“It is important to remember that we are advocates for those who may not be listened to or do not have the understanding to advocate for themselves,” says Ziana Keith, who was recognized as Direct-Support Professional of the Month.
Before coming to Advancing Opportunities in 2014, Ziana worked as a secretary for the Norwescap Head Start program in Ringoes, NJ. When she first visited Harmony and met the residents, she knew “this is where I wanted to focus my energy and time.” Ziana enjoys “spending time with ladies, engaging in activities they like most.” She says, “I love the fact that we always have something planned,” both in the community and the home itself.
Ziana believes the activities that are most important are those that build character, independence, and creativity. Furthermore, Ziana emphasizes those activities that “induce bonding and unification within the home.” She appreciates the importance of remaining “a constant in the lives of the ladies I support.”
Ziana reflects on how her vocation reflects her own values, saying, “I feel that, in this field, it is important to have values such as balance, accountability, and independence. As employees, we have been placed to help guide our consumers to not only make good decisions, but also to make the best decisions for them. I try to teach the ladies every day to make independent choices and to problem solve the best they can.”
As for her plans for the future, Ziana looks forward to pursing a degree in Health Care Law and Policy. Nevertheless, “I hope to continue working the ladies even in a different capacity,” says Ziana. “The ladies at Harmony are some of the most creative, free-spirted and have the best sense of humor.”
This article is the fifth of a continuing feature on our Direct-Support Professional of the Month program, recognizing the talents of one of our specialists in the Residential Services program. The Harmony group home will be the subject of a future article in this space.