Carmen Austin started working at SLI in October and is a Direct Support Professional in the Independent Living Program. She grew up in Fayetteville, NC and attended 71st High School. Carmen returned to her birth town of Lawrence, KS after graduation. Carmen

Before SLI, Carmen worked as a program specialist in the Child and Adult Food Program through Community Action. She helped licensed daycare providers prepare daily or weekly menus for 1-12 year-olds needing daycare. Carmen presented nutrition workshops for the providers and monitored their sanitation habits that needed to be followed by the State of Kansas regulations.

Carmen believes in the power of prayer and after a conversation with my pastor, he opened her eyes to the fact that Carmen is a people person and has more to offer of herself than just cooking for others. Carmen happened to be at the KS Workforce Center when Chrissy was there and she inquired about SLI. Carmen immediately knew this is where she needed to be.

Carmen enjoys helping the clients in any way possible - whether it’s giving advice, taking them somewhere or helping them. “I feel I’m growing spiritually getting to know all the different personalities and I get fulfillment when they listen to me and follow-thru on assignments, so to speak. When they do something without being told, it is an accomplishment for us both,” said Carmen.

Carmen’s favorite hobby, of course, is cooking. It is her first love and “it is never work when it is something you enjoy doing.” said Carmen. Something no one but her family knows is that she likes puppets! Carmen used to collect them and play with them for the kids. It was a dream of hers to go around to schools and daycares, to put on puppet shows for the kids. She has since given away her collection, all but one.

Carmen has a busy summer ahead of her with moving to another home by the end of June. She doesn’t have plans to travel this summer but should something come up, she is all in!