Tennessee Community Organizations (TNCO) recognized Dawn of Hope Service Recipient Paul with the Individual Achievement of the Year Award for the East Tennessee Region at the 2013 TNCO Annual Luncheon, which was held in Nashville, Tennessee on August 14. Individuals receiving this award have made outstanding progress toward achieving their personal goals in the community.
Paul came to Dawn of Hope in July 1998, exhibiting a high level of contentious behaviors. Staff struggled to manage his unpredictable conduct. Paul had frequent unprovoked aggression and anger management opportunities on a daily basis in both the Residential and Vocational Programs in which he participated.
The true turning point for Paul began when he was introduced to newly hired Job Coach/Direct Support Professional Craig. When Paul met Craig, there was an instant connection and a bond of mutual trust and respect was quickly formed. Working together, Paul and Craig began identifying underlying causes and triggers that resulted in these aggressive behaviors and developed strategies to assist with managing and redirecting Paul’s aggression into a more productive expression of his anxiety.
Paul quickly recognized the impact these strategies had on people relations and his interactions with staff, which provided affirmative motivation. Paul began to form friendships with his peers at the Vocational Center and his housemates in the Residential Program. By redirecting his frustration, Paul began to develop confidence and independence. New opportunities that had previously been unavailable to him in the public workforce started to open up. Paul began working with his Job Coach on the Discovery Process to identify and explore alternatives to a Sheltered Employment environment so that he could be paired with a suitable public employer. Through the combined efforts of his Job Coach, Placement Services Manager, Roger, and his personal determination, Paul gained part-time employment at a local restaurant, where he is still employed.
Today, Paul wakes every morning, packs his bag lunch and eagerly awaits his Job Coach’s arrival so he can go to the restaurant and begin his work day. Paul’s duties include maintaining the restaurant’s outside grounds to ensure the property is in prime condition for lunch and dinner guests.
Paul’s extraordinary journey the past few years has completely changed in his life. Because of his committed Job Coach, education, hard work and personal relentless determination, the aggressive behaviors that were previously demonstrated are virtually non-existent. Paul has increased his self-esteem and confidence, has successfully been integrated into the public working community, has a plethora of close friends and colleagues, and possesses and overall better quality of life. He continues to motivate himself on a daily basis, gain additional control over his aggression, and forge new friendships.
Paul’s story is just one example – there are so many more men and women who participate in Dawn of Hope programs that your support has helped. We want to sincerely thank you for standing behind our organization and for helping us to significantly enrich and change the lives of the adults we serve. We thank you for your gifts and contributions during 2013 and look forward to continuing a lasting and meaningful partnership with you for many years to come!