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The Team at ALSO

November 29, 2023

Area Relief Specialist for ALSO in Oregon, Quinn Harrington.

From Direct Support Professional to Area Relief Specialist: “The Best 18 Years of my Work Life”

People looking for Direct Support Professional (DSP) jobs may be considering the usual criteria: wages, hours, and benefits. They may be looking for career advancement and/or fulfillment from helping others. But according to Quinn Harrington, who began her eighteen-year career at ALSO as a Direct Support Professional, the most important thing to look for is trust.

Forbes,, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) all  agree with Quinn. They cite surveys and studies that show that trust in the workplace enhances collaboration, encourages creativity, and decreases stress. Those attributes contribute to improved loyalty and retention. It’s certainly true at ALSO. Just ask Quinn and the many

Quinn Harrington, Area Relief Services: 18 Years at ALSO

Supporting people with disabilities has always been a part of Quinn Harrington’s life. Her mother was a caregiver, and her aunt, who had an intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) and lived at Fairview Training Center, came home on weekends. So it made sense when Quinn became a Direct Support Professional at ALSO. That’s when she first began appreciating the importance of trust, not just for herself but for the people she supports.

Quinn began working with a client named Jim. “He didn’t trust people. He had cerebral palsy and needed a lot of care.” But Quinn understood him (Jim communicated with his eyes) and built trust between them. That trust resulted in a lifelong relationship. As Jim moved from place to place with ALSO, so did Quinn, who went from Direct Support Professional to Lead Staff to Area Relief Specialist. “I followed him around. All the way to the end.” Jim eventually died, but not before he got to go on vacation to Las Vegas with Quinn, another resident, and other ALSO staff.

Quinn has seen how trust has helped others like Jim grow. “I’ve never seen the kind of positive behaviors I’ve seen here (at ALSO). I think it’s all because of relationships and trust.”

“It’s Like a Family Here”

“One of the biggest reasons I’ve stayed with ALSO are the relationships with people like Jim and the other people we support…It’s like a family here.” For Quinn, part of being family is trust. “To have a family that can trust that I will be there, that trusts me to meet their expectations, makes a big difference for me. I have no problem being there for individuals in very tragic times. That is what a family is for.” Quinn proved that point during the COVID shutdown. “Everyone was terrified…I offered to stay for a month. I didn’t go home. My husband stayed with our kids.”

“Trust is a Very Big Thing for Me”

For Quinn, that sense of family support and trust extends to the ALSO team. “Trust is a very big thing for me. I’ve been in situations…” She pauses. “I lost my child. Everyone was there for me. It was the most amazing thing.”

Quinn believes that trust and relationships make for a great work environment at ALSO.

“Our teammates, we work together,” she says. “For example, right now I need to go take vitals, so our team talked about which person we’ll work with, who’ll do dinners, who’ll do the chairs. It goes really smooth.”

“Hands-Down the Best for Appreciating Direct Support Professionals”

The support from the top also impresses Quinn. “This is hands-down the best company as far as appreciating Direct Support Professionals. They’re very supportive and giving. They’re always showing staff support. Sometimes it’s shirts or gift cards, or they bring lunch. It’s all the time. That’s what I love.”

At ALSO, Direct Support Professional jobs often turn into careers, not just for Quinn, but for others who discover their purpose at ALSO. As Area Relief Services staff, Quinn trains managers. “About six or seven months ago, a person came in. She’d never worked in this field,” says Quinn. “I trained her, and she became a manager within 90 days. That never happens (in other organizations).”

“Building Relationships with People Who Light Up When I Walk in a Room”

“The biggest thing for me is knowing that when I go home I have made a difference in someone’s life,” Quinn says. “What makes the job special is building relationships with people who light up when I walk in a room, individuals supported as well as our ALSO team. This is hands-down the best position I’ve ever had.”

“The Best 18 Years of My Work Life”

Quinn plans to stay a part of the ALSO team. “It has been the best 18 years of my work life. I hope to continue to grow alongside individuals we support as well as our team.  I am thankful and love that I am part of the ALSO team, and this is most definitely a place I will always call my home.””

A Place to Call Home

Whether you’re a disability advocate searching for a workplace that feels like home, or an individual with I/DD or family member looking for disability support services where staff treat you like one of their own, you can trust ALSO to be that place.

We provide a variety of disability support services, from residential services to supported employment, with many types of opportunities for individuals with I/DD and for people interested in jobs working with people with disabilities. Join the ALSO team: Check out ALSO’s career opportunities and/or register for a free tour today!




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