Interview with Rhonda Keffer on Helping Adults with Disabilities
Rhonda Keffer is a Regional Administrator overseeing seven programs that include five group homes, a day program, and a supported living program. Her programs are a part of The Mentor Network, which is a national network of human service providers. Rhonda is a selfless, caring person who works long hours helping others. She is dedicated to making the lives of her clients better and as productive as possible. After reading this interview you will understand more about what it takes to run these programs and find out the type of person who is capable of doing it.
ANGEL: Rhonda, how long have you been with The Mentor Network?
RHONDA: I worked for a competitor starting in 1990, when another company took over; the other company was assumed by The Mentor Network. So I would have to say since 10/1/99, as that is when the other company hired me.
ANGEL: What all does your position entail?
RHONDA: I oversee 5 group homes, a supported living site, and a day program. I do a lot in my job from quality assurance (making sure we meet state requirements) to hiring and firing, and training employees and managers.
ANGEL: How many hours a week do you work?
RHONDA: I am a salaried employee so I work often more than 40 hours per week.
ANGEL: How do you separate your time between the various locations?
RHONDA: The company provides me with a laptop, so I travel to each site. I use the Outlook calendar to schedule my time with my managers.
ANGEL: What kind of clients do you have in your programs?
RHONDA: Currently my programs have adult individuals with developmental disabilities. Our client needs range from total care to independent with need for some assistance.
ANGEL: What traits should a person who wants to work at a group home possess?
RHONDA: Compassion, understanding, and the ability to work well with people. Our company has a true to life job video that possible applicants must watch before applying for a job with us. It gives them an idea of what the job entails, to see if they would still be interested in applying.
ANGEL: Do you have a lot of turnover with employees?
RHONDA: Yes, turnover is always high. Even more so in the human services field than most.
ANGEL: What is the oversight like for your group homes?
RHONDA: Normally there are two to three staff per 5 clients working in the group homes, a manager is assigned to oversee the daily functions.
ANGEL: Who do you answer to as far as health conditions, and client/patient treatment?
RHONDA: We answer to the State, our local Mental Health agency, parents & guardian's, the individuals we support, and our corporate office.
ANGEL: What would you say to someone wanting to place a client in one of your group homes?
RHONDA: As a person who has a few family members with disabilities, I would say that a group home is a great place that can accommodate the needs of your loved one. People often weigh out caring for their loved ones on their own, or placing them in a group home. It's a hard decision to make, but often times a group home setting can give their loved one the individualized care they need, and provide the family relief so the burden of care is not on them alone. When a loved one lives in a group home, it does not mean that the family does not care, they still have the option to visit, go on family trips, and be a part of their family member's life.
ANGEL: Are the long hours, stress, and everything else that your position entails all worth it?
RHONDA: When I look back at all the rewards of the job, I think it is. The people I have worked with have enriched my life greatly. When I'm working the long hours, and dealing with a lot of stressful situations all at one time, I think sometimes it's too much and have to get back to the mind frame of why I am in my job in the first place.
ANGEL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
RHONDA: Working in a group home is a very rewarding job, if you like working with people; you may find it is the job for you!
Helping better the lives of others is one of the most rewarding careers choices. But, you should make sure that you are prepared for all it entails. If you are compassionate, gentle, and understanding, then you could make a great difference in someone’s life by becoming a care giver.
Tags: The Mentor Network , Assisted Living , Disabilities , Nursing Home , Rhonda Keffer
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