Andi Brooks has been an advocate for the people she serves since she first entered the field of human services after moving from East Texas 15 years ago. She joined REM Iowa as a direct support professional in 2004, and has continued her person-centered approach to care as a program coordinator and now program director.
“Andi is a quiet person, unless there is a mission—then her voice is heard,” said Angie Thomsen, area director at REM Iowa and Andi’s nominator. “She advocates for the individuals in Davenport, ensuring that their voices are being heard and that the individuals are working toward goals that are meaningful to them as individuals.”
Andi’s ability to help staff do the same has made her an exceptional team member and leader of the three homes she oversees. The individuals her team serves are diverse with unique challenges brought on by brain injuries or multiple mental health issues. The goal is to help each individual navigate their life so they may one day live independently. Advocating through complex histories that often complicate access to care, Andi and her team are their voices to get the care they need.
“The individuals we serve are no different than you or me just because they have some limitations,” said Andi. “I make sure staff know that and that we are always practicing a person-centered approach to care in the homes and as advocates out in the community.”
Individuals served by the REM Iowa Davenport program aren’t the only ones who benefit from Andi’s determination. Andi is a member of the REM River View Safety Committee, which aims to prevent injuries among the people we serve and improve staff safety. She is also a field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where she works to raise suicide prevention awareness.