Rutha McClain, 2008 Trustees’ Fund Awardee

Rutha McClain, 2008 Trustees’ Fund Awardee

Direct Care Behavior Assistant
Child and Adult Residential Services
Orange Park, Fla.

Rutha is one of the most exemplary staff I have worked with in my entire career. She first started working at our Bottomridge House with the most aggressive and self-injurious individual our division serves, who we will call “George.” Due to the severity of George’s behavior, many staff requested transfers to other houses, quit, or simply requested not to work with him.

However, Rutha did not run away from George; she actually worked with him more often than other staff, while doing so in a very loving and nurturing manner. She would even sing his favorite songs to him and rub his back to help George fall asleep. Even though she has such an enormously sensitive and compassionate side, Rutha always followed the Behavior Support Plan when working with George and was quickly to assist other staff if necessary.

Although she is not officially a supervisor, she makes every place she works a better one. Younger staff have reported stories of how Rutha took them under her wing and mentored them, telling them not to get caught up in the gossip and negativity that can quickly overcome a small work environment, such as a group home. She leads by example and always does the right thing.

In conclusion, Rutha is most deserving of this award because she always brightens everyone’s day — whenever you walk into the house, she will always greet you with a warm smile and a high five! Truly great staff are not simply great staff by themselves; a truly great staff member makes the people around her better. That is what Rutha McClain does every day she works!

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