Sherry Ellis – Florida Direct Support Professional of the Year
Sherry Ellis’ reputation for achieving life-changing breakthroughs during active treatment
with the individuals she supports is exceptional. Her patience, constant positivity, and dedication contribute to her outstanding ability to communicate with others, including with those who are visually impaired and non-verbal.
The Adult Day Training program where Sherry works provides educational and daily living skill training to a diverse collection of individuals with unique personalities and challenges to overcome. Sherry’s work with client Keith* shows her focus on person-centered support. She began working with Keith in 2018. Keith, who is visually impaired, would experience intense fear whenever another person was not around him, which often escalated into self-abusive behaviors and tantrums. Many of his previous caregivers struggled to develop a trust-based relationship with Keith.
From day one, Sherry made it her mission to develop a relationship with Keith. She implemented a calm, communication-heavy approach that offered reassurance with choice-based control techniques to redirect his fears. Sherry quickly learned various activities and favorite topics that created a positive reaction with Keith. Staff began noticing a positive change in Keith and often heard him burst out in laughter during his interactions with Sherry.
COVID-19 shook the world and devastated the lives of countless people. Sherry’s dedication to the persons she serves during these challenging times sets an example for her peers and others around her. Throughout the pandemic, Sherry never missed a single day and operated the house to ensure the individuals were protected from illness, provided the necessary care, and reassured them that she was there for them. Sherry’s dedication brought stability to their lives during a time of instability. Her example also influenced other staff who were amazed when told stories about all she was doing for the individuals she supports.
Sherry’s care for others runs deep. Her innate ability to communicate with others brings joy to individuals who find comfort in the relationships she builds with them. Sherry’s impact on those she works with continues to shape and mold caregivers to help the people they support.
*Name changed to protect client confidentiality