Support for Those Who Need a Helping Hand

For more than two years, Kencin Junior has been on the staff of CHD’s Meadows Homes for individuals with developmental disabilities, working his way up to program manager. What is the most gratifying part of his position? “I like interacting with the people we serve, hearing their stories, and being a support for them,” he said. “A lot of people look at those with developmental disabilities as people who can’t live full lives, but with the right services and resources, they can.”

CHD’s 20 Meadows Homes help residents develop emotionally, cognitively, and socially so they can reach their maximum potential. Support options include 24-hour residential support, shared living, and individual community support—depending on their needs. For Kencin, it is heartening to see some of the individuals he has worked with progress from needing 24-hour care to transitioning into a shared living situation, and then later moving on to simply receiving outreach services in their own homes.

“One of our residents started off with 24-hour care, and now she requires just four hours of staffing a day,” he said. “We have all the steps in place for those we serve to be successful.”

Meadows Homes staff provide residents with guidance in such areas as health and dental care, safety skills, nutrition and meal planning, money management, and relationship building, to name a few. Cooking classes, exercise classes and various recreational opportunities are offered as well. Staff also assist with transportation for community activities and employment opportunities.

Kencin said that treating Meadows residents with dignity, sensitivity, patience, and respect goes a long way. “They’re adults that need a little extra help,” he said. “Everyone in life needs some level of help and support, but the help our residents require is just a little different.” For Kencin, an uplifting aspect of his role is witnessing how appreciative the residents are of our staff and services. “They’re thankful that they’re able to live better lives because we’re a part of their lives,” he said. “It is great to see when they use our supports and learn and grow.”

Prior to coming to CHD, Kencin had experience with residential services at the Northeast Center for Youth and Families in Easthampton. He was also a vocational counselor at that agency and a paraprofessional at the Springfield Public Schools before taking overnight shifts at one of our Meadows homes in West Springfield. He then worked at one of our Meadows homes in Southwick before becoming a supervisor there. Now he manages five houses: one in Southwick, two in Ludlow, one in Springfield, and one in Chicopee. The most challenging part of his job is “not being able to clone myself” to multitask on his busier days.

Kencin likes CHD because it “goes above and beyond for its employees,” including providing stipends for staff toward tuition for college courses. “And the employee appreciation event in the fall is really fun,” he said. “I’ve never worked with anyone who has done anything like that.”