ARRM Cares Award Nominee—Sara Weston
Congratulations to Sara Weston for being selected as one of size statewide ARRM Cares Award winners. We are so proud to have you on our team!
ARRM is an association of more than 200 providers, businesses, and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of services for people with disabilities in Minnesota. The ARRM Cares Award program began in 1996 to recognize professional caregivers who provide exemplary service to people with disabilities. Recipients of this award have demonstrated they are committed to providing innovative, professional services to people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities.
Sara’s nomination, written by Kristi Aldana, exhibits why she is an award-winning caregiver.
Sara shared her passion for serving others immediately. Her confidence and creativity were exactly what Rachel and her family needed.
Rachel is a fun-loving, sweet lady who suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago. Due to her accident, Rachel is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and requires full assistance with her personal cares. Due to her high risk of aspiration, she receives all medications and feedings through a G tube. Rachel needs stretches completed daily to prevent her muscles from getting too tight, and must be repositioned every two hours to prevent skin breakdown. Sara was never intimidated by the level of cares she needed to perform and immersed herself in learning Rachel’s routine.
In fact, within her first weeks of working with Rachel, Sara confidently volunteered to take Rachel on a special trip to her sister’s wedding in Duluth—four hours away.
Always thinking of Rachel’s needs, Sara advocated taking a mini-van rather than Rachel’s large wheel chair accessible van. Sara knew this vehicle would be more comfortable for the long ride to Duluth. Always prepared, Sara brought along a stool for Rachel’s feet to rest on in the car, pillows to help prop her up and also a blanket to keep her warm on the ride. Sara was willing to work extra hours before the trip, to ensure Rachel was fully packed and ready for the trip. Due to Rachel’s cares, there are many things required to be sent with Rachel on any overnight trips. Some items include an oral suction machine to prevent aspiration, a suitcase and cooler specifically for her daily medications, a suitcase for her personal care supplies and of course a suitcase for her clothes. Sara ensured that the seemingly daunting preparations were not a barrier for Rachel to experience such an important event in her life.
Earlier this spring, Rachel’s roommates were attending the CCRI prom. They were getting their dresses, figuring out hairstyles, make-up and dates; all things Rachel simply adored. Unfortunately, Rachel was unable to participate. Sara wanted Rachel to feel part of the prom bliss too, so she planned a fun evening out with Rachel’s family. Sara took Rachel to pick out a pink sparkly prom dress, helped her pick out new make-up and continuously talked to Rachel about the fun she was going to have! On the day of Rachel’s special prom, Sara did Rachel’s hair and make-up, got her all dolled up in her dress, and took her out for a night on the town.
Sara had arranged for Rachel’s parents to meet them at the mall where Rachel was all smiles. She blew kisses and waved at everyone she saw. Sara even arranged a ride on a Ferris wheel for Rachel and her family. Rachel was on cloud nine the entire night and looked like a princess.
With Sara by her side, Rachel never shy’s from an adventure. She knows she can leave the packing and planning up to her extraordinary caregiver and just enjoy the ride.