Aaron: What inspired you to work at CLS?
Deborah: I think I was inspired to work at The Center for LifeSkills because I felt the atmosphere was very family friendly. When I came here to interview for the job I noticed that the parents and the therapists and the children all communicated well together and it seemed like it’d be a really fun place to work. I think sometimes you can get a lot of work done with children and young adults if you’re having a good time and I saw that happening here so that inspired me to want to work here.
Deborah: Let’s let your brother do the second question. Can you read that?
Matt: What do you do in your free time?
Deborah: In my free time, unfortunately, I usually clean my house which is not very fun but if I’m going to do something fun it would be to go walking. My husband and I live a couple of blocks from Lakewood Park so we go down to the park and walk down by the lake, which I often call the river but it’s really a lake. Another thing I like to do is to go out to eat at different places. That’s what I do in my free time – oh, and I also like to read books so I do a lot of reading for fun.
Aaron: What is the best thing about working with Miss Monica?
Deborah: I think the best thing about working with Miss Monica is that instead of just doing my speech therapy program I get to be a part of the activities that she plans for you guys to do, especially the sensory activities and the art activities and some of the movement activities. I think that puts a lot of fun and excitement into our session. But I can still listen to you talking and how your voice is and if its loud enough, and I can listen to your brother Matt and see if he’s doing good “s”s but still do the fun things that Miss Monica plans because she’s really creative and comes up with a lot of fun things for us to do.
Matt: Do you work here every day?
Deborah: No, actually I have one day a week where I see children in my home in Lakewood. I have a home office. And we do speech therapy in my home in Lakewood and then I also travel to two different daycare centers to see children in the daycare centers so I’m in Lakewood on Wednesday and I’m here Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And I have a day off on Monday, that’s my fun day.
Aaron: When was CLS established?
Deborah: Well, when you asked that question I wasn’t exactly sure and then I asked Stefanie but I have forgotten what she told me, but I think it was established in 2002. Brenda Richards is Stefanie’s partner and the business began back in 2002 and they are partners so we have an OT as one of our bosses and a speech pathologist as one of our bosses which is kinda neat.
Matt: Do you have kids?
Deborah: Yes, I have a son and his name is Carter, and I have a daughter and her name is Mary Allison and I have 3 step-children that are my husband’s children and their names are Mary Evelynn and Joel and Juliana. And I have six grandchildren and my grandchildren’s names are Mary Carter and she’s 9 years old, she was 9 years old this past week. And Cannon and Cooper and then I have Simian and Francis. Oh, and Amelia, Amelia is the sixth child and she lives in Memphis. I have a big family of children and grandchildren it’s a lot of fun and they make my life very happy.
Aaron: What do you do with your kids?
Deborah: When I see my children I usually have to visit them in Mississippi. And we do a lot of things, we play with old Tinker Toys and they build all types of things.
Matt: Quiet hands and quiet mouth
Deborah: You’re doing a very good job with your quiet hands and quiet mouth, you’re working on that good, thank you. We play Tinker Toys; we build things with blocks. We have a lot of games that we play. I typically visit them in the summer and my sister has a swimming pool so we do a lot of swimming with the kids so they get all their energy out so they’ll be ready to go to bed at night.
Matt: When did you start working here?
Deborah: I started working here on Saturdays a year and a half ago but I just came on Saturdays as kind of a second job because I had another job. And I loved working here so much on Saturdays that I talked to Miss Stefanie and I said I’d really like to leave my old job and come work at The Center for Lifeskills full-time so we worked it out that I was able to do that so I’ve been working here for a year and a half that means I started working here in 2013. My yearly anniversary for full-time was this past October.
There’s one last question
Aaron: What’s your favorite type of music?
Deborah: Well, I’m going to give away my age here and I guess my favorite type of music would be Motown. Because I was born back in the 50s so the music I like is from the 1960s. So I like a lot of the old Motown you know Aretha Franklin, uh, I can’t name all the people I like but that’s the music I like from the 60s. The Beatles I like, which is not Motown, but that era of music.
Thank you for asking me all these questions.
Aaron: You’re welcome