Andi Wind followed her mother, Lori Schaufenbil, to Home and Community Options. Andi studied cosmetology, but when she went to work in the field, she found that it wasn’t as fulfilling as she had hoped. Her mother suggested she try HCO. Lori had been with HCO for a number of years and thought Andi should at least give it a try.
Andi has now been with HCO for six years. She started out as a DST, Direct Support Trainee, providing day-to-day services such as bathing, cooking, and taking individuals on trips. After receiving additional training at HCO, she moved up to DSP, Direct Support Professional.
She took some time off to have her son, Matthew, in December of 2014, and when she returned in February of 2015, it was as a Behavioral Aide at the children’s resource home where she worked with children with autism. She then transitioned to working with children with a variety of disabilities, and later became a Program Assistant at a residential program in January of 2017.
She is now a Primary Counselor, working with two gentlemen who are verbal and fairly independent. It was a homecoming of sorts, as both men were at the very first house she worked in after joining HCO.
As Primary Counselor, a position Andi says she has had as a goal and has worked to attain, she does a lot of computer work, maintaining programs, keeping track of financial information, ordering and passing medications, assisting with meal preparations, and maintaining a relationship with the gentlemen in her care. She notes that it can be difficult to balance the paperwork with giving as much attention to the individuals as she would like.
One of the two men in the house works a 40-hour week, so Andi has less contact with him in her Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 work day. She says he is very work-focused and hates to miss a day on the job, so he seldom takes time off to attend HCO or community functions. He cleans at the Montessori school and at Peerless Chain. He likes his jobs very much. When he is home in the evenings and on weekends, he enjoys being outside, throwing a ball around, or in the summer, tending his garden.
The other man in the house is retired. He and his housemate like to go fishing together and look forward to going whenever they can. He enjoys helping with technology problems, fixing things, and playing his guitar. He is very fond of music, especially ’80s rock, which relaxes him.
One of the more difficult aspects of her job, says Andi, is trying to balance completing necessary paperwork while supporting the retiree with things he’d like to do at home and in the community throughout the day. Getting the timing just right for the two of them to go on outings or spend time together while still making time for rest of her job duties can be challenging.
He likes to go on drives. One of his favorites is to go to Pickwick, where he likes to watch the waterfall. He also likes to drive past the lake, past Winona State, and past HCO’s central office just to see what’s going on.
Even though he does not particularly like being in crowds, he did attend a neighborhood gathering and does enjoy planning an out-of-town trip once or twice a year. He has attended a Def Leppard concert and is planning to attend a Vikings game next year.
Andi sees much growth in his behavior and independence. She says it is the little things that make the biggest differences. For instance, when Andi taught him how to make his own breakfast in the microwave, it thrilled him. He is very proud that he is able to make it on his own and doesn’t have to wait for staff to be available.
The holidays can be a difficult time for the younger gentleman Andi works with. He doesn’t have contact with his family and he enjoys staying active most of the time, so days off of work with nothing to do are hard. He has many interests, including WWE wrestling. During his summer vacation, he enjoys attending camp. Camp Winnebago has closed, however, and he has since found a new camp that includes horseback riding. He has been an integral part of the backstage crew for the HCO musical for many years, working closely with Ed Krage, the stage director. He has become close to Ed and his wife, Paula, and goes out with them once a month or so.
Both gentlemen whom Andi works with have become a part of Andi’s life, and she a part of theirs. She looks forward to going to work each day and likes the good days, full of joking banter and camaraderie. She also likes to plan meals for the men that will help keep them healthy and satisfied. Their progress towards independence and relationship building in the years she has known them makes her feel proud to be able to help people make the most of what they are able to do.