Gail has worked as a Service Coordinator for adult clients of Alta California Regional Center (ACRC) for four months. While her tenure at ACRC may be short, Gail’s experience in the service delivery system is extensive, having served as a provider for people with developmental disabilities prior to coming to ACRC. Her journey to the Regional Center system began in college, while working towards a Bachelor’s in History. After graduating, she wanted to educate and teach. She hoped to positively impact people’s lives and was actively looking for a way to use her skills. Gail recognized she could be a more valuable teacher in one-on-one settings beyond the scope of a classroom, and wanted to be involved holistically in a person’s life.
Gail began working as a service provider, directly supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in the late 2000s. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after graduating, but she learned about an opportunity that interested her, interviewed and accepted the position to work as a service provider.
Over the years, Gail held several positions as a provider. She first started at Community Employment Services – a provider for ACRC – helping adults with developmental disabilities integrate into the community through owning and operating their own micro-businesses, to volunteering and working in the community, and through many other integration based programs. Afterwards, Gail worked at Monarch Independent Living Services – a provider for San Andreas Regional Center – who pride themselves on empowering their clients through individualized programs. In her role at Monarch, Gail partnered with her clients for 6 years to meet their short and long term goals. As a service provider, Gail immersed herself in the world of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, and could teach and encourage her clients to live as independently as possible.
With her experience, Gail brings valuable knowledge from the other side of the Regional Center system. She has a better understanding of how to work with Service Providers and can prepare her clients with information on how programs function and the benefits to their lives as they pursue independence. One of her favorite experiences as a Service Provider was working with a client and their family in which the client did not have a reliable way to communicate. Gail consistently worked on building their trust of her, educating them on the positive impact a communication device could have on their lives and the family unit. Gail practiced patience for her client and their family to allow them to feel comfortable with the possibility of a communication device and to comprehend the information she was telling them. With her continued reassurance, she was instrumental in the process of pursuing an efficient method of communication for the family.
At Alta California Regional Center, Gail described her favorite experience as a Service Coordinator as offering encouragement and support while promoting self-sufficiency for each of her clients. She believes that her work helps disrupt systematic discrimination (e.g. like certain businesses not hiring persons with disabilities) because she encourages her clients to pursue independency, and develop creative solutions for barriers to live a fully inclusive life. Gail uses the time she spends with each client on her caseload as a teaching moment; for them to learn how they can be members of the community and pursue the goals they have.
The knowledge and diverse experiences Gail brings to ACRC is an example of how diverse our Service Coordinators are and how extremely beneficial that is for our clients. Her calm demeanor and passion for helping others, allows her clients to seek independence, knowing they have an advocate on their side.