Staff Spotlight: For Assistant Residential Director Ron Edwards, the reward of working with our students is astounding

January 18, 2018

Ron Edwards has been a member of the Children’s Services team for almost five years, progressing from part-time substitute to full-time overnight counselor, then supervisor, and now Assistant Director of Residential Services. “When I started, I earned the nickname of ‘Monday Ron’ because I worked every Monday for five months,” he recalled. Ron’s introduction to Latham came from his mother who has worked in the Adult Services program for 13 years. “My mother has made a career of working with people with special needs. Growing up, I always enjoyed interacting with the clients she worked with. After college, I was working at a garden center when my mother suggested I pick up some shifts at Latham on a part-time basis. I ended up really enjoying the time I spent with the students and took a full-time overnight position when it was available.” Ron cites two great reasons for staying at Latham: our students and our staff. “The students I’ve worked with and the staff I’ve worked alongside are incredible to work with,” Ron said. “I have always felt supported in each of my roles.”

Ron’s most memorable moment at Latham is from his time as a sub. “I was working a residential shift one evening and I took a few students to walk around campus looking for bunnies. All my life, I have called them “bun-buns,” and so I kept calling out for them. The kids I was with thought this was hilarious! They still call me “bun-bun” to this day!”

Latham Centers is committed to helping its staff develop their careers, Ron said. “I have been given the opportunity to grow as a professional and a leader. Growing my career here has made me realize that I love working with children and young adults with special needs. I hope to remain in this field for the rest of my career!”

Ron describes the powerful impact the students at Latham have on him: “We have students here dealing with a wide array of different issues, including trauma, an insatiable appetite, and intellectual disabilities. Despite these issues, they all share a goal: to live a happy life. Supporting them to grow as individuals can be extremely challenging. We as staff must beware of vicarious trauma, of burnout, of becoming bitter and jaded. It can be a difficult job, being your best even when you’re feeling at your worst. But I have so many colleagues that I see moving past those potential issues and feeling joy and fulfillment as their students gain in independence and skill. That moment when you see an individual do something successfully for the first time; that smile you get from a student who wants to share their day with you; that trust that the resident puts in you when they talk out an issue and leave the situation feeling better… Although there are challenges in working with the population that we do, the reward is astounding.”

 

Pictured above: Ron Edwards with colleagues Kristina Law and Gina Sheehan

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