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Foothills Gateway Nominee for 2022 Alliance Direct Support Professional of the Year

April 07, 2022

Little did we know when Jared Renken began working for Foothills Gateway Inc. in February 2019 that he would play such a vital role in getting us through one of the most disruptive periods in our organizations’ fifty-year history. When Jared came to us, he had previously worked for another local PASA and had hands on experience. He was hired to be an Activity Coordinator (Direct Support Professional) in the Sensory Integration program- a highly specialized program that serves individuals with IDD and challenging behaviors. The program has a staff to person served ratio of 1:1 and Jared just seemed to mesh into the program right away, working to provide these very individualized services. Today, he continues to work in this area which provides a combination of community access and specialized habilitation services. Jared demonstrates a calm and cool demeanor regardless of the challenge of the situation. He is attentive to situations occurring around him and yet not reactive. He quietly and simply addresses the situation, offering options and choices. Jared seems to have an endless supply of patience, and this is particularly important when working with people who need support with challenging behaviors.


At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Jared was one of a number of Day Habilitation staff who stepped up to assist in filling open shifts at the Residential PCA operated by Foothills Gateway. At that time, many other service arms of the agency had all but shut down under Larimer county’s stay-at-home orders. The individuals living in the home at the time also received Day Hab services through Foothills Gateway’s Sensory Integration program where Jared worked, and right from the start, Jared smoothly pivoted his wealth of knowledge and skills to the needs of a Residential setting. The subsequent months proved be some of the most challenging that staff had ever faced, as the effects of the pandemic trickled down to the residents and their families, and eventually to staff. Jared worked attentively with the people living in this home to help them cope with the plethora of changes that had suddenly occurred in their lives.  From meeting emotional needs to finding creative ways of encouraging engagement within the home, from drastic changes in behaviors to devastating medical crises, Jared was as dependable as the tides. Jared’s level personality served as a rock for his coworkers and helped everyone weather that storm together. Jared is always ready to go the extra mile, even when it means taking on tasks or responsibilities not in his original job description. Never one for idle hands, Jared is always working.  Whether it’s doing the dishes or wrangling the constant flow of laundry in the home, you can bet Jared is on it, despite domestic chores being far from his typical workday. When an individual in the residence was recently diagnosed with COVID in the midst of a critical staffing crisis for the setting, Jared played a crucial role in keeping the house operating. He readily volunteered to work shifts in the residential setting in order to provide direct care to the COVID-positive resident.


All in all, Jared is a “work horse”; a dedicated and compassionate Direct Support Professional who goes the extra mile to work in both his ‘home’ Day Hab department, as well as in the very grateful Residential department. Jared’s even temperament and steadfast commitment to the people he serves has been absolutely critical to the continued operations of not one, but two departments in this agency during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Jared is a true professional and a valuable asset to Foothills Gateway.

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