TECH Featured Staff | Chara Kemerling
Ever wonder what a day in the life of a TECH staff person looks like? Here's your chance to hear direct from the source. We asked Chara Kemerling, Service Coordinator at TECH, to tell us about her role, how she got started at TECH and what she loves about her job!
T | Chara, give us your TECH, Inc. story. How did you get started at TECH and what are your career goals within the organization?
C | I applied in April of 2008 because I needed a job, and I had some previous experience of working with people with I/DD in an institution setting. My first job was working as the Residential floater. I held that position for a year and a half before applying for a Service Coordinator position. When I first began working here it was going to be a temporary job until I found something else and now it has turned into a career. My career goals are to continue to grow and be the best that I can be every day.
T | Do you have a motto or personal mantra you live by?
C | Treat others how you want to be treated.
T | Any fun office nicknames you can share with us?
C | Janet R. calls me Chicken Little, but other than that, I don't think I have one!
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
T | Explain to us what you do as a Service Coordinator.
C | I coordinate and broker services for individuals receiving services in the I/DD HCBS waiver and providing Independent Living Counselor services for individuals in the WORK program. I also sit on the Leadership Team and mentor new Service Coordinators.
T | What does a typical day as a Service Coordinator look like?
C | Reviewing T-logs and GER’s and answering emails each morning. Scheduling meetings, writing/updating ISP plans, goals, behavior plans, completing paperwork for Medicaid renewals, doctor referrals, communicating with the MCO’s, guardian, payee’s, staff, and clients. Oversight of psychiatric services and mental health crisis management. Connecting individuals to health care, low income housing, food assistance, LIEAP, and other community resources. Applying for I/DD crisis services. Visiting with individuals in the community and at program sites to provide oversight and support. Partnering with schools to better serve children and attending IEP’s. Updating WORK program member’s budgets and approving PCS hours. Completing Medicaid billing and documentation on a daily basis. Assisting individuals to go through Vocational Rehabilitation through DCF to find a community job. Attend and provide information at BASIS’s for continued eligibility and funding. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's never the same day twice, and it's very hard to plan your day.
T | Describe an "ah-ha" moment that you've had while working for TECH, Inc.
C | Behaviors of others are driven by having their needs met.
T | What TECH, Inc. project or accomplishment do you consider to be the most significant in your tenure?
C | Helping any individuals access or receive services that have changed their lives for the better.
T | What would people would be surprised to know about your position?
C | It takes two to five years to feel like you have learned all aspects of the job. It takes patience, empathy to help others, and hard work.
T | How has TECH, Inc. helped you with your career development?
C | I have increased my knowledge base of waiver services, learned how to communicate effectively with others, and learned about other community resources. It has taught me a great deal about mental health issues, and behavioral needs. I have learned how to prioritize, work under pressure, and remain calm in crisis type situations. It is important to lead by example.
T | What advice do you have for anyone who might want to become a Service Coordinator?
C | You don’t know what the job entails until you are doing the job.
T | What’s your favorite thing about working for TECH, Inc?
C | Helping the individuals that we serve.
THE FUN STUFF
T | If you could witness one historic event, what would it be?
C | The fall of Constantinople.
T | Favorite things to do on your days off?
C | Shop, go to the lake when the weather is nice, spend time outdoors, visit friends, and rest.
T | I’m happiest when...
C | When all aspects of my life are in harmony.
T | What is your favorite quote?
C | This is hard because I have many favorites, but here are just a few.... 1) Always stand up what you believe in…even if it means you have to stand alone. 2) Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge. 3) Don’t let anyone rent space in your head, unless they’re a good tenant. 4) No matter what people think of you always keep singing your own song. 5) Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.
Thanks, Chara, for sharing with us! For those of you considering a career helping others and think TECH could be a good place for you, be sure to visit our Careers page and check out our current openings! Click here to learn more about our TECH Leadership Team.