Lorraine McCall, Employment Specialist, Is More Than Special To Many!

Lorraine McCall, Employment Specialist
at the Island Lane Day Program
was one of three nominees from Marrakech for 
ANCOR's 2015 DSP Recognition Award!
This national, annual award recognizes the best of the Direct Support Professional workforce and, at the same time, raises awareness of the devotion, professionalism and quality supports DSPs provide in their daily work. Most people are not aware of the vital role DSPs play in their communities; and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)'s National Advocasy Campaign is out to change that.
We are so proud of Lorraine and are honored that she has been a part of the Marrakech family for over 25 years! We congratulate her and thank her for the wonderful work she is doing with the individuals she supports.
Here is information from Lorraine's nomination:
What are some of the activities and accomplishments Lorraine has shown in assisting the individuals in achieving person-centered positive outcomes?
One of the individuals with whom Lorraine worked was more than capable of working in an employment setting at his day program, but seemed to always have difficulty staying on task no matter which job coach was working with him; his behaviors when reminders were given would always increase. Lorraine came along and everything changed. She was able to teach him the value of working by helping understand his value. She built up his confidence by telling him over and over that she knew he was the “man for the job”, and gave him examples of things he would be able to purchase with the amount that he held on payday. Lorraine began calling him her “assistant” because he became so driven to work, which her manager reports “made him beam with pride”. His behaviors at work have disappeared and he is now the highest earning participant in the program.
Description of the relationships Lorraine has developed with the people she supports.
Two years ago, Lorraine’s mother passed away, which was very difficult for her. When she returned to work, not only did every individual she works with have a homemade sympathy card ready for her, but in the days following her return, many individuals independently approached her with nice words and big hugs, which illustrates how important she is to them. This enabled Lorraine to get through the difficult time. She truly treats the folks she works with the way she wants to be treated. Loraine’s gift as a DSP has earned her several offers of promotion to management, but turned them down because she valued her relationships with these individuals and knew, despite the pay increase, that taking a promotion would reduce the time spent with the folks she loves. She says that she rewards them, but they reward her in return. And those rewards, she says, are bigger.
Examples of how Lorraine has advocated or affected change with and/or on behalf of people with disabilities.
Years ago Lorraine noticed that one of the individuals she worked with at the group home, LK, was always talking about current events, but when she asked him if he was registered to vote, he didn’t know that that meant. She knew that she needed to help him to understand what it meant to vote and advocate with him to help him get registered. She took him to get information about what voting meant, what a difference he could make by voting, and how to get registered and then sat down and explained it all to him. After helping him register, she took him to vote for the first time. When he got the sticker that said “I voted” that day, he just “lit up”. He wore that sticker so proudly and showed everyone he saw that day that he voted.
Description of the sacrifices Lorraine has made in order to be a Direct Support Professional.
When a gentleman from the group home she worked in went into a nursing home for medical issues, Lorraine was sent to provide supports to him during the day. While there, she noticed the regular nurses were not giving him the care they gave other patients, due to his disability and blindness. She began to aggressively advocate for him when he needed something, but worried about when she wasn’t there. She began visiting him often on her own time, time she could have been spending with her family. When she walks into his room and he hears her voice, he lights up. OG ended up moving into the nursing home permanently and Lorraine continued to visit after she finished her regular shift to make sure he was alright and happy. Years later, she still visits him regularly; decorating his room for the holidays and still making him smile.
What are some examples of creativity Lorraine has shown in individualizing supports and services provided?
When Lorraine worked at the group home, one individual, DC, often displayed inappropriate behaviors that would cause her to fall. Because she was scared of going to the doctor, the behaviors would be compounded if the fall caused an injury that required a visit to the doctor. One day DC hit her head during one of these incidents, which required stitches. Lorraine was somehow able to get her to the hospital without incident, but once there, the doctors could not keep her calm enough to stitch her injury. Lorraine quietly told the doctors to “work with her”, climbed up on the table with DC, lay down with her, and had the doctors “give her the stitches” first. Because Lorraine had developed such a special relationship with her, DC began to console Lorraine and the doctors were in awe when they were then able to give DC the stitches without incident.
Select one tenet of the NADSP Code of Ethics and show how Lorraine exemplifies the chosen ethic.
While working with our consumers for the last 25 years, just one of the tenets of the Code of Ethics that we have seen Lorraine exemplify, along with many others, is“promoting physical and emotional well-being”. It is very important to Lorraine that she do everything she can to make them smile and support their well-being. Recently, she was witnessed quietly singing “You Are My Sunshine” to one of the consumers in her program to cheer them up; she didn’t know anyone was watching, and the song recipient was clearly touched by her personal attention. Lorraine’s supervisor describes her as “The kind of person you would want to take care of your mother”, because of the gentle, consistent and compassionate care and concern she has and shows for each individual she supports. When you watch her interacting with individuals, you say to yourself, ‘Wow!’ She’s that good”.
Each nomination also required an affirmation letter or statement from the person(s) served and/or a family member.
Here is the letter submitted by Kathleen Colliton-Weisbruch M.A. CCC/SLP
Speech/Language Pathologist Consultant
To Whom It May Concern,
Of the countless lives that Lorraine McCall has blessed, there are two very special people that would have a great deal to share. They would be honored to write letters of genuine and heartfelt gratitude. It is my belief that if they were able, they might look something like this…
Dear Lorraine,
Many many years ago, when my hair was not this gentle shade of gray, and my once robust feet eagerly took me everywhere that I wanted to go, I met you. I was in your day program. I was a busy person and I wouldn’t sit still for very long. I would get very nervous and frightened around people and would spit at them. But you understood my fears. You would let me rest my head on your shoulder. You always respected me. You were always patient with me.

