Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Alan Lewis

REGION: 4 – Hudson Valley

Position: Direct Support Assistant

Years of Service: 19


Alan Lewis says he appreciates the synchronicity of all parts of the job that help him find ways to help the people living in the home where he works to learn every day about the world around them. More than just appreciating them for the people they are, Alan says he encourages them to be the best they can be.


Christopher Debree, Developmental Assistant III and Alan’s supervisor says the care Alan bestows on a person who lives in the home for three weeks or for life is the same: Alan has a heart of gold.

“Overseeing Alan as he cares for someone who is on hospice or at the hospital will bring you to tears,” Debree adds. “Alan can bring a smile to the face of a person and their loved ones, during the most heart-wrenching situations.”

Debree says Alan is the staff you would want your family member to have overseeing their welfare when you cannot be there to do the job.

“People he supports are delighted to see Alan when he gets to work,” he adds. “The following day they are eager to share parts of their conversations with Alan and tell about the activities they enjoyed with him.”

Alan, Debree says, goes the extra mile to ensure that the people who live at the home make a good impression when in the community. They are always polished and neatly groomed, so they present a good appearance. They love the care he takes with their appearances and it shows in the proud expressions on their faces.

“Alan’s conversations with them involve a combination of humorous interaction and serious mentoring about the kind of impression they want to make when going out and about,” Debree says. “The people in the home are completely comfortable speaking to him about the ways of the world.”

Alan doesn’t have to be told the kinds of preferences for each person, Debree continues. He takes the initiative to remind the house manager about the need for haircut appointments, unusual encounters or incidents that occur, or needs that have become apparent to him.

“He was the best cheerleader for a woman who was recently hospitalized, visiting her with other people, encouraging her movement, providing a familiar, friendly voice for her in a strange environment,” Debree says. “She, in turn, was delighted at the attention.”

Susana Friedman, Team Treatment Leader, says, “Alan Lewis, our long-time DSA in the home is being honored as an outstanding employee and a caring advocate for the people living there. His creative ideas and methods of interaction have enabled people to clearly feel confident and happy with their lives.”

Debree agrees saying that Alan’s presence in the home is a gift to both staff and individuals alike.