Janice Murphy is a direct care associate at the Hannah & Friends neighborhood in South Bend. She recalls her experience with Mosaic over the past four years. Despite the fact that most of the girls she works with have close relationships with their families, she also feels they have a special family unit at Hannah & Friends.
A personal connection.
Janice came to Mosaic from another local agency after a friend made the switch. Soon after, she felt it was fate as the Hannah & Friends neighborhood was built on land her father farmed in the 1920’s.
“I’ve been with Mosaic since 2011 and I’ll be there until the end if they’ll have me,” Janice said.
Adapting to the job as a direct support associate is not always easy. Getting to know the girls on a personal level- their dislikes and likes, moods and routine takes time.
“When I came, I was afraid of this tiny 96 pound girl. She had behaviors. I was afraid to take her out into the community,” she said.
“She’ll say, ‘You’re the best’ and your heart breaks. When you put her to bed, she’ll say she loves you.”- Janice Murphy
After time, Janice’s patience and willingness to work with Alex paid off in a positive way.
“She’s funny, she loves to sing over the rainbow. She’s a very smart girl. She tests new staff and she just laughs and you have to also. Consistency has helped. She’s a one on one type of person. Everyone just loves her and she loves you back.”
“She’ll say, ‘You’re the best’ and your heart breaks. When you put her to bed, she’ll say she loves you.”
More than a job.
When one of the women who lives at Hannah & Friends had to be hospitalized, Janice was there every day to visit her at the hospital.
“We would go visit her on our days off. It was really scary,” Janice said.
“We still talk about her- it’s not like she’s gone. She’s alive in the house.” -Janice Murphy
Janice used to work in the Meaningful Days Day Program but says the one-on-one time she has with the girls at Hannah & Friends is more fulfilling.
A sad time.
“When we lost Britt…how the company handled it…her room was empty for seven or eight months. They respected that. I thought that was wonderful they respected her. The hardest hit was Laura. She understood more of what happened. We still talk about her- it’s not like she’s gone. She’s alive in the house,” she said.
Working as a team.
“Since I started, everyone I worked with, we’re a team. We teach the new staff and I’ve filled in at the other homes a lot when we were short staffed. I got to know the other girls there. I worked with Amy who has a g-tube and is nonverbal. It was scary but I got used to it. She makes sounds and I can interpret angry or happy ones. I’m getting used to her moods.”
“I’m willing to come in anytime and fill in when they need me or stay longer. I do grocery shopping but it’s like doing my own and I forget things, so even if it’s my day off, I run out and get bread or milk and take it to them to make sure they have what they need,” Janice said.
“Sonja is a good manager to have because she doesn’t expect anyone to do something she wouldn’t do so I do the same. I’m willing to do it so she doesn’t have to. She sets a great example,” Janice said.
You can support the Hannah & Friends neighborhood by joining their 5k Walk and Fun Run on June 27th. To sign up follow this link: http://www.hannahandfriends.org/events-page/hannah-friends-5k-run-fun-walk/