Incredible talent abounds at CareLink Community Support Services and while choosing winners is never easy, each year, the President’s Awards recognize some of the agency’s exemplary employees who encourage, empower, and support individuals living with mental illness. Individual awards are presented to employees working in a supervisory and direct care roles.
President’s Award Winners
Tara Batchler-Taylor, a Program Specialist at CareLink’s Harleysville residence, is responsible for the oversight of operations and direct support staff in the absence of the Program Supervisor. In her position, she is responsible for ensuring the health, safety, and proper provision of services in compliance with all applicable regulations.
Tara has developed a healthy rapport with the participants at Harleysville and other CareLink residences. She displays motivation and interest in working creatively with people with disabilities, and is eager to spend time with each program participant. Tara consistently finds new ways to actively engage, challenge, and motivate individuals to work toward their goals. She plays games such as Uno and dominoes so participants can practice counting, requested fake money so participants can learn different monetary denominations, and discovers new activities within the community that spark each participant’s particular interests. Tara’s relationships with the people at Harleysville undoubtedly promote peace and harmony in the home.
In her position, Tara is largely responsible for completing paperwork and documentation; her work in that area is exceptional and viewed as something to be emulated. Through her leadership and guidance, the quality of the site’s documentation has improved dramatically. Tara has also taken a keen interest in the upkeep of the Harleysville residence. She purchased new curtains and decorations for the house, stained and polished the hardwood floors, and improved the overall homelike quality of the residence. Tara’s pride in her work shines through her beautiful maintenance.
Tara displays strong leadership skills and provides staff with an excellent example of what a CareLink employee should strive to be. She is professional, punctual, and dependable, and the quality of her work is outstanding. Tara has demonstrated tremendous commitment to her program and the agency.
During his four years at CareLink, Tyler Wilson has consistently demonstrated compassion, commitment, and dedication in his role as a Residential Counselor at the Providence Road residence.
Tyler possesses a true understanding of what it means to be a mental health professional. He enjoys helping people and it shows each day in the way he engages in therapeutic activities with people in services. Tyler always puts the dietary needs of program participants first when doing the menu planning and grocery shopping for Providence Road. He is also committed to making sure the site is operating safely for its residents and his co-workers. Tyler reports immediately when he notices any safety concerns at Providence Road, and this year, he joined CareLink’s Safety Committee so he could gain a better understanding of safety issues at the residence.
In 2018, Providence Road experienced the deaths of two participants who had been with CareLink for many years. When the residents were declining, Tyler continued to provide them with the best care possible while they were still at the house; his commitment and compassion were obvious. When they were transferred to hospitals, Tyler would visit the participants on his days off and sit or play checkers with them. Though he took it very hard when both residents passed away, Tyler was able to smile and laugh when he shared stories about them. A family member of one of the participants expressed her sincere gratitude for the care that Tyler provided for her brother.
Tyler is the true definition of CareLink’s mission: “To assist adults living with disabilities in acquiring the tools necessary to live healthy and fulfilling lives. We do this by investing unconditionally in the success of every individual who walks through our doors.”
President’s Award Nominees
The eternally kind Kevin Branch, a 21-year CareLink employee currently serving as a Residential Counselor at the Highland Road residence, demonstrates supportive communication with participants, co-workers, and external stakeholders. He consistently conveys respect, encourages hope, and takes a non-judgmental approach to participant affairs.
A member of the CareLink since 2004, Linda Hanson has become an invaluable member of the Jefferson Street team, where she brings professional nursing skills and an innate compassion and caring to her role as a Residential Counselor.
Patrick Harrell is a full-time Residential Counselor at the Step Down program, who also serves as a Relief Shift Supervisor at STAR and SSL as needed. He is a dedicated team player who takes the initiative to get the job done.
Erin Keely is a detail-oriented Beacon Drive Program Supervisor who invests unconditionally in all of her employees and participants. Her cheerful and practical manner, combined with the high standards she holds for herself and her team, are a perfect example of CareLink’s values.
Carole Lavella, a past recipient of the President’s Award and CareLink’s Safety Award, has been with the agency since 2007. In her role as a Residential Counselor, Carole is an effective multitasker that always goes the extra mile to ensure that everything is in place at Crum Lynne. She is also a member of CareLink’s Safety and Wellness Committee.
The staff and residents of STAR 1 know Paul Taylor, a Residential Counselor who began his employment with CareLink in 2002, to be extremely kind, compassionate, generous, and always willing to step in and work.