An Oregon Provider Organization for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

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Michael Drew Stinson, BSW



Many people have asked me since I started working with I/DD individuals back in October 2005, why I have chosen this field of Social Work. My reply, “It chose Me.” I truly believe I was called to work with people with intellectual and develop mental disabilities. one way I believe this to be true is, the first two client(s) I started working with in this field, are with our Agency today.

I started out working as a personal support worker teaching basic budgeting and then moved right in to cooking, health and fitness, housing and the list grew dramatically. I quickly gained a reputation for being willing to work with adults with challenging behavior(s) so my clientele grew fast since no one else wanted to work with those who were not “fun”. This helped me develop amazing patience and very strong personal and professional boundaries. The part-time work morphed in to full time work but was flexible enough that it allowed me to earn my bachelor degree in social work from Concordia University in NE Portland in 2009.

I bring to my work, skills as an active listener, non-judgmental advocate, a love of fun while working with people. I love the outdoors and all the activities that can be explored in the Metro area, especially the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood area.

In 2015, my best friend, Rex Goode and I joined together to build ARISE Mentors, LLP so that we can share our passion for advancing the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities with others.

We love teaching our employees how to get results and be stellar support professionals. We strive to instill in them the same craving to provide quality assistance to those we serve. The work can be both challenging and rewarding, and those two things naturally go together. To do this work requires more than just being a nice person with a desire to serve. There are naturally ethics, boundaries, and the inevitable paperwork. We teach all of these things so that our workers can provide the best possible support to our customers.

My education and past work experience is vast. Besides my bachelor degree from Concordia, I have an associate of applied science in Criminal Justice from Portland Community College and I also  graduated from paralegal school. I worked in warehouses and the construction field much of my early life and served as a reserve and temporary police officer in two different states.

My interests include about any outdoors, especially enjoying the beautiful Oregon Coast AND the incredible forested areas right around the Metro area. My real passion is woodworking.  Most of all I love spending time with my family. My children and grand children are the most important part in my life. In my down time, I love movies; action, drama, comedy, westerns and anything that ADD people would love.  My taste in music is varied from classical music to classic rock, along with classic jazz and modern country music.

I believe the best way to appreciate the joy that working with I/DD customers, along with all the challenges both customers and employee face while providing skills training, is to spend time with customers working one or two days a week.

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