Emmaus’ core values of initiative, integrity, collaboration, and customer centeredness are a natural part of our culture. In the day of COVID, our team members have constantly been embodying these core values for the women and men of Emmaus. For 19 years, Michael has adapted Emmaus’ core values into his daily life. As a Quality Education Specialist and sometimes Direct Support Professional, Michael is finding the mission of Emmaus to be as crucial as ever in the wake of COVID.

The pandemic has greatly impacted Michael’s role at Emmaus in various ways. As a trainer, for instance, Michael and his team had to focus on how to keep our current employees up-to-date on their training during a pandemic.

Finding a balance between safely following the CDC’s guidelines and still providing the high-quality training we pride ourselves in at Emmaus was challenging to say the least,” Michael says. “We had to make many changes and develop new skill sets quickly. Inspired by our commitment to our amazing clients and their families, we pulled together as an organization to combat not just the virus, but also the fear and anxiety that came with it.

Emmaus team member Michael with Emmaus client

Another impact from COVID has been limiting Michael’s work as Direct Support Professional. He was picking up shifts in homes when his schedule allows. Now Michael has been limited to only being able to work in one home. The regular direct support team in the home Michael is helping with are working double shifts regularly, so his support goes a long way toward not only supporting our clients, but also our other team members.

It is common to see people working long hours, supporting clients who are often restless and struggling with the negative effect of the pandemic. We have a perfect storm of some people helping beyond their limits, while others who long to help more, like Michael, are limited by the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.

It has been sad not being able to see clients nearly as much as I was accustomed to,” Michael stresses. “Although necessary, doing activities at home such as watching a baseball game on television together as opposed to going places in the community is not the same. Part of my job is teaching about the importance of having healthy relationships and so many of our clients and their loved ones have suffered from a lack of social interaction.

Emmaus team member Michael with Emmaus client

Michael is doing whatever he can to support our clients and help out our direct support team members. During his shifts, he will sit outside and walk around the house catching up with clients, enjoying the nice weather as well as one another’s company. On one occasion, Michael helped a client bring out his Karaoke machine and they sang songs together.

Michelle Peters, Emmaus Chief Client Services Officer, adds to how Michael went above and beyond: “We did not have enough staff to make it through the increased direct support hours caused by COVID. If our trainers, like Michael, hadn’t picked up direct support hours we might have had to ask more families to take their loved ones home. We might have had to close more homes or even move clients out of their home in the middle of the night.

Emmaus team member Michael with Emmaus client

Despite Michael’s assistance in support, our clients and team members still need more resources to stay safe and be able to experience engaging activities at their homes. The massive impact of your gifts is evident in every Emmaus home each and every day when we see happy and safe clients being supported by happy and safe employees. This is made possible by your donations.

It is uplifting and encouraging to see the support from our donors who have looked past their own challenges with the pandemic to support the clients, staff, and mission of Emmaus.” Michael acknowledges. “I recall working my first shift in a home after the pandemic started and just how eye-opening it was to how much more PPE and cleaning supplies are needed due to the pandemic to keep everyone safe.

The dedication of Emmaus Direct Support Professionals requires them to keep showing up when our clients need them the most. Now we need YOU to show up for them. We need every person reading this article who can make a gift to do so. This Giving Tuesday is your chance to Show-Up for Those Who Need It Most.

Emmaus Team Member Cindy with Cindy Emmaus clients back in the day
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