For NW Works Direct Support Professional Sabrina Cook, helping others has always been a part of her life plan.
Sabrina was raised in Clearbook, Va. by her grandmother, a hard working nurse. As a teenager, she helped support her aging grandmother and quickly took to the role of care-giver, ultimately following in the footsteps of the family matriarch. She wasn’t alone either; Sabrina’s aunt and a cousin both work in nursing, while another aunt turned to case management.
But after more than ten years of working in nursing homes, Sabrina made the decision to shift into being a nurse in residential homes, supporting adults with disabilities. There, she saw an opportunity to work one-on-one with clients and provide a higher level of care. After talking with a friend who worked as a DSP, Sabrina made the jump and joined Blue Ridge Opportunity’s day program.
The decision was driven by a personal connection as well: Sabrina’s 16 year old niece who has an intellectual disability. She says she’s very close to her niece, who, along with her mother and sibling, live with Sabrina. Her experiences with her niece give her an appreciation for the clients she works with today, after joining NW Works in October of 2021.
“The happiness of the clients makes my heart full,” she said.
Currently, Sabrina works at the Trex enclave, providing support to the clients who work in the company’s processing and shipping facility right here in Winchester. One of the benefits she sees in the community is the integration of clients into the workforce. Watching clients and employees at Trex interact is a huge draw for her. “I like the community setting, because these guys get to enjoy being with other people who aren’t in the program.”
She thinks the rest of the community can learn from the partnership and wishes those who don’t have a connection to the disability community would take time to learn to listen to those with disabilities.
When Sabrina’s not working, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, as well as watching bowling. She is very excited for the upcoming winter Olympic games, which feature one of her favorite events, figure skating.