Why I Work Here

 

 


OPAL JONES

President and CEO

Service:
Seven years

Why I work here
I believe in our mission after witnessing first-hand the impact that our programs have on the lives of our clients.

How my job helps DOORWAYS’ mission
In my role, I get to raise awareness for the need of AIDS housing and establish partnerships within the community. In doing so, we are able to provide more resources for our residents. I also ensure that our programs are managed well, allowing our clients to live the fullest, most independent life possible.

Best client memory

When I managed the Residential Program, I enjoyed moving families into apartments and seeing the kids run throughout the house in excitement, each claiming their own bedrooms.

DOORWAYS is best at
Compassionate care. We meet our clients where they are, no matter who they are, and aim to provide them with the best service possible. Our staff bend over backwards to get people housed quickly and pull off small miracles everyday– because they care that much.

If I could change something for our clients
I would ensure that they get the opportunities to improve their educational and employment prospects. I would also reduce the stigma they face in the community.

If I didn’t work at DOORWAYS
I can’t imagine DOORWAYS not being a part of my life in some way.

When I’m not at work
You’ll find me spending time with my husband and two boys. Oh, I shouldn’t forget my dog, Jazmine!

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BRENDA ARMOUR
Food Service Manager
Cooper House

Service: 17 years

Why I work here
I love my job! I love the mission at DOORWAYS. I love being part of people who help people. It makes me feel good about where I work. I’ve learned so much about how to take care of people living with HIV and AIDS. DOORWAYS provides the best nutritional care for people with HIV/AIDS. Here they have shelter, care and food.

How my job helps DOORWAYS’ mission
It’s very important for our clients to eat and to not skip meals. At Cooper House, clients can have food around the clock if they want it. Good, nutritious food. We don’t skimp on food here—I love that. Good nutrition and good food can help people with HIV/AIDS get their strength back to get back out in the world to live on their own. I teach a class on nutrition so that they know the right things to eat, especially when they’re on their own.

Best client memory
There was one young lady who came to Cooper House. She was 60% below her ideal body weight. She was sick, she was weak and she just wanted to give up. She didn’t want to live. In the process of my counseling her about eating, she opened up to me about her children. It helped me find a way to talk to her about what might be important to her.  I asked her, “Don’t you want to live for your children?”

After that we started to find things she could eat. We worked with the dietician and with each other to find out what would work for her.  She began to eat to get stronger. And just like that, weight started to come back on.  She got better. Now she is out on her own living with her kids. It was just a hard process for her to accept that she was HIV positive.

DOORWAYS is best at
Making people feel good about themselves and accepting the situation they’re in so they don’t have to be on the street. DOORWAYS gives hope to people—it’s not a place of hospice, it’s a place of healing.

If I could change something for our clients
First, the stigma they live with. And second, that they would be 100% compliant with their treatment and take advantage of opportunities to get better.

If I didn’t work at DOORWAYS, I’d
Love to be counseling people about everyday living. We all have our moments and to let people know they have a purpose in life and that they are valued. When people don’t feel they have any value, they don’t have a purpose.

When I’m not at work, I like to
Be around family. I love family! And camping, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding. I grew up on a farm, so I love being outdoors.

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TAYLOR McCABE

Residential Program – Client Service Coordinator

Service:
Started September 2013 as an intern

Why I work here
I have the wonderful opportunity to work with individuals with families as they face challenges that transcend a medical diagnosis. Not only does DOORWAYS offer me the opportunity to work with individuals and families; I have the ability to work with multiple communities and witness powerful change on a larger scale. DOORWAYS has the unique position to effect change and growth across the bi-state area, unlike any other agency I have seen!

How my role helps DOORWAYS’ mission
I have the opportunity to provide the mental health and supportive services to the clients served by DOORWAYS. I believe that in order to improve quality of life and health outcomes, those serviced by DOORWAYS deserve a variety of programming to facilitate this growth!

Best client memory

In my time here at DOORWAYS, I have been given the opportunity to see first hand the power of the services provided by the residential program staff and DOORWAYS as a whole.  With support and facilitation from DOORWAYS staff, I was able to see a client find the internal motivation to return to the work force and strive for his own personal goals in life.  This is only one example of how the services here at DOORWAYS encourage its clients to reach for their goals and ensure that no one is forced to walk alone on a difficult path.

DOORWAYS is best at
DOORWAYS is, in my opinion, a true leader in the area of “Housing and HIV/AIDS.”  The housing-first strategy has evidence that shows that by providing a roof over someone’s head, other aspects of their life will begin to show positive outcomes. DOORWAYS goes beyond this point and delivers services the clients want, in order to support their individual goal outcomes.

If I could change something for our clients
Rather than changing something for our individual clients, I would wish to change the way our society views HIV/AIDS. The stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS in today’s society is the remnants of antiquated and often ill-informed information from decades past.  If we as a society released the fear and stigma that still exists, we would enter a new way of thinking about and treating those served by DOORWAYS.

If I didn’t work at DOORWAYS
I would most likely still work in the area of HIV/AIDS. I may also choose to work with members of the LGBTQ community, as well as homeless youth.  I am truly a social worker at heart and no matter where I am working, I would like to have an emphasis on mental health.  However, as a former teacher, I appreciate having the ability to work one-on-one with clients and lead educational groups at DOORWAYS’ properties.

When I’m not at work
When I’m not working at DOORWAYS, you can usually find me out walking my dog and exploring the numerous city parks. As a new resident of the St. Louis area, I love to explore all of the wonderful food, activity and festivals throughout the city! I try my best, in my free time, to become a true St. Louis resident!

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