Amber Downs resides in Horseheads with her 1-year old son, Aaden, and 4-year old daughter, Jordyn. She has worked as a Program Aide for Able2 Enhancing Potential, Inc. since 2015.
“I started as a resident assistant in a nursing home as an after school job in high school. It became something I was passionate about,” Amber says. “I love supporting the individuals I’m working with to make them better people and more included in the community.”
Amber always has a lot going on. A wide variety of opportunities are provided to support skill acquisition in mobility, social skills, communication, safety, housekeeping, personal care, health care, and money management. “Amber is willing to step up and do whatever is needed of her,” says Day Hab Supervisor, Bobbi Pylkas. “Whether it is to work in the med room, help out in another group area, provide transportation or oversee our kittens that are being fostered.”
Amber’s daily routine changes frequently. Some mornings may mean trips to Walmart, the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, or the Samaritan Center. Others involve transporting volunteers to the Horseheads Community Animal Shelter, Bethany Village and Elcor gift shops.
Mike S. and Francis W. are both recipients of Able2’s Community Hab services and expressed gratitude for Amber’s persistence and guidance. “I’m glad Amber came back to work with me instead of staying in the other group area”, Mike said. “Amber helps me learn to do things by myself,” said Francis.
“The most rewarding part of my job,” explains Amber, “is the look on their faces when they accomplish a new task – and knowing I am making a difference in their lives.” Amber acknowledges that her job can be challenging. “Sometimes the individuals have a bad day – medically or in general. That makes it difficult because sometimes we, as supporters, don’t have all the answers to help them that day. But we always do our best to make it the best day we can. Even if it means changing plans to adapt to needs.”
Amber is a shining example of someone dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of those she serves. “I’m proud of the work I do every day to positively impact the lives of the individuals I support – and proud, too, of the relationships I’ve built with them.”