Employee Spotlight: Supporting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and their Caregivers
Note: This program focused on helping people with disabilities is now called Shared Living Providers, rather than Extended Family Homes. Learn more about KVC Nebraska’s services for people with disabilities here.
Michaela Breault is an Extended Family Home Specialist with KVC Nebraska and has been part of our team for a year and a half. In this role, she works closely with clients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their care teams, including KVC Extended Family Home providers. Our Extended Family Home (EFH) providers offer safe and structured living environments for clients to learn independent living skills through programming and support.
Read our interview with Michaela to learn more about how she supports clients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to ensure they learn new skills and form community relationships.
Visit our Careers page to find a rewarding job you can be passionate about like Michaela!
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Michaela: I really enjoy getting to know my clients and EFH providers. Each person has a unique personality and a different skill set. I work with many young individuals who have disabilities and need out of home care to provide them with the best opportunities to thrive. I help these clients find long-term placements with EFH providers, allowing them to become a part of a family and receive the support they need to learn new skills for independent living. Watching clients and providers get to know each other and form a strong bond is so rewarding.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with a great group of guys between the ages of 24-35 who we serve in our EFH program. These three men are roommates in the same EFH, and they have all truly become one big extended family. It’s especially a unique situation because each of these men’s families has remained very involved in their lives and get to see them thrive while gaining the opportunity of living independently. Click here to read more about their story.
Watching my clients with disabilities grow, build new skills and form bonds with their EFH is the best part of my job.
Do you have any client experiences that have made you very proud?
Michaela: Due to a scheduling conflict with one of our EFH providers and plans they had made before welcoming an EFH client into their home, I had the opportunity to take one of our EFH clients to his high school graduation. I got to meet his mother and we watched him walk across the stage and accept his diploma. We were able to spend time together after the graduation taking photos and talking. The way his face lit up with excitement is something I’ll never forget – he loved his cap and gown and receiving balloons and gifts.
What made you choose to work in this field?
Michaela: I earned a degree in education and one of my endorsements was in special education. When I was in college, I worked as a direct support staff member for an organization and loved working with individuals with disabilities. When looking for something outside of education, an opportunity with KVC arose and I jumped on it! It’s been a great fit for me.
Do you have any advice for the clients you work with or people considering becoming an Extended Family Home?
Michaela: For EFHs, I suggest being open and willing to accept clients from all different backgrounds and with all ranges of abilities. Each client has something unique to offer. I also recommend being open to constructive feedback from professionals in the field and being open to learning from their experience and knowledge.
For the clients that I work with, always be open to trying new things and working on skill sets that are challenging and push you! Sometimes it’s easy to do things that are comfortable, but when we step out and try new things, we can make new friends, find new activities we enjoy, and become active members of our communities. Each of us has something special to offer to those around us.
What is it like working at KVC?
Michaela: I’ve really found an irreplaceable work home at KVC. Everyone is so kind and willing to assist in different situations. Within our EFH team, I feel like we have a close-knit bond that creates a welcoming environment and makes work enjoyable. I really enjoy our scheduled team building outings where we not only get to know each other better but also get a little self-care time. I work with genuinely good people and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What do you like doing when you aren’t working?
Michaela: I love spending time with my partner Kelsi, our crazy animals, and my whole family across Nebraska. I have 10 nieces and nephews and love getting to see them grow up and enjoy watching them participate in so many different activities. Before taking this position, Kelsi and I lived in Chicago for more than five years and loved it, but we moved back to Omaha to be closer to our families. I have so many different activities that I enjoy—sports, concerts, movies, and collecting plants (which has now become a hobby for most of my EFH coworkers as well).