Koinonia is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Galarza, Zach Snyder, and the team at Wyleswood (Renee Deszo, Alicia Bonet, Natalie Cody, Nadia Mack, and Lisa Townsend) were chosen as recipients of 2021 Awards from Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA)!

Liz is the award recipient for Front Line Supervisor in District 7, and was nominated by Program Manager Paula Jordan and Development Associate Kelsey Mulhall. In her nomination, Paula highlighted Liz’s high standards for providing excellent care, as well as her creative and innovative ideas for enhancing the quality of life for the people she cares for. Kelsey notes that Liz is credited for saving the life of a person Koinonia serves named Debbie. Liz recognized that something was not right and ensured that Debbie was promptly seen by a doctor, who discovered that she had a blocked artery. Liz is seen as a “true hero,” who is dependable and can always be counted on to help.

Zach is the award recipient for Direct Support Professional in District 7 and was nominated by Program Manager Stephen Cristino. Stephen describes Zach as a “model DSP” who has made it a point to develop strong relationships with the people he works for and earning their trust. This past year, that mutual feeling of trust and respect was put to action when Zach assisted a Koinonia resident named Joe when he was diagnosed with a brain bleed. Because Joe is nonverbal, Zach served as his voice and advocate throughout his entire treatment and recovery, communicating professionally with the nurses and doctors, as well as the team at Koinonia. Due in part to Zach’s attention and care, Joe has fully recovered and is now thriving at the home. Stephen emphasizes that Zach is “dedicated, caring, reliable, and trustworthy. Without him, the home would not run as smooth as it does.”

The team at Wyleswood, consisting of Renee Deszo, Alicia Bonet, Natalie Cody, Nadia Mack, and Lisa Townsend, is the recipient of the Team Award. The team was nominated by Director of Waiver Services Jenn Rocco, who shared a story from a guardian about their loved one who lives at Wyleswood, Katie. Katie came to Koinonia after her supported living home was acquired by the organization. She and her roommates were in distress and chaos from the move, as her home has been through several providers over the last few years. Renee, Alicia, Natalie, Nadia, and Lisa created an environment for Katie and her housemates to thrive by utilizing trauma-informed care tactics. Under Renee and Alicia’s guidance, the staff have come together to work as a team and dedicate themselves to the care of the people in their home. They help and respect each other, as well as those in their care, even under challenging circumstances. This dedication was incredibly apparent when Katie, her roommates, and the staff were diagnosed with COVID-19 last year. The staff responded by choosing to stay in the home and take care of the residents, with some staff even temporarily moving in to provide 24/7 care until everyone recovered.

Congratulations to all of our OPRA Award Winners!