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Shangri-La DSP, AnaMaria, named 'one of the best' in the state

On October 27, AnaMaria Millard was awarded the Works of Heart Award by the Oregon Resource Association (ORA) during the Works of Heart Awards Ceremony that celebrates exceptional Direct Support Professionals. AnaMaria received the award for her clear, person-centered approach as a DSP and her focus on making deep rooted, therapeutic relationships with the people she supports.

(Left) AnaMaria holding her Works of Heart Award. (Right) AnaMaria with her manager, Fred Burch. Fred nominated AnaMaria for the award.

AnaMaria was nominated by her supervisor Fred Burch. In her nomination, Fred highlighted that AnaMaria is committed and compassionate and is a crucial part of the team she works with. She likes to help other DSPs learn, progress, and be the best DSP they can be. Fred also praised AnaMaria’s willingness to lend her time and skills to other programs in need to ensure all residents are supported.


“I nominated her for this award because she stands out to me as someone who puts maximum effort into understanding each person she works with,” Burch said. “She is flexible, dependable, open-minded, embraces change, brings ideas to improve the quality of residents’ lives, as well as improve the teams she works with. She does all this while going to school full-time and still finds time to help out other departments within Shangri-La.”


When AnaMaria was told about her nomination for the award, she admits that she was shocked. “It was such an honor to be nominated. To attend the ceremony and hear all these other DSP’s stories about their experiences. It’s the reason we do the work.”


AnaMaria giving her acceptance speech during the virtual awards ceremony.

The ceremony was held virtually and was attended by several other I/DD providers. Each winner was announced with a short biography of their accomplishments along with a slideshow of them doing the job with the people they serve. Afterward, the winner is the given the opportunity to give an acceptance speech.


During the event, AnaMaria could be seen on screen with “someone who is like a mother figure to me.” She also said more friends were with her watching in another room. During her speech, she shared a story of helping someone she serves working to achieve employment and pride and joy it has brought him.


“As a leader, there is nothing more amazing than seeing a DSP who has put in a tremendous amount of effort and work be recognized accordingly,” Burch shared. When told about her win, Fred said AnaMaria received the news with humility, graciousness, and genuine gratitude. “I wouldn’t have expected anything less from a DSP like AnaMaria. She is one of the great ones!”


Shangri-La would also like to recognize DSP Dana Wilson for being nominated for a Works of Heart Award.



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