Direct Support Professional Gail Kleckner remembers sitting at a table with the individual she was serving at Typical Life Corporation’s Adams County Day Program. Across the room, an individual began coughing.
Without turning around, the individual next to Gail called out to the coughing friend by name and asked, “Are you OK?”
“They know each other by voices. They know by actions. They know if someone’s upset, if someone’s sad, if someone’s happy, and they like to enjoy that,” Gail says. “That’s what keeps me coming back.”
A close family
Gail came to TLC in February 2023 after a stint as a middle and high school cafeteria employee. Before that, she worked in the health field for almost 30 years, primarily with the elderly. She has spent the bulk of her adult life as a caregiver in one way or another. Those combined experiences allowed her to become a keen observer and recognize various needs. They helped prepare her for becoming a Direct Support Professional.
When she came to TLC, Gail was surprised by the love and familial vibe she received from the individuals she served.
“The one thing that absolutely knocks me for a loop is they love you unconditionally and you need to love them back the same,” she says. “For me, that was a big deal.”
The first time Gail received a hand-drawn card from an individual she serves, she was blown away by the care the person poured into making her feel special. She thought she was coming to TLC to give of herself to the individuals she serves. But time and again, Gail has benefited from the love individuals show her.
It’s a reciprocal relationship that she sees day in and day out at TLC. Staff come in thinking they are going to make an impact and find themselves being impacted as well. Gail compares working at TLC to being part of a family where the members love one another unconditionally.
“We’re all the same,” Gail says. “We all need love. We all need family. It’s the same with these individuals and we need to show love that comes from deep within our heart.”
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