Cathy Has a Mission to Serve
Cathy Morris has made a career out of helping others. She says the desire to nurture came long before she took her first job.
“I grew up in a family of eight, helping take care of my younger siblings,” said Cathy, a Direct Support Professional (DSP) for REM Minnesota, a partner of The MENTOR Network. “I was already used to caring for others when I started working. Nursing came next, and then it all fell into place.”
Cathy worked as a nurse for more than 20 years, eventually transitioning to work in the Redwood Falls public school system before joining REM Minnesota as a DSP.
Ready to Lend a Hand
In her job as a Direct Support Professional, Cathy serves adults in REM’s Supported Living Residences, also known as group homes. She pitches in to help wherever and whenever needed to help the adults she serves have fun and feel like they are part of a family. She can often be found baking cookies with the residents, helping them make crafts, or taking them out into the community to pursue the goals in their individualized service plans.
“Employees like Cathy are the heart and soul of REM,” says Pat Masyga, Executive Director of REM Minnesota. “She is committed to supporting the needs of the individuals we serve and giving back to her community.”
One of Cathy’s favorite parts of the job is when she helps coordinate holiday meals for the residents.
“Many of the adults in our group homes don’t have families, so the holidays can be a difficult time for them,” she said. “We try to make them feel like part of one big family with us.”
Making a Difference at Work and in the Community
When she isn’t at work, Cathy pursues her other mission, volunteering for Special Olympics. She became involved six years ago and immediately saw the positive impact the program made on the athlete’s lives. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to support Special Olympics however she can.
Cathy now serves as Southwestern Minnesota’s Administration Coordinator for areas six and eight and as the Head of Delegation for Redwood Falls. She oversees nearly 700 Special Olympics athletes and their coaches to ensure that everyone who wants to be involved is able to participate.
In 2013, Special Olympics honored Cathy with their Spirit Award, recognizing the many hours she donates each week and her commitment to helping athletes compete and have fun. Cathy says her volunteer work is especially meaningful because many of the adults she serves at REM Minnesota are also athletes in the program.
“I do this for the smiles on their faces,” she said. “When they get a ribbon, they want to come over and show it to you. The coolest part is getting to see the look of joy on their faces.”