Jamar “Barkim” Gowins – Kentucky Direct Support Professional of the Year

When a client experiences a simple joy, Barkim feels it too.

“The more you do for a person, it makes you feel good inside,” said Barkim, who’s worked as a direct support professional (DSP) in Kentucky for ResCare for more than a decade.

When a client wanted to learn to cook, Barkim started with washing their hands before prepping the meal. They cooked pork chops, string beans and potatoes. Barkim explained that they needed to eat healthy and have meat, starch and vegetables. When they finished seasoning the food and putting it in the oven, the client was so excited that he wanted to eat as soon as he could smell the aroma. Barkim had to explain that the food had to finish cooking first! After that, they continued to cook a meal together every week.

“I love making a difference in people’s lives,” Barkim said.

Another touching story that Barkim shares is about a client who had extreme difficulty holding a pen or crayon and had never been able to write. Barkim worked with the client tirelessly. One day, Barkim left the crayon on the table and was amazed when the client picked it up and drew a line. To this day, Barkim proudly displays the drawing to celebrate this individual’s accomplishment.