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Everyday Hero Spotlight: Yusuff Atanda

May 9, 2017

Community, Disability Rights

My name is Yusuff Atanda and I’ve been with HeartShare for about 2 years. I currently work with 6 residences. My main residence is Ralph Avenue. I remember my first day at Ralph Avenue. I went to the office area and greeted everyone there. I remember greeting Peter, asking him about the other guys, where they were and he told me they were sleeping. Before long, we were having a full conversation. It wasn’t until about an hour later that I realized he wasn’t staff. I guess the other staff wanted me to figure it out on my own.

When HeartShare took over the residence, we noticed the individuals’ medical needs. In Peter’s case, he was at end stage renal failure and in dire need of dialysis. Peter, being very opinionated and strong minded, refused dialysis on countless occasions and wasn’t too fond of doctors. I’ve always tried to encourage Peter to do the best for his health and aid him in understanding that he’s not the only one that needs medical help–we all do. I would take him on appointments and try to keep him calm, so that he wouldn’t feel anxious. Sometimes, on my off days, I would volunteer to take Peter to his appointments just to make sure he follows through on our discussion regarding his health.

When Peter finally decided to go through with dialysis, everyone worked together to make the process go as smoothly and as quickly as possible before he changed his mind again. Peter was really scared but we assured him that he wouldn’t regret his decision. That in the end, he would feel a whole lot better. We even asked a staff person from another residence, who had gone through the procedure talk to him about his experience as extra assurance. The key really is just consistency. All our individuals want is: to know and feel that someone cares, that someone cares about their happiness and well-being.

During these past 2 years, working with Peter and other individuals, I have come to see a different perspective on life. This job truly humbles you and shows you how much of a difference we can make in someone else’s life. We all aspire for a higher quality of life for all. I believe the work we do is remarkable. Though at times, this field can be tough, I have gained patience and a better understanding through the experience. Learning how to work with our individuals to accommodate their needs and attain goals. This is an experience I know I would not received anywhere else but with HeartShare.