Updated: Dec 2, 2021
We lost a long-time member of the Olean Center family recently. Margaret Clark, a Direct Support Professional (DSP) for 5 years, was a remarkable woman in many ways.
Not only did she earn her GED at age 71, but she did so while taking a 6-credit course for support professionals at Rhode Island College. She was a strong woman, decades ahead of her time.
Family and friends describe Margaret as “spunky, strong, silly, feisty, fun, and a total hoot!”
She was incredibly effective as a DSP, with only a tiny bit of formal training.
“She knew naturally how to prevent behavior problems with humor and eye contact,” according to her daughter, Evelyn Martin of Westerly, who now serves as an Olean Center Board Member.
Evelyn, a special education teacher, recalls being impressed – and perhaps a bit envious she admits -- at her mother’s new-found talent once she started working at the Center.
An individual who Margaret worked with as a DSP happened to be one of the first students Evelyn worked with as a teacher, and she marveled at their relationship.
“I remember watching her and thinking ‘I went to school for six years for this and she does it naturally!’” Evelyn said. “It’s all about building relationships and she did that well. She took him everywhere and they laughed all the time. It was really nice how it came full circle with Mom caring for one of my first students.”
Margaret’s talent and dedication to Center participants earned her the OSARR Direct Support Professional Award in 2003. That was a proud moment, and she was just as proud to have worked until age 75, Evelyn said.
The Olean Center was such an important part of Margaret’s life and we thank her family for requesting that donations be directed to the Center in her memory.
Clearly, Margaret was a vital part of the Olean Center family, and we will miss her greatly.
See Margaret’s full obituary in The Sun.