Angela made her decision to join the Clients Socially Integrated program (CSI) at Easterseals Iowa about four years ago. With a background of working as a camp counselor throughout her teenage and college years, Angela knew she loved to work with people. While Angela loves to help people, she had never envisioned this as a career. However, when she needed a new job, Angela’s sister recommended that she apply to be a direct support professional, and she hasn’t looked back!
CSI is a community-based program for adults with disabilities focused on learning transferable skills that lead to independence in the community. As a direct support professional in the CSI program, Angela supports adults to learn and grow. With five to seven clients a day, Angela is able to address each individual’s needs.
The CSI program is unique because the clients are able to pick and choose what they do each day. Angela sees this as a rewarding aspect of her job, because she gets to see her clients become more individualistic in their decisions. Clients are encouraged to try new things each day to broaden their horizons. Seeing clients learn and grow, and eventually move out of the CSI program toward employment, is Angela’s favorite part of her job.
Angela isn’t the only one helping others. Working with her clients every day has helped her grow as she is learning new things every day.
“I’ve become more outgoing; I was always a quiet person who didn’t talk much, but working with people has helped me grow as a person as well,” Angela says.
Malinda has been a team member at Easterseals Iowa for the past 21 years. She has been working in the CSI program for the past ten years, since it first started. Malinda has always had a passion for helping others, as did her mom and sister. Malinda’s sister also works for Easterseals Iowa, and her mom encouraged her to apply when she saw how much Malinda cared for others.
As a single parent, Malinda needed day hours to be able to care for her child. With the availability of day hours at Easterseals Iowa, Malinda has been able to both care for her child and work in a field that she is passionate about.
The most rewarding part about working in the CSI program for Malinda is seeing her clients accomplish things that they’ve been told they can’t do. Tasks as small as opening their own pudding cups are rewarding because many times those small tasks are what clients feel is holding them back. Malinda always encourages them to try their best first, and then she can help once they’ve given it their all.
“I love being able to have fun, and I meet many interesting people along the way,” she says.
Malinda loves working in the CSI program and feels as though she makes a difference in the lives of her clients with their day-to-day interactions. As a CSI direct support professional, going out into the community and helping clients learn how to use public transportation are two of the main aspects to help clients become more independent in their communities.