Champion Gabrielle Rodriguez finds purpose and passion in Activity Coordinator role

Feb 10, 2023

Gabrielle Rodriguez, a woman with light skin and pink hair, wearing a gray shirt and a dragonfly necklace.

January Champion of the Month, Gabrielle Rodriguez, had been trying to find a path into the disability services field for a long time when she joined the Rise Team in 2021 as a Direct Support Professional. After working in a number of retail management and other technical roles that never quite felt like the right fit, she shares, “I knew after my first day here that I found where I am supposed to be.”

Since being promoted to the Activity Coordinator role for our New Brighton location, Rodriguez spends her days planning activities that “create opportunities for our persons served to realize their full potential, find new interests, and experience a true sense of success and pride.” She finds joy and fulfillment in finding ways to invite the people we serve, especially those who may be more withdrawn or lacking in confidence, to participate in activities that appeal to their interests and discover something new. “I’ll never get tired of hearing ‘That was SO fun!’ or ‘Did you see that?! Did you see what I did today?!’ I think it’s what keeps me, and the incredible team I have around me, giving this work everything we have each and every day.”

According to her team members, the role is a natural fit for Rodriguez. “Gabbie takes all disabilities into account when she is finding activities and finds numerous