VOA’s Moses named Louisiana’s Direct Support Professional of the Year

Sharon Moses Thomas

NEW ORLEANS – Sharon Moses, a direct support professional with Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, was selected as the 2021 Louisiana Direct Support Professional of the Year by the American Network of Community Options and Resources.

“The Direct Support Professionals are vital individuals of the Volunteers of America team,” said Voris Vigee, president and CEO of VOASELA. “They are necessary and a critical part in the lives of the people we serve. Sharon is a great example of going the extra mile to fulfill the mission of our organization, and I am so proud to have her on our team.”

“A lot of times in this field, you’re just doing the work, but it felt really good to get recognized,” Moses said. “It let me know that I’m doing everything right. Every day I try to give 110 percent to whatever I’m doing.”

Moses has worked with VOASELA’s Supported Living Services program since 2014. She has worked with Thomas, a person who is living with an intellectual and developmental disability, her entire career and also fills in for other team members as needed. The SLS program allows people with disabilities to remain in their homes, living independently, obtaining and maintaining employment, and enjoying social activities. Support is provided to adults with various disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and elderly individuals.

“Our relationship is more like a friendship. It’s like a brother/sister relationship,” Moses said. “We like the same type of music. He loves to eat. I love to eat. The food, the music, and just laughing and joking and stuff like that keep us both smiling all the time.”

But it’s not just about going out to dinner. Thomas had a goal—but not necessarily the motivation—to become more fit. Moses knew that trying to persuade him to go to the gym for his own benefit wouldn’t work, so she invited him to accompany her during her workouts. Thinking he was doing her a favor, he started working out on his own while at the gym with her. Now, he walks with her in the park and is doing a much better job of maintaining a healthy weight. Sharon shows that it is all about meeting people where they are.

Born and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Moses moved to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and became certified as a nursing assistant. She moved back to New Orleans in 2007 and started working in the seafood industry. In 2014, she started working with Thomas at Volunteers of America.

“I’m always helping people in need. I love caring for people. It’s my passion,” Moses said. “My mother and my grandma always said that this is my purpose. I tried other stuff, but this is just something that I love doing,” Moses said.

Since 2007, ANCOR has honored excellence in the field of direct support with its annual Direct Support Professional of the Year Awards, underwritten by ANCOR Diamond Partner Relias. Moses is one of 50 outstanding professionals who were award recipients including statewide honorees in 44 states and the District of Columbia, as well as five recipients of special category awards.

For more information about Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, visit www.voasela.org.

 

 

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