dog, Bindi. We’re grateful for Angie’s expertise and passion for the I/DD community and look forward to supporting her as she walks towards her vocational dream of becoming an ABA therapist.