Jennifer Jimenez quickly identified where her unwavering work ethic comes from.
“That comes from my roots–my mom, my dad, and my family,” she said with pride. “I always remember my mom telling me, ‘If you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it all, and don’t waste your time.’”
Jennifer has taken that advice and become an indispensable part of the AHRC New York City Family. A Residential Habilitation Coordinator with Home Care Services, Jennifer was recently named as one of City and State magazine’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars for Nonprofits.
“Jennifer changes people’s lives. She is so special and goes above and beyond to form relationships and trust with people,” said Jennifer Teich, AHRC NYC’s Director of Individualized Supports. “We want to make her feel appreciated and hope she realizes how much she means to our program.”
Fell in Love with a Job
Jennifer joined AHRC NYC in 2015. “I came into the field because I was going to school to be a certified nursing assistant. I had met a lot of great people in that school, and they helped me find a career with AHRC NYC.”
Blanca Ortiz, Field Supervisor, recognized Jennifer’s talent early on.
“She started working with one of my more difficult cases,” Blanca recalled. “She worked on that case for more than two years. The family loved her.”
Jennifer agrees that she is a natural fit for the field. “I don’t know I was lucky or blessed, but it was so easy to fall in love with the job. I felt like I was going about my day with my friends.”
Her ability to work with people from all walks of life comes from a core belief about supporting people with disabilities. “We serve people who want to be the best that they can be. We here not to judge. We should try to understand every unique situation and every unique person’s goals and what they want to be in life. It’s a field where you need a lot of patience. Some days will hard for them, and some days will be easy. We’re there to make sure they get through the day, no matter what.”
“You’re there to teach them, but in reality, they’re teaching you more, especially if you’ve never worked with someone with disabilities. If you’re willing to learn and willing to care about the next person, you will fit in because they will open their arms for you.”
Recognized for Going Above and Beyond at Parkside
When Parkside Terrace in the Bronx opened its doors in 2019, 12 apartments were reserved for people with I/DD supported by AHRC NYC. These tenants would be living on their own for the first time in their lives, requiring new life skills and reliable mentors to guide them through this exciting transition. Jennifer Teich and Blanca knew the perfect person to enlist.
“I think we knew from the get-go that she was an intuitive person,” Jennifer T. said. “When people live on their own there are more things they need to be aware of—bills, preparing meals, making appointments for themselves. Jennifer got it immediately that it takes a different level of support.”
“If any of tenants ever need any assistance they know can go to Jennifer,” Blanca said. “She’s always involved with everyone and gets them involved so people won’t feel left out.”
Jennifer’s uncompromising quest to get Parkside tenant Nora Katz’s beloved pet birds back to her was highlighted in a recent Autism Spectrum News article. She uses empathy to propel her to excellence. “Nora’s family lives very far,” Jennifer said. “They call and visit when they can, but I think, what if that was my mom? How would she want to be treated? What I would want in their position? I show everyone how I would want to be treated.”
Jennifer was elated and humbled upon receiving word of the City and State feature. “I felt appreciated,” she said. “I don’t do it for that, but I like that I can be recognized so that others can see you can do it too. You don’t have to get recognized to do that extra step.”
AHRC New York City is so proud to count Jennifer Jimenez among its remarkable employees. Congratulations on this recognition and we can’t wait to see what more she accomplishes.