Direct Support Professional of the Year – Caitlin Vanden Bloomer Image

Caitlin has been in Sarah’s life for over twenty years now. Caitlin was initially Sarah’s babysitter and has been caring for Sarah since high school. Over the years Caitlin has become Sarah’s best friend. Caitlin is now married with two children of her own and a third on the way and continues to treat Sarah like family. Sarah is please to be a “big sister” to Caitlin’s children. This means a lot to Sarah as she loves to spend time with Caitlin and her family. Over the years of caring for Sarah, who has autism, Caitlin has shown her kindness, love and protection.

Caitlin has been kind to Sarah since the beginning. When no one wanted to take Sarah to homecoming, Caitlin went with her as her “date.” Before Homecoming, Caitlin and Sarah shopped for dresses together, and had their hair done. Sarah loved being able to go to homecoming and spend time with her best friend. Caitlin has never lost her patience with Sarah, even in difficult circumstances. Caitlin is soft-spoken, but firm with Sarah and takes the time necessary to explain to Sarah what’s happening at any given moment.

She is also very protective of Sarah. Sarah is indiscriminate about strangers and stranger danger. Caitlin watches Sarah closely when they go out to eat or shop together or even when they stay overnight in Caitlin’s cottage. Caitlin is one of the few people who Sarah’s family trusts without reservation to be with Sarah even for extended periods of time. Caitlin has become a second mom to Sarah and knows all her quirks and how to address them. Sarah is not terribly verbal, but never hesitates to tell anyone that she loves Caitlin and that Caitlin is her “best friend in the whole world.” Caitlin is nurturing and generous with her love toward Sarah, and Sarah has always felt loved by her.

In nominating Caitlin for the Direct Support Professionals of the year, Sarah’s mother mentioned how much they value Caitlin in their lives: “We LOVE Caitlin. I don’t know if I could ever find someone quite like her for our Sarah. She is more than deserving of this award.”

Caitlin, we are excited to honor you as one of our Direct Support Professionals of the Year. Your care and commitment to Sarah is awesome!

Your Consumer Direct Care Network Team