Michelle’s nomination submitted by Patti Matzinger, Director of Waiver Services:

Koinonia is not just the National Spelling Bee Champions’ winning word, but a name that proudly identifies the agency we work for. A word of Greek origin meaning fellowship. But at the very heart of the word is community, partnership and generous sharing. While few can say or spell it, the reason Michele Moore has been nominated for the Founders Award is because Michele lives it.

Michele has been working at Koinonia in some type of residential capacity for 13 years and for the last 3 and ½ of them, Michele has worked as a Program Manager. Over these years, Michele has developed into a leader that embodies Koinonia’s core values and sets her apart from many.

Michele’s enthusiasm and personality has helped her develop relationships but more importantly maintain relationships with all those she supports.

Just one example I would like to share with you today is LF, an individual who struggled throughout 2017, eventually winding up in jail for about 2 and ½ months. When others stated she “belonged in jail” Michele emphatically said “No”. Michele used the time when LF was gone to lead a team of professionals in the development of a comprehensive person-centered plan to bring LF home. During the development phase of the plan, Michele knew success for LF needed to include family because that has always been a huge issue for LF as they promised to be around – but never followed through. Michele reached out to a cousin who LF loves and was able to get her to commit to having LF come over to her home weekly and potentially become her legal guardian.

Professional growth is a core belief of Koinonia and Michele struggled with not doing everyone’s job for them. The adage of “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, or teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is so true in the industry we have chosen. Working at Koinonia means we have chosen support and empower all people to become the best they can be.  This year she stopped doing everyone’s jobs and held them accountable – resulting in many personnel issues and high turn-over; but she knew change had to occur to create desired outcomes for the people we serve. Michele can now focus on achieving personal satisfaction for both the individuals and staff.

During Michele’s personal development as a leader, she continues to provide exemplary customer service through innovative programming. Michele has been a proponent of personal choice and because of that listens to the women. Two of the women at The Way approached Michele wanting to leave and move into smaller homes with roommates of their choice. These 2 women have gone on to new homes within Koinonia and are experiencing life as they define it. Michele is also credited with developing numerous community outings that are cost-effective, desirable and envied by others such as going camping for 2-3 days, going to Pittsburgh for overnight stays, giving the individuals opportunities to experience all types of venues in the community. Cedar Point isn’t just a day trip, it is 1-2 nights so individuals can experience more than the rides and food but can also experience other community opportunities. With all that said, I think Michele’s most important work is done when she teaches the individuals they should give back to people instead of always receiving. Michele, along with the individuals, participated in 2 volunteer projects this past year: serving food to the homeless, and creating gift bags & distributing them to people in a Nursing Home. Both projects were well thought-out and the individuals who participated walked away feeling respected and a part of something bigger: LOVE.

Michele recognizes that people can make a difference if certain values are applied to everyday living for all people: excellent communication, personal accountability, integrity, and respect for all. While she doesn’t always have people willing to exhibit these values, she is committed to finding them and offering them a chance to learn, grow and succeed.

Michele, you are admired by your staff, peers, and management. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do all while representing Koinonia as an agency that is committed to service excellence for individuals with IDD”.

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