ResCare Community Living Employee Stories
The ResCare Community Living team encourages and supports the professional development of our employees. We are dedicated to helping employees develop their skills and reach their career goals. Many of our organization’s leaders started out as a caregiver and have grown their careers with us. You can too!
David Folkner, Community Living Regional President, began his career as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) where he worked as a provider for members of the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) community. He obtained his Master of Social Work degree and served Regional Vice President, Regional Director, and Executive Director for ResCare. Now he is responsible for implementing and managing policies, procedures, strategic planning, quality assurance, and financial initiatives for community living services.
“As I have moved further away from a direct support role to having a broader scope of responsibility, my activities have changed to meeting with local, state and national politicians to secure the appropriate funding and remove barriers to ensuring those we serve have access to quality mental health services,” said David. “COVID-19 has increased the reliance on telehealth services for those we support to access qualified mental health practitioners. The impact is tremendously important to those living in rural or remote settings where there are little to no available services.”
“When I began my career as a DSP, I saw the men I was working with struggle with significant psychiatric challenges,” noted David. “In part due to my advocacy, I witnessed the transformation of these young men as they started receiving the appropriate mental health services. I told myself that I would not forget these experiences as I advanced in my career.”
Anita Lewis, Regional HR Manager, joined the company in 2008 as a as a direct support professional (DSP). She’s the third of four sisters and the only one without documented special needs. She was a born caregiver who learned true empathy and tolerance from watching her mother. Additionally, she spent several summers throughout high school volunteering in special needs classrooms. Growing up with special needs sisters combined with her volunteer work taught her what was truly important – compassion, caring, and patience.
Anita has witnessed firsthand how poorly people with disabilities can be treated. She wanted to be part of ensuring the caregivers hired would treat those entrusted to our care with the respect and dignity they deserve. While she had little control over that as a DSP, she worked to become a manager, first of one home shortly after joining the company, then of several homes six months after that. That growth motivated her to take another step forward, toward human resources (HR). In her HR role, she was able to be part of the screening and placement process. She had the kind of firsthand direct care experience that is valuable to share with those interested in working with our population. Anita was also in a great position to give a real-life overview of the required tasks to candidates. She had experience working with many of our individuals, so she had insight into placing new hires appropriately.
After four years in that role, Anita was given the opportunity to expand her impact by stepping into the position she holds today. “I am challenged and motivated daily in my role and continually strive to leave my legacy so that the individuals we support receive the quality care they deserve,” she said.
Yvonne Sympson, Regional Business Office Manager, joined ResCare Community Living in 2010 as a Direct Support Professional in San Luis Obispo, CA. After deciding to pursue a career in nursing, she earned a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification. She was a CNA for about two years, and then was promoted to a CNA Supervisor. Over the years, Yvonne continued to progress her career as she became an Office Coordinator and then Business Manager.
After five years as a Business Manager, Yvonne had a need to relocate from California to Indiana for personal reasons. She was given an opportunity to continue her career with ResCare Community Living as a remote Business Office Manager and then was promoted to Regional Business Office Manager supporting the state of Indiana. She was a great fit for the role given her illustrated success in stepping up to challenges and eagerness to grow and learn new things.
Yvonne stated of her success with ResCare Community Living, “When I started with ResCare, it was never my intent to make this my career path or to stay with ResCare. I really didn’t know what opportunities could arise while working here. I wanted a job that allowed me to learn the nursing side and be able to provide for my family. What I found was amazing people, both residents and coworkers, who made my experience so much more than I could have imagined. I was given opportunities to grow and thanks to ResCare, my career path did change, but for so much more than I thought was possible.”
Tim Wiley, Executive Director of our Community Living operation in Logan, West Virginia, began working with the company in 2011 as a Behavior Support Professional and then a Service Coordinator.
He left the company in 2014 and spent three years working with the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities before returning to the company at the end of 2016 as a Program Manager. He was promoted to his current role in October 2019.
Originally from Chapmanville, West Virginia, Tim graduated from Marshall University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. He earned a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Health Policy in 2014 from American Public University.
Katelyn Poff, Director of Nursing in Princeton, West Virginia, started her career with ResCare Community Living as a Direct Support Professional in February 2015, working doubles on the weekends. She switched sites and accepted a full-time second shift position while attending licensed practical nurse (LPN) school during the daytime.
After getting her license, she was offered an Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) LPN position at ResCare, which she was excited to accept and loved. She stayed in that position for three years, while attending an LPN to registered nursing (RN) program. Upon completing the RN program, she became an RN Supervisor in Princeton. Katelyn worked diligently to support the ICF program as RN Supervisor while completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the same time.
Katelyn was offered the Director of Nursing (DON) position in 2020. There, she has continued to do an outstanding job and is a true example of Leadership in Princeton!
She was inspired to originally accept a position with ResCare because she grew up with an older sister who is on the autism spectrum. Katelyn shared that her sister is “the light of my life, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. We had to help take care of her and work to make sure she had everything she needed.” Katelyn continued, “One day, when my sister requires full-time around-the-clock services, ResCare will be the agency of choice for my family. I could not see my sister in anyone else’s care.”
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