As the program coordinator at REM Ramsey’s Southwood home in Minnesota, Amy Aguirre empowers the women she serves to express their desires and concerns and together with staff reach goals that were once thought to be impossible. Amy’s sincere desire to listen and learn about the individuals she supports is the foundation of her approach and the basis for the high standards she has set for her team.
“Amy promotes the independence of the women she serves and enables them to be more confident, especially in controlling their lives and exercising their rights,” said Nichole Hoffman, program director at REM Ramsey and Amy’s nominator. “She lets them know that what they say matters.”
Whether it’s supporting an individual in her passion to be politically active, motivating someone to overcome severe interfering habits such as hoarding or social reclusiveness, or helping an individual communicate for the first time, Amy is there for the women with a determination second to none. She passes that approach along to every direct support professional (DSP) she welcomes into the home.
“A lot of it is going over their histories and how what we are doing is affecting them,” said Amy of her DSP trainings. “I could easily end at ‘this is their routine,’ but that would be an injustice to both the staff and individuals we serve. When you know and truly understand an individual you can help them.”