UCC-related Emmaus Homes in St. Charles, Mo., has announced that Azeez Bada, a direct support professional, is a recipient of the 2019 Direct Support Professional Award given by the Coalition of Service Providers of St. Charles County. The St. Charles County Coalition of Service Providers is a network of agencies that serve people with disabilities.
Azeez ensures that the people he supports are well taken care of even during the most challenging of times, as he consistently demonstrates values that are not only noted by his co-workers but by others. Emmaus receives countless phone calls by members of the community, families, hospitals and co-workers recognizing Azeez’s dedication and commitment to the clients he works with. Azeez’s compassion for those he supports is evident in all his interactions, as he consistently advocates for them in all settings.
Azeez has such a gift for building relationships not only with the individuals he supports but with his team. This has been evident on more than one occasion, as he has been the one consistent staff member who can calmly, quickly, and successfully deescalate a client whom he supports when others have been unable to. A specific example of this was when a client was in the process of being admitted to a psychiatric unit at the hospital.
The client was having an incredibly difficult time and caused issues for nurses, doctors, and security guards. He began running around the unit, and disrobed in the middle of the floor. No one was able to calm him, but when Azeez asked if he could come back to the area and assist, his impact was undeniable. Azeez sat down next to the client, began speaking to him in a calm and soothing voice, addressed his fears, and encouraged him to allow a gown to be draped over him Then, he volunteered to stay and assist the hospital staff while they did lab work, x-rays, and the assessment. Although his shift had long ended, Azeez remained until the situation was stable.
Another example of his commitment was also a huge breakthrough for the team. A client who does not like his hair cut or shaved, whether at home or at the barber shop, resides in the home for which Azeez works. Several attempts have been made to get this accomplished with no success. The client would shake his head, run away, and become highly agitated when any attempts were made to cut his hair. When Azeez started working with the client, he would sit with him, engage him and take him for rides and walks. He was able to connect with the client in a way that other direct service providers could not. One day, Azeez brought the clippers out and first just let the individual hold them. The next time, they turned the clippers on, while each took a turn at holding the clippers. Then Azeez put the clippers by his ear to hear the sound and then demonstrated the process first on himself. Finally, he asked the individual if he would like to have his hair cut, and the individual promptly went to his bathroom and sat in the chair so Azeez could complete the task. He continues to be the only staff member that the client trusts with this process.
Azeez has built strong relationships with his co-workers, and he routinely mentors and trains both new and current staff. They all speak very highly of him, are very responsive to his feedback and suggestions, and even the Direct Support Leads look to him for guidance and support with challenging situations or times of crisis. Azeez works across multiple homes and has been a role model in each one.
Other staff members respect him, and he is always able to rally the team when new directives are put in place. He will come in early or stay late to ensure proper training is provided and has the courage to address others when they aren’t following proper protocol or when he feels changes could be made to improve the lives of the individuals supported. He took the initiative to request a meeting about concerns related to meaningful outings, organization of the house, and monitoring of client funds/supplies — and was able to drive home the importance of holding each other accountable.
Azeez is a huge asset to Emmaus and continuously demonstrates its four core values of customer-centeredness, initiative, collaboration, and integrity. Since joining Emmaus as a direct support professional, Azeez’s work ethic and dedication are worthy of note. Although he has only been with the organization just under eight months, his attention to team members and clients’ needs are commendable.