I would often wander over to peer out of the huge glass store front, with my hands and arms instinctively wrapped and cocooned in my sleeves just as they’d been, at the hands of others, during my early years. You would watch me as I would gaze out of the large windows that looked out onto the hustle and bustle of the streets around me. You decided that it was time for me to go outside.

Well, I’d never gotten used to wearing shoes and I learned quickly just how to remove them as soon as they’d been put on my feet. So, you would gently remind me to go and get my shoes so that you could put them on me. Then, you’d swing open the door and that beautiful light and all of that activity would engulf me. And everyone in those little businesses on the street would greet us warmly. I felt like I was somebody! I felt alive for the first time in my life!

Pretty soon, I learned that if I wanted to go out- I could tell you. And you would listen to me. All that I had to do was to go and get my shoes! You gave me the gift of a lifetime. You are my greatest teacher. I will always remember you.

Your friend,


Dear Lorraine,

I don’t know where to begin. You’ve been my strength for the many years of my life. As I lay here quietly, all alone in my bed, listening to the sounds of the nurses and attendants caring for those around me, the voices are all unfamiliar to me in this place. I am looking out with eyes that can now only peer into my soul. I remember of all of the places that I’ve been, and all of the places that I’ve lived. Throughout all of them, you have been the one constant in my life.

Life in a nursing home is not an easy one. When I felt my deepest and darkest, my loneliest, you would suddenly appear for a visit! I would hear you approaching with your cheerful voice ringing out in the hallway as you greeted the other residents. The infamous “chinking” of the collection of bracelets you always wore, the exclamations of admiration at the artistry of your hair and nails, the vibrant colors of your clothing – these were what defined your signature style! How eagerly I looked forward to your visits!

My body had long since retired into a posture unforgiving and at times painful. I could no longer sit up or reach out to you. You would lean over and gently kiss my forehead. You would turn on classical music and speak to me of the memories that we’d shared over the years.

They’d call you and tell you that I was in the hospital-again. And there you were. You knew that regardless of how sick I might have been, I would know that you were there right beside me- again, and again.

Your friend,



Three Employees Nominated for National Award!

We are excited and honored to announce the nomination of three of our employees for
ANCOR’s 2015 Direct Support Professional Recognition Award
Greg Brown, Program Counselor in the Community Support Services Program, Lorraine McCall, Employment Specialist at the Island Lane Day Program, and Mike Luongo, Employment Specialist also at the Island Lane Day Program were nominated by their supervisors based on meeting the criteria set forth by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).  
This annual award recognizes the best of the Direct Support Professional workforce and, at the same time, raises awareness of the devotion, professionalism and quality supports DSPs provide in their daily work.  Most people are not aware of the vital role DSPs play in their communities; and ANCOR's National Advocasy Campaign is out to change that. 
The nominated employees, who have been with Marrakech for a combined total of 65 years, personify "person-centered" in the way they provide services and have, over the years, been a constant source of support and encouragement for the individuals they support. We are so proud of them and will feature each one of these employees and their nomination story individually in upcoming blogs, so keep an eye out for them!       

Although there are so many stories about our amazing employees doing wonderful things for individuals here at Marrakech every day, we were only able to submit three nominations for this award, and it was very difficult to select just three!  We continue to collect these stories about incredible employees and will share them with you in the upcoming months!


We Are Marrakech!

 What's This #GivingTuesday Thing About?

#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a day of giving back.  It is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following two days of shopping deals.  More than 10,000 organizations have participated in this celebration of giving. Tomorrow we hope that you will support Marrakech’s #GivingTuesday campaign.

Even a small donation makes a difference.  $10 pays for one of our staff trainings.  $25 buys a week’s worth of coffee at our Taking Initiative Center (TIC).  $40 sends one of our consumers on a summer trip to Camp Harkness.

Each time you share a story about Marrakech on Facebook, grab a cup of coffee at our Village CafĂ©,or recommend our services to someone in need, you support our mission.  And you become part of the Marrakech experience. 

Over the past couple of weeks our employees, consumers, and community partners have shared their stories of the Marrakech experience on our Facebook page and blog.  Tomorrow, on #GivingTuesday, we hope that you will join in with their voices.  Send us a photo of yourself holding a sign saying “I Am Marrakech.”  Share our stories with your friends and family.  Make a donation, in whatever amount feels comfortable to you, in support of our programs and services.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many people!

Follow our campaign on Facebook
Learn more about #GivingTuesday at givingtuesday.org
Support our organization on our webpage www.marrakechinc.org