“It was a gift from God,” says Corchia Patten, referring to the type of work she does. “Caring for others comes naturally for Corchia. “My family believes their life, their mission is to help people.” And among them is Corchia herself. The Jamaica native last was recognized and honored for her dedication to caring for the ladies at the Woodland Park group home. Corchia joined Advancing Opportunities last August. Previously, with her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education fresh in hand, she was a teacher at a daycare center for eight years. Before then, Corchia was working at a nursing home in Ringwood, serving individual on the other side of the age spectrum, many of them with physical and cognitive disabilities. “You learn a lot at each place, how they interact with each other,” says Corchia.
“It’s an eye-opener to work with people with disabilities,” says Corchia. Among her favorite aspects of her job is taking the residents out in the community. She notes that the ladies in her care are, in many ways, independent. “You learn something new from the consumers every day,” adds Corchia. “I admire autistic people; they are very smart,” continues Corchia. “That’s a special gift they have. They know how to use it.”
While Corchia greatly admires the people she works with, she feels gratitude for having full physical mobility herself. Reflecting on her own family, she notes, “They were born… to help those who are less fortunate, those who cannot take care of themselves.” Corchia has adopted this sentiment as her mission. “You have to have a calling,” she says. Occasionally, out in the community, Corchia has found that some people “look at people with disabilities funny and avoid them. But when you get to know them, they are the sweetest people.”