bona vista picnic

FAMILY — During a recent outing to a picnic at Highland Park, Bona Vista Residential Team Lead Deanna Depew helps Shawn K. get a plate of food to enjoy while hanging out with the rest of his housemates and staff.

When I started working at Bona Vista a few years ago now, I wanted to know everything. I wanted to meet everyone. I wanted to know why things worked the way they worked (even if it wasn’t my department). That’s just how my brain functions.

During that inquisitive time, I came to truly love our residential/group home program and those who work day in and day out to make it a success, not just the Caregivers for the Developmentally Disabled (CDD’s) but the team leads, QIDPs, nurses, and house managers, too. It truly is a group effort.

The culture that they create in each house is so unique. Some of that is by design with those they serve, but some of it is the house manager and their personality and the staff they hire to work in their home.

Quick background about the residential/group home program: Bona Vista has eight group homes – two in Peru and six in Kokomo. Each is home to eight persons served and is open 365 days a year. That’s because it’s their home! There’s never a time when we tell them they can’t be there – just like no one would ever tell you that you couldn’t be in your own home.

So what kind of people work in our residential/group home program? And what do they do to make me think that they are a fantastic group of individuals? I’m glad you asked.

These are a group of folks who love so deeply and passionately the persons served living in their homes that they would literally do anything for them. They spend countless hours taking care of the persons served, planning for ways they can lessen behaviors, taking them on outings, making sure they have the things the need, ensuring they have a safe living environment, helping them with daily chores, and the list could go on. And, they do it all because they want to. Sure, it’s a job, and they are getting paid. But, they could get a “job” anywhere. They choose Bona Vista because they care about the people.

In addition to all of their responsibilities while they are on their shift, they don’t stop when they punch the clock. They worry about the persons served all the time, calling the group home from their own child’s ball games to make sure everyone is OK, spending time at home coming up with ways to help an individual reach their goals, trying to find inexpensive ways to go on outings as a house because not all of the individuals have the same means or interests. They are constantly thinking about their “family.” And, I put family in quotes because so many of them have families at home, too. They are pulling double duty all the time, and they don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m painting them all with rainbows and glitter, but it’s not always glamorous. Their hours can be long, their jobs unrelenting, at times. But their resolve, passion, and dedication do not go unnoticed. They are an important part of our organization, and we are lucky to have them.

With all of that being said, let me get down to the nitty gritty. Since we have eight group homes with eight persons served per home who are staffed 365 days a year, we need your help! If you think that working in a group setting with adults with developmental disabilities is something you would like to do, we would love to have you! You can go online to bonavista.org and click “Apply” to check out all available opportunities. We have available residential/group home positions in Kokomo and Peru, full time or part time, or even weekends or evenings only. We are pretty flexible when it comes to working with your schedule.

P.S. Since Bona Vista has those eight different group homes that I mentioned, there are always different projects that could be done if there were volunteers willing to help. If you have a group or business who would like volunteer their services during the day (when the houses aren’t full of people) to paint, landscape, etc. please let me know! I’d love to help make their homes even better. I can be reached at 765-457-8273 or abrantley@bonavista.org.