Rose Polidario beat the clock with her application to the Association in 1992. She was a new driver, new to Grande Prairie and lost in the city. With the help of a friend and a dash through a yellow light to save time, she found her way to the main office and submitted it in the nick of time.
Rose immigrated to Canada from the Philippines, where she was used to a society that kept handicapped people in institutions. The public had very little contact or knowledge about them. When she encountered a handicapped person there, Rose was scared and unsure about how to react. Rose was really surprised to see the way the handicapped are included in society and taken care of in Canada.
Canada really takes care of their people. They have funding for people with disabilities. They have workers to support people with disabilities. It doesn’t matter if they are mentally or physically disabled.
The 109th Ave residence was her first placement and Myriam Uribe was the supervisor there. Rose was unfamiliar with the work but willing to give it a try. “I was curious.” Myriam had been one of the panelists at Rose’s job interview and knew that she had many questions about the job. Rose was not sure what to expect from the clients and remembers that she was confused when she was told that many of them had jobs.
Myriam made her feel comfortable in the group home. When she was introducing everyone, one client came toward Rose loudly and with her arms failing. Myriam understood that Rose was feeling intimidated and made sure that she was comfortable.
All the clients at 109th Ave – had personal relationships with them even though they were non-verbal. Learned to read their body language. Made her understand that we should all treat each other equally, handicapped or not.
Personal care for clients was very awkward for Rose at first. Attending workshops and training with home care nurses helped her to get used to that aspect of the work. She realizes it is part of her job description. Rose tries to be sensitive to the new employees if they are uncomfortable with that level of care. She respects client privacy in all areas.
Rose worked at 109th Ave until 1996, and then transferred to the 90th St residence. She shared the position of Acting Supervisor with a co-worker, and says that was a good way to learn a lot about the job.
Early on in her training, Rose was invited to participate in the Personal Planning process. She thinks that the early involvement gave her a good start in understanding the process and, right from the beginning, she felt that her input was important. At first she was intimidated because so many people were involved in the process, but her co-workers were very supportive and that was a tremendous help.
Rose knows that clients have a tough time living everyday so she doesn’t have a problem with behaviours that occur when she is caring for them. She sometimes finds it difficult to work with staff who are not there for the same reasons she is. Individual differences can make the work difficult.
Because English is her second language, Rose makes a special effort to ensure that she is understood. When she first started working, she would write notes and have a co-worker check them over to make sure that she was getting her ideas across clearly.
Rose is the Supervisor at the 90th Ave residence and is very happy with her team now. It pleases her that they are all working toward the same goal. The atmosphere in her group home is open and constructive. Important changes can be made because problems are openly discussed and information shared.
Over time Rose has come to appreciate the challenges in her job. She says working with the handicapped has changed her attitude and outlook in life. And all this she can attribute to running the yellow light all those years ago.