Finding Her Calling

shared via Penn-Mar Human Services

Peace, love and happiness. Jon and Kari at the new Day Program


NEW FREEDOM, Pennsylvania — As the mother of two young boys, and another soon on the way, Kari Hartless says that the experience of being a parent has in many ways informed the work that she does as a Direct Support Professional (DSP), a career she started at Penn-Mar two years ago.

Interestingly, it was working for her mother Jennifer’s cleaning service that led her to want to have a career helping people.

“My Mom showed me what empathy really is,” said Kari. “When some of her longtime elderly clients couldn’t pay anymore, my mom kept going anyway to clean.”

Her entrée into the health and human services field came with a job at SpiriTrust Lutheran, where she gained a lot of valuable knowledge and experience working in their skilled care nursing home with dementia and Alzheimer’s residents.

“I learned that you have to bring yourself into their world,” she said. Something she has achieved at Penn-Mar working with resident Jon Larkin, who was born with Down syndrome and was recently diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

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