Carol Grabbe Direct Hire Success Story

Carol Grabbe

Making My Life Happen!

Hello my name is Carol Grabbe and I have been a Self-Advocate Coordinator employed by the State of Connecticut by the Department of Developmental Services for 12 years.  This has been an amazing job and I am proud of all the advocacy we support within CT.

I have had many experiences within DDS both as an employee and as a person who receives supports from the department.  What you may not know is that I used to be in the supported living program for 22 years!  I have to say, that I learned many skills but I also began to recognize that I am an independent woman.  When I was part of the supported living program I recognized that there were restrictions to living my life. I only got a certain amount of money to spend a week, and if it was gone I had no more money until I saw my worker again.  This is how I lived, and it definitely wasn’t easy.  Back then, I was LOUSY when it came to saving my money.  I’ve gotten better since then.  I felt like the program was my security blanket because I was there for so long.  Then I didn’t like the way I was being treated, I felt like people didn’t care about my feelings any more.  There was one day I actually ended up missing an important appointment.  Things just got a lot worse for me from there.  And my case manager at the time said to me “Carol you’re better than this it’s time for you too spread your wings”.  She was encouraging me to hire and manage my own staff.  I can’t tell you how scared I was.  Because I’ve been in Supported living for 22 years, and that’s why I say it’s my security blanket, but it was time for a change, and I’m so glad that I decided to hire my own staff because it’s the best decision I could have made.

I’m in charge of who I can hire.  I look On Rewarding  This is a great resource if you’re looking for a staff.  You go on the website, and you can read the persons application.  I love being in charge.  I have been hiring my own staff now for 10 years.  This is quite an accomplishment for me.

Being your own boss has its challenges too.  You have to find the person you feel that is best for the job that can take time to really get to know you and support you.  I am working on being a better boss, because I want to be a great boss and improve my skills.  In doing this, I know I will have a better relationship with my staff.  I love having the best people around me.  I was lucky to have had one of my staff support me at my job for 4 years!

I live with my fiancé Ray and I hire my own residential staff to help me.  Actually, the staff that worked for me for 4 years is now my residential staff.  We do things like go to the movies, goes grocery shopping, he’ll go over the bills with me, he always asks me what I need to do, and that shows a lot of respect.

Ever Since I have left supported living my life has definitely changed for the better!  I am now in control of my own life, I choose who I can hire, and I love it.  And what I’m most proud of, is, that I have been doing this for 10 years now. I’m proud of the accomplishments I have made, and   I wouldn’t change a thing! I made MY LIFE HAPPEN!