Each and every day, GoodLife’s amazing direct support professionals (DSPs) are making a meaningful difference for our residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the organization as a whole. DSPs are the backbone of the company, and live-in DSPs provide care at a more personal level, living alongside residents to provide around-the-clock teaching, support, and companionship in a consistent environment. Cheyenne Stroble shares her experience as a DSP at GoodLife and how she found life-changing purpose and passion in an unexpected career.
Cheyenne, what led you to a role serving GoodLife’s population as a DSP?
The restaurant industry was hit hard by COVID in the spring of 2020, and as a manager, my job was suddenly unstable. I wanted a career with longevity and consistency to support me and my 12-year-old son, and was hired by GoodLife as a DSP. I had never worked in a care setting before, but with 11 years of restaurant management experience, I was confident I could do well. GoodLife provided a three-pronged approach to training. This included online training, followed by a five-day, in-class pre-service workshop (PSW), and finally, on-the-job shadow training. They walked alongside and provided me with the tools I needed every step of the way.
What surprised you most about being a DSP?
Prior to GoodLife, I didn’t really know what to expect when working with individuals with disabilities. On my first day, I walked into this beautiful duplex and instantly felt the warmth of home. The residents were funny, kind, and eager to connect with me. Every day I arrived at work, the residents were so excited to see me and made me feel like family. I quickly realized that I was in the right place, and that life for me and my son was about to change.
(Note for readers: Cheyenne isn’t the only one who found a new, life-changing career as a GoodLife DSP. Read Debi’s story here.)
And how did your life change?
After working across several homes and experiencing different environments and types of people, I was presented with the opportunity to become a live-in DSP. I said “yes” immediately. Currently, three residents live on one side of a duplex, and my son and I live on the other side. We’re all homebodies, so we spend a lot of time cooking and playing games together. We also go to a nearby lake and enjoy the trails for fun, little adventures and learning opportunities in the community.
I work front half/back half shifts, which means I work Wednesday thru Saturday. I love GoodLife’s unique scheduling options – it truly allows me to have a rewarding work/life balance and be there for my son. I never knew I could enjoy work so much. To be honest, it doesn’t even feel like work. It feels like I get paid to take care of my family. Until I became a DSP, I didn’t know I had the capacity to love others as much as I do now. I know now that being a DSP at GoodLife is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a DSP?
I’m given the opportunity to show individuals with disabilities all of the amazing things they are capable of. GoodLife values quality of life, and I’m honored to be able to have a significant role in making that possible for my residents. When I take my residents out into the community to participate in everyday life activities, their ear-to-ear smiles are all I need to know I’m doing right by them. They’re incredible people who have a lot to teach us about love and acceptance.
It’s also rewarding to know that I am raising my son to be inclusive and compassionate. He loves spending time with the residents, and often brings his friends around to join in playing games, painting, and cooking dinner. I’ve heard him teach his friends inclusive language and actions. It’s important to me that I’m helping to raise a more understanding generation.
What do you wish everyone knew about GLI and the services they offer?
This job is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also difficult. Every individual has a completely different set of needs, and a lot of patience, understanding, and compassion is required to juggle the varying levels of care. Because of this, your heart has to be in it. The rewards of that hard work are immeasurable, though. You have a chance to make a meaningful difference in someone’s life every single day. That’s special.
What’s next for you and GoodLife?
My desire is to become a shared living provider within the Professional Family Teaching (PFT) program. There is a resident that has really caught my heart, and I want to focus on providing full time care for her in my home. My ideal situation would be to serve as a PFT while working in a manager role within GoodLife.
Ready to join us in making a meaningful difference? Check out our Careers page to learn more and apply for a position at GoodLife.