BFL’s Simone Allen Honored With 2023 Purple Ribbon Award
Barrier Free Living’s Occupational Therapy (OT) Program Manager Simone Allen has been named the 2023 Purple Ribbon Award winner in the category of Outstanding Healthcare Professional.
“I am so honored to be the recipient of the Purple Ribbon Award for Outstanding Healthcare Professional!” says Simone. “It’s so wonderful to see that the hard work that takes place behind the scenes at Barrier Free Living doesn’t go unnoticed, and I know this wouldn’t have been possible without the roster of hardworking occupational therapy interns who have walked through BFL’s doors to carry out OT programming.”
Simone notes that she started in the Occupational Therapy Program Manager role right before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had to learn a lot very quickly!” she says. “The staff and consumers were very patient, since we were all experiencing trauma together. In addition, I have to also shout out the amazing OT interns who have rotated throughout the programs—they have brought with them energy and innovative interventions that have supported our BFL consumers through individual and group offerings. I also cannot forget the fabulous community partners and volunteers who have collaborated to assist our consumers with a variety of life skill challenges, including financial, employment/resume building, as well as building on their creativity through movement, mindfulness, and crafting outlets.”
Reflecting on achievements and challenges, Simone lists the success of in-person events the OT Department organized like the grand opening of Freedom Boutique at Freedom House in November 2022; as well as the Black History Month and “The History of Me: An ARTkive” events at BFL Apartments.
“The biggest challenge continues to be allowing consumers the spaces they need to engage in the services we offer,” says Simone. “We know that this is a direct result of the pandemic, due to isolation, so we are utilizing client-centered approaches to learn about activities consumers are more likely to engage in, and find ways to provide those offerings (e.g., collaborating with the Child Care department at Freedom House to offer parent and child(ren) workshops).
BFL was awarded with the 2022 Purple Ribbon Award for most innovative services.
In closing, Simone shared a quote that has inspired her work from author Brené Brown “If you can’t ask for help without self-judgment, you cannot offer help without judging others..wWhen you don’t extract worthiness and you think, ‘I’m just helping you because one day I’m gonna need help’ — that’s connection. That’s vulnerability.”