Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Sophia McDonald

REGION: 5 – Brooklyn
Headshot photo of Sophia

Position: Direct Support Assistant

Years of Service: 9+ years


Sophia McDonald says the smiles and the gratitude displayed by the people she works with when they accomplish a specific task or reach a goal on which they have been working, is what she loves the most about being a direct support professional. “They are so pleased, and so am I,” she says. 


Patricia Mahon, Developmental Assistant II and Sophia’s supervisor, says Sophia is very compassionate and demonstrates a genuine care for the needs of the people she works with. “She advocates extremely well for them, and she encourages them to care about their appearance, their behavior and how they present themselves in the community in which they live,” Mahon adds.

“Sophia is always very pleasant and polite to everyone she encounters,” Mahon says. “She demonstrates respect for her supervisors, her coworkers and toward the people she supports.”

Sophia presents herself well whenever she must take on a leadership role, specifically when Mahon is off duty. Mahon says a good work ethic, coupled with a consistent and conscientious attitude towards others and her work assignments is what sets Sophia apart from others.

Sophia demonstrates her desire to help the people she supports live richer lives by both advocating for their needs, and by encouraging and supporting them to celebrate their heritage while becoming integrated into their community.

“At the home where she works, one resident loves the Reggae singer Bob Marley. Sophia took him into the community to help him purchase a T-shirt that displays the singer’s image on the front,” Mahon provides as an example. “Upon returning from shopping the gentleman was extremely excited about his purchase and showed it to everyone. Now, when he listens to Bob Marley’s music, he often wears that special T-shirt and always smiles.”

Sophia often assists people in making personal choices and follows up by taking them to cultural events in the community, such as the annual West Indian Day Parade on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Mahon says she respects, celebrates and encourages interaction by the individuals with their background and culture.

“She displays and states that she loves what she does, and she is always willing to explore new ideas or approaches to achieving a goal or completing a task,” Mahon concludes. “It is evident that what is important to the individuals is important to her.”