"My Heart Is Bigger Than I Expected It to Be:" Tamara Cain’s Direct Support Professional Journey

March 02, 2022

"My Heart Is Bigger Than I Expected It to Be:" Tamara Cain’s Direct Support Professional Journey

At JF&CS, our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) with the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program (ZH-ILP) provide professional and loving care to encourage our clients to live as independently and joyfully as possible. Every day, they rise to the occasion, using their passion and care to turn a house into a home, and a group of people into a family.

Tamara’s Journey and Commitment to JF&CS

Tamara Cain, a Residential Manager (RM) with JF&CS, began her career helping adults with disabilities back when she graduated from high school. Her cousin owned a facility similar to the ZH-ILP homes that housed six clients. Tamara learned how to care for clients and manage administrative responsibilities.

Though it wasn’t what she expected to be doing at only 17 years old, she quickly fell in love with the field and working with her clients. She continued to pursue a career working with special needs adults.

“Working with adults with disabilities helped me realize that my heart is bigger than I expected it to be,” she said.

As the Residential Manager, Tamara is affectionately called the “mama bear” of the house. She oversees one house and four clients, plus four staff members. Tamara and her staff help clients with “just about everything you can imagine,” including grocery runs, appointments, and money management.

Everything the staff does aims to encourage independence and completion of daily life skills and tasks that many of us take for granted. And beyond that, she brings smiles, laughter, and fun to the lives of her residents.

"For me, the most rewarding part of working here is seeing the smile on my clients’ faces,” Tamara said. “When they are happy about something… they find such joy in the things we take for granted.”

A Rewarding Career

Tamara’s more than 20-year career led her to JF&CS back in 2018. She began as a Direct Support Professional. In the middle of 2019, she saw an opening for a Residential Manager position. She decided to apply and was chosen for the position. She remarked that she was “happy to learn that JF&CS hires from within.”

Recently, Tamara was approached at the grocery store by a woman who saw the JF&CS logo on one of Tamara’s belongings and asked her about it. Tamara happily told the woman all about JF&CS and the department. The woman, who had a background as a home health aide, was so inspired by her conversation with Tamara that she applied to work in the department.

“Being a part of JF&CS feels like being part of a family,” Tamara said. “The clients are so welcoming and loving, and it’s such a wonderful, humbling career. And the smile I see on my clients’ face makes everything worth it.”

Working as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at JF&CS is a rewarding and meaningful career with opportunities for growth and advancement. If Tamara’s story resonated with you, and you are considering a career change, visit the DSP page on our website to learn more and apply today.