Quality Lives for People with Developmental Disabilities

Our Staff

  • Darren Wilson

    Working at Richmond...

    Darren Wilson is one of two full-time Speech and Language Patholo- gists (SLP) at Richmond Community Services. The St. John’s University trained specialist has been with Richmond for over eight years and works with adults, concentrating on swallowing problems. Swallowing difficulties at this age effect nutrition, speech and even breathing leading to poor health and non-effective communication skills. The majority of SLPs work with children but Darren finds working with adults most gratifying. He has developed close relationships with those he serves and even their families and knows that they all deeply appreciate his efforts.

    Team Approach...

    Darren, with his constant smile and upbeat personality, has worked with a number of organizations but says that at Richmond he experiences “the most comprehensive team approach” of any agency. There are team meetings every morning, consultations with the direct support professionals, and constant availability of other rehabilitation specialists.

    His own approach on getting to know Richmond residents consists of talking to them rather than at them, observing them at meal times, learning their patterns and then developing therapy plans.

    Life’s Purpose...

    Darren says that he “was put on this earth to teach, to be engaged with people through a multi-sensory approach.” He feels at times that Richmond has given him more than he gives to Richmond. Darren plays the piano and the guitar, has two loving children and his wife is a Physical Therapist.

    He would highly recommend working at Richmond to professionals who want to be part of dedicated and effective treatment teams. 

  • Anita Thomas

    "Working here has expanded me as a person."

    Who I Am

    My name is Anita and I have been with Richmond for about 14 years. I was thrilled to be given this job and quickly came to love it. I spent the first few years here working at a group home with people with developmental disabilities and eventually started to work in a residence serving people who also have significant medical problems, where I am today.

    My Work At Richmond

    Working with people with many different types of developmental disabilities has expanded me as a person. I have learned so many things about people, about life, about families and about the challenges people face. Probably the most important thing I have learned is that the people with disabilities that I work with every day are just like the rest of us, except they communicate differently. They sing, they laugh, they love to have fun and they work hard at things they know are important for them.  All of my co-workers are 100% committed to their work. We have team meetings with the social workers and the program staff, never feel that we are isolated and there is always an atmosphere that the whole staff is working together. We discuss the needs of the individuals in the programs, any particular problems that they may be having and also are given the opportunity to give suggestions. I feel respected and valued.

    My Core Values and Beliefs

    Respect for the dignity of all individuals, no matter where they are from or what disabilities they may have is something that I deeply believe in. I think to work in an incredible place like Richmond, you must be mentally and physically committed to the work and truly believe in the satisfaction of helping other people live their lives as fully as possible.

    My Legacy

    I would like to be remembered as a good mother to my two children, a hard worker who always took full responsibility for her job and a happy person. As a parent, I always feel it is important to reassure the parents of the people I work with that they are in good hands and always safe. I consider their children my family also.
  • Bertha Chavez

    What I Do...

    My job at Richmond consists of picking up program participants in the morning, providing support for them throughout the day and getting them back home in the late afternoon. I work with adults with developmental disabilities on basic writing and communication skills, involvement in community-based activities and the development of job skills. Some participants work at places like St. John’s Hospital and The Salvation Army.

    Who I Am...

    I am originally from Ecuador and am blessed to have three healthy children. I also have a nephew who has Down Syndrome so I know the impact that a child with a disability has on a family. I know that the individuals I work with feel comfortable with me. I have come to feel like they are part of my family. By working with them so closely everyday, I help them express things and in a way, I become their
    voice. I always try to have a big smile on my face, joke around with them but know that the hard work we all do here is so important to maintaining and improving the quality of all their lives.

    What Richmond Means To Me...

    Since the day I began working here about 15 years ago, I have been so happy. I feel appreciated for who I am and  what I do. We work as a team so the people we work with get comprehensive and compassionate care. I see the staff always attentive, patient and loving. We all receive continuing training to keep us up-to-date and informed.

    My Sense of Purpose...

    I live my life by a line from the old Beatles song The End "Love you get is equal to the love you give". I truly feel that I was chosen for this type of work. In this world some people need more support than others and I am blessed to be able to provide this type of support. Even though I love dancing, music and singing, I know that what I do for other people is the most important thing in my life.