Paula is a long-standing Service Coordinator at Alta California
Regional Center (ACRC). With over 23 years of experience, her
knowledge of the service delivery system is monumental. She has
made an immense impact on the lives of her clients and the
community by educating them about developmental disabilities and
the services available for those with a disability. Paula began
her career at ACRC because she was interested in working with
clients and navigating the challenges that might arise, based on
their needs. She enjoys working collaboratively with her clients
to find solutions to their unique predicaments. Her flexibility,
expertise, and personable disposition has made her a valuable
member of ACRC.
While in college, Paula attended a job fair and spoke with a
representative of Sacramento Children’s Home, an organization
committed to administering care to Sacramento’s most vulnerable
children. She became employed with the organization and provided
support to emotionally disturbed children. Paula was shocked to
learn how much trauma the children she worked with had
experienced in such a short expanse of life. She decided to major
in social work because she was inspired by their experiences and
was motivated to help others. After obtaining her Bachelor’s in
Social Work, Paula wanted to work at ACRC because of the
opportunity to meet a diverse group of people. She enjoys the
little victories she witnesses when supporting clients at ACRC;
from getting their first paycheck to moving away from home to
live independently. Paula feels pride when she sees the effort
her clients put in to thrive in their lives, and she appreciates
her involvement in the process.
Over the years, Paula has witnessed many changes at ACRC. When
she first started, she worked on a typewriter and dictated her
notes. With the transition into the digital and technological
age, she adapted effortlessly to the new way of working. Despite
the advantages of technological improvements (i.e. computers),
Paula mentions her role, in some ways, was easier 23 years ago.
When she initially started, her case load was larger, but the
standards were different; what is expected today wasn’t the
standard then. As laws, regulations, and the service delivery
system transformed, Paula found new changes and challenges arose
to understand and adjust to, even with a smaller case load.
Writing clients notes and the construction of an Individual
Program Plan (IPP) has evolved to be much more in depth. She
adapted to the ever-changing system, and has been successful at
acclimating herself to the new standards.
With her extensive tenure at ACRC, Paula has had many memorable
moments with her clients; one in particular comes to her mind.
The first day Paula met a new client was in a hospital while she
was giving birth. At the time of this initial meeting, police and
other officials were waiting to take the child away from the
client, its mother. Paula calmly explained to her client that she
needs to comply – during this time in history, individuals with
developmental disabilities were regarded as unfit to be parents.
Together, Paula and the mother worked to gain custody of the
child. This experience, like many others, has contributed to her
favorite reason why she enjoys working at Alta California
Regional Center – building trust and a relationship with our
Paula is officially retiring later this year, and warmly welcomes
younger generations to take over. She said, “I feel like I did a
good job. At first, there was a lot of emotions surrounding my
[upcoming] retirement, but now I am ready and can take pride in
the work I have done.” Paula plans to enjoy her retirement with
gardening, travel, spiritual growth, and serving as a volunteer
in the community. Paula’s strong and outgoing personality will be
missed by staff and clients alike.