Natasha Moulterie has worked as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at ILA’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation Program for four years. Together with her outstanding colleagues, Natasha works with Individuals in the program to meet their goals and lead fulfilling, productive lives. “We make sure they develop the skills that they need to thrive,” Natasha explains.
Currently, she’s working with one Individual, Kerryann, to enhance her etiquette and communication skills, and to write a resume. Xavier loves researching trains and other topics on the Internet. When Individuals write in their journals, Natasha helps them to hone their writing and editing skills. Sometimes, Individuals teach, too. “Sanjay will do anything for you. He is non-verbal, so he’s helping to teach sign language,” Natasha points out.
When discussing ILA’s Day Hab participants and their exceptional progress, Natasha is filled with pride. It’s obvious she loves her job. “Just being here with the Individuals makes my day,” she says. “We’re like a family.”
The support and guidance Natasha provides have also contributed to significant progress during community inclusion activities. When they visit the Roosevelt Field Mall and other retail locations, she teaches Individuals effective money management skills, including how to count change. “Individuals have the opportunity to make choices and purchase items that they want to buy,” Natasha points out. Individuals also volunteer at Citymeals on Wheels, a local flower shop, and a soup kitchen, learning about the importance of giving back and making a difference in their community.
“With every activity, I help Individuals build self-confidence, encouragement, and self-esteem,” Natasha says. She keeps the lines of communication open at all times, even when she’s on vacation, checking in often with her supervisor, Keicha Goulbourne. If Individuals miss Natasha, she’s only a phone call away to answer a question or say hello. She encourages Individuals to communicate with each other as well, and to neverb e afraid to express themselves in a polite, positive manner. Positivity is a trait that is ingrained in Natasha. She will always greet you with a cheerful smile, even during difficult times.
“My brother passed away on my birthday last year, but I just couldn’t stay home,” Natasha recalls. “You could see the stress in my face, but it didn’t define my personality. I learned from a former boss that whatever I have going on in my life, I will not give it out to you. I choose to bring joy instead.” That winning philosophy has also been instrumental in improving the moods of Individuals. “When I come to work in the morning and an Individual is exhibiting behavioral challenges, I always talk to them and try to make them feel good for the rest of the day,” Natasha explains. Together, they get some air and talk it out. The nurturing support works both ways.
When Natasha was out for a few months after shoulder surgery, Individuals were eager to speak with her and provide words of encouragement. It’s obvious that the positivity she spreads is contagious! Natasha’s passion for helping others dates back to her days working as a day care center worker, and from a residential services position she held at another human services agency. The desire to help contin- ues to exist, and also applies to when she’s off the clock. “Last week, I was walking with my son and we heard an elderly gentleman yelling for help, so I held his hand and helped him across the street,” she recalls.
Natasha’s compassion and commitment come as no surprise to Keicha, who praises Natasha for her dedication and availability. “She is always ready to work, including picking up the Individuals to bring them to program,” Keicha says. “She gets along great with the Individuals, she promotes their community inclusion, and is just wonderful. You can always count on her.”
Thank you, Natasha, for your hard work and dedication at ILA!