Among the highly deserving candidates nominated for the monthly honor of Direct-Support Professional of the Month, Tameka Powell stood out. Residential Manager Debra Lawson oversees several group homes. When Debra was away from the Newton residence, she could rest easy, knowing that the residents were being well cared for under the leadership of Tameka Powell. Residential Services Director Paul Ronollo noted that Tameka was “especially helpful to her manager in the day-to-day operation of the program and keeping [Debra] informed of important information.”
Tameka notes that she has “always felt a special connection to people with disabilities.” In fact, working with this population goes back to her days, working at Children’s Center of Monmouth County, a special-education school in Neptune. This was Tameka’s first job after she graduated high school. She worked at this school for nine years. For Tameka, working at Advancing Opportunities was the logical next step, being among people with disabilities as a Residential-Support Specialist. With her dedication to serving this population, Tameka puts in as many hours she can, not only at the Newton residence, but also filling in at other locations. “I enjoy being around the consumers,” says Tameka.
For Tameka, this enjoyment comes from hard work. The residents at each group home, she says, “are like family.” It is that sentiment that guides her in “making sure they’re as comfortable as possible.” Tameka take pleasures in the challenge of “working with different types of behaviors and backgrounds.” Adds Tameka, “You need to be dedicated.”
All along, Tameka has had strong professional aspirations. During her nine years at Children’s Center, Tameka went back to school, earning a Bachelor’s degree. Tameka’s passion for working among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, continues at Advancing Opportunities. She recently enrolled at Monmouth University to pursue her Master’s Degree in Social Work.
At home, Tameka is devoted to being with her own family. She relishes being with her sons; she relaxes by exercising and reading. “What I do,” says Tameka, “comes from the heart.”
Series: Direct Support Professional of the Month