This Program Manager Empowers Individuals with IDDs
For nine years, Program Manager Antoine Robinson has cared for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
By Sydney Kerelo
For over 20 years, Antoine Robinson has cared for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. At first, Robinson accepted the position as Program Manager for the paycheck, but shortly after, he fell in love with the work.
He worked at Lynch Homes for 11 years in their community living homes before KenCrest absorbed the company in 2014. Since then, he has worked as a Program Manager, bouncing around to various community living homes in Pennsylvania, overseeing approximately eight residents, and helping them to live happy, healthy, and meaning-filled lives.
One thing Robinson strives for with all the individuals he supports is for them to gain independence and to achieve a sense of self; where they can make decisions in their lives independently, without relying on staff support. He strongly advocates for the people he supports to access KenCrest’s Enabling Technology and Employment programs to help them improve that autonomy.
“It’s never been about the money to me; it’s just about helping people,” says Robinson. “Not everybody is the same, and I strongly advocate for independence.”
“In this job, you get to help people be independent, and it’s rewarding to me to see them do something they couldn’t before,” he adds.
For nine years, Robinson has supported individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with scheduling their doctor’s appointments; helping to maintain a healthy emotional and physical environment; ensuring that all needs and desires of each person he supports are met; and helping them to achieve their most significant potential.
Recently, a gentleman he supports struggled with turning his lights on and off. He wanted something to help him have control without needing extra assistance. So, Robinson connected him with KenCrest’s Enabling Technology department to set him up with an Amazon Alexa to control his lights.
But while Robinson understands the need for independence, he knows that everyone he works with is at a different level and their needs for support vary. So, while he encourages some men and women to achieve independence, he helps others find meaning in other areas.
“One of the people I support loves cars, so one day, I took one of my clients to a car show at the credit union,” says Robinson. “I brought my son along with me, and they both got along so well. By the end of the day, they talked and hung out like best friends.”
Building that connection between client and family is a big deal to Robinson. He regularly tries to include the people he supports in his family outings because, to him, they are family.
For 21 years, Robinson and his wife supported an individual through a different organization’s Lifesharing program. For years, the couple cared for the person they helped, ensuring he was healthy, happy, and lived a meaningful life.
“He was very independent and did a lot of his stuff, so I would’ve hated for him to be in a Community Living Arrangement where his life was being dictated when he didn’t need 24-hour care,” says Robinson. “So, my wife and I were able to provide him the support he needed while letting him live his life, and I think it’s important to have different levels of care for people because not everyone is on the same level. So, I strongly advocate for independence. If you can do it, I will be behind you 100 percent of the way to help you achieve it.”
Have you ever thought about becoming a program manager? Click the link below to apply to KenCrest today!