My Story — Megan Louchart, CLF Manager/ QIDP
CWTC Twin Oaks Community Living Facility
I’ve been an employee at CWTC since January 2012. Before I started here, I always knew I was on a pathway to serve underrepresented populations but was undecided on whom to help and how. As a senior social work student in college, I was given a list of local agencies to choose from to complete my practicum coursework/internship. I was unfamiliar with CWTC but decided to set up a time to tour the agency in August 2011 to learn more.
I was amazed when I toured the workshop — I never knew agencies like CWTC existed. I’m proud to say that brief tour changed my entire life for the better. At that moment, my pathway was clear — I knew which population I wanted to serve. The consumers at CWTC were so happy and inviting during my tour. I knew I wanted to spend time with them, advocate for them, and support them.
After working a five-month internship, my first “official” position at CWTC was Support Staff in the Community Employment Program. With the support from my co-workers and mentoring from my supervisors, I advanced into the position of Employment Counselor/QIDP and then to my current position as Residential Manager/QIDP at one of CWTC’s residential homes, Twin Oaks Community Living in Pekin. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a work environment where I’m listened to and appreciated for my contributions, and where I’ve been able to grow.
But the rewards have gone beyond career advancement. Since I started with CWTC, I’ve learned more from the consumers than they ever have from me. They’ve taught me how to appreciate the small things, persevere when challenged, and to love unconditionally. All this helped me be the best wife, mother, and “Mamma Megan” — a nickname from my consumers at Twin Oaks.
The most gratifying part of my job is seeing our consumers work hard to achieve the goals they set for themselves — and meeting those goals. Seeing their determination to master new skills and their excitement when they succeed is extremely rewarding. The job isn’t without challenges — many times you support consumers in dealing with the struggles they’ve had to overcome in their lives. However, those obstacles in their pathway to independence bring out their determination and drive to succeed.
People with disabilities have been historically excluded from equal access to the community. This includes access to things such as employment, social events, and participation in state and local government programs and services. CWTC promotes inclusion and integration through various services and programs. Thanks to CWTC, individuals with disabilities are getting out into the community and demonstrating they are capable of great things.
Empathy and patience are key character traits needed when you work at CWTC. Understanding how consumers are feeling and putting ourselves in their shoes helps us connect with them and support them on a more personal level. Demonstrating patience when caring for them helps the individual take the time they need to understand, communicate, and learn, which is essential for their growth. These qualities allow us to provide the best possible care as we support them along their own pathway to greater confidence and independence.
To anyone whose career path has led them to CWTC, you will not regret it. Like all jobs, some days are harder than others, but you will never tire of seeing the impact you make in the lives of our consumers and their families. The smiles, hugs, and greetings you get from the consumers when you walk into work are incredible bonuses!