Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Antoinette Cola

REGION 2 – Broome
Antoinette Cola

Position: Developmental Assistant 1

Years of Service: 7


Antoinette Cola’s favorite part about being a DSP is having the opportunity to work and spend time with the people she serves.  

“They are all unique and special, and we have become special to them through the life experiences we share,” says Antoinette. “The most rewarding part is making a difference in their lives in small, but significant, ways. 

“As a DA1, I enjoy making sure that all the individuals in my care have all the supports they need to live the lives they choose to live,” Antoinette adds. “I really enjoy organizing and orderliness, and there are many opportunities to do both as a DA1.”


Antoinette was selected for this nomination because she has been a great asset to OPWDD, according to Karen Blakeslee, Antoinette’s Team Treatment Leader.

“She comes to work with a positive attitude and ready to assist in any way she can,” says Blakeslee. “She is an awesome role model to the individuals we serve, as well as to the staff around her.

“Antoinette is a quick learner,” Blakeslee adds. “She assists others and has great organizational skills and flexibility. She inquires about additional tasks that may need to be done and encourages choice and independence from the people she works with. Antoinette teaches and aids those we serve with compassion and praise reinforcement.”

Antoinette excels in all her work assignments, Blakeslee says. Families and individuals have requested more hours with her and some have even said “we need more like her,” or made comments to “clone her.” 

“She has worked assisting people in their own homes as well as in group homes,” Blakeslee adds. “Antoinette has a calm, respectful approach and encourages independence while she assists and teaches. She has assisted supervisors in all her work locations with record-keeping, organization and scheduling, when necessary. 

Antoinette is willing to assist where needed and is self-motivated,” Blakeslee says. “She actively listens and has a calming presence. She responds quickly to the needs of people she supports. She goes above and beyond on a routine basis.

“Antoinette supports person-centered planning to allow people to have choices,” Blakeslee adds. “She offers opportunities to be involved with the local community, looking for new experiences for people to engage in in their neighborhoods. She involves the individuals she works with in decision-making with meal planning and list making; she encourages life skills to enhance their abilities to live a richer life. She has developed great bonds with the people she serves and a great rapport with their families.

“We are fortunate to have Antoinette on our team to support the people we serve,” concludes Blakeslee. “Her calming presence, compassion and dedication are highly valued by all. Her smile and energy can lift one’s spirits. She is a great asset to individuals, families, staff and to OPWDD.”