OKLAHOMA CITY -- Laura Barcenas was honored at the annual Governor's Conference on Developmental Disabilities held April 25 and 26 in Norman. Barcenas works as a house manager at Big Five Community Services, Inc. in Pauls Valley. She works with men who have significant communication barriers and helps communicate with them through body language or facial expressions.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) sponsors the awards to honor outstanding direct care professionals around the state.
Division Director Jim Nicholson says the purpose of the awards is to honor those who support people with developmental disabilities as they strive to become as independent as possible.
"Oklahoma is committed to assisting people with developmental disabilities find competitive jobs and become working taxpayers," said Nicholson. "In fact, we are onen of the top two states in integrated employment in the country." Nicholson explained that success for people with developmental disabilities is directly related to care, skills and attention provided by these professionals.
Angela Gabbard, supervisor at Big Five Community Services, nominated Barcenas for the award. "Laura knows the meaning of inclusion and is assertive in her efforts to include the men in their community and teaching the community by her actions," says Gabbard. "Her never-ending energy matches the pace of the home and her ability to speak two languages is greatly appreciated by the Spanish-speaking individuals and their families."