REGION: 4 – Hudson Valley
DSP: Laylee Gonzalez
Position: Direct Support Assistant
Years of Service: 1
Laylee Gonzalez was chosen as a Hudson Valley Direct Support Professional of the Year for her strong compassion for the people she supports.
“Laylee is very helpful, dependable and a team player,” says Tonya Miller, Developmental Assistant III. “One year ago, she stepped into the home and started to get to know everyone’s likes and dislikes. One person has autism and had a very hard transition after their previous home was temporarily suspended. The person refused to go on outings and spent a lot of time in their bedroom.”
“Laylee came along and built a healthy and appropriate relationship with her by giving her a voice to feel free and understand that this was her home and she had choices. This person now cleans her room and has started participating in outings of her choice, such as shopping for clothing, attending dances and concerts,” Wells says.
In December, Laylee organized a Christmas party for people at the home. She had the people at Lewisboro so excited to be a part of organizing the party they couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. They greeted their friends at the door and had everyone relax in the living room until dinner was ready to be served. At the party, Laylee ensured all food consistency was done correctly and foods were set out on the table making it easier for staff to assist people from other homes.
“The party flowed so well that people couldn’t wait to start dancing and singing Christmas carols,” adds Miller. “Laylee used her own money to decorate the home, purchasing curtains, Christmas shower curtains, snow for the windows and food. The party was the talk of the team and emails were sent thanking Laylee for putting together a memorable moment for the people we serve.”
Another example was in June, when a family member called to request Laylee do their daughters’ hair and bring her to their fathers 90th birthday party. The party was such a huge event and the family was so excited to see how good their daughter looked that they couldn’t stop thanking Laylee for being a part of their special occasion. Afterwards, the family sent flowers to the home for her to thank her.
Laylee is also known for her positive attitude.
“When she volunteers on other teams in Westchester or is deployed to another work location, she maintains the same positive attitude and assists people with choices,” Wells says.
“Laylee should be DSP of the Year for her passion and compassion she brings every day to work. Her training has shown growth in the individuals we serve,” Wells adds. “She goes beyond and has set examples for everyone. Her favorite words are ‘yes, baby, you got this.’ She encourages both staff and people she supports to never quit.”