Susie Effatian is the new Residential Program Director at Valley Village, but she isn’t new to the organization. Susie has been working at Valley Village for almost 20 years. “My sister in law was an administrator in the residential program (a QIDP – Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional). I interviewed with Deb Donovan, who was the Residential Program Director at the time. The organization felt like a supportive environment with a strong family focus. I was hired, and Valley Village allowed me to stay in the field I loved while adapting to the changes in my life as a new mom.”
After Susie earned her BS in Psychology from UCLA, she began working as a behavioral specialist with a psychologist. She worked with parents and their children with developmental disabilities. “This was the first time I worked with the IDD population. I loved the work, but after 6 years, my life changed when I married my high school sweetheart. When we started our own family, I knew it was time for a change. That was when I found Valley Village.”
Susie enjoyed the transition to working with adults with developmental disabilities at Valley Village. She had the opportunity to work directly with clients, form bonds with them and help create a positive impact together. “I want what’s best for them, and I see how the work we’ve done and continue to do has improved the quality of their lives.”
The family-focused culture at Valley Village provided Susie the opportunity to care for and be present with her new family. “I was able to raise my two children while remaining connected and available to the organization. The organization and my work have positively impacted my children as well. It has instilled in them the values of care and compassion. They’ve been to Valley Village events over the years, from fundraisers to Super Saturday and Community at Large. The exposure has given them insights they may not have had.” Her daughter is currently considering a career with the IDD population. “While I’ve given a lot to Valley Village over the years, the benefits go both ways. Valley Village has given back to me and my family.” Who knows? Maybe another member of Susie’s family will be stepping up to fulfill Valley Village’s mission in the future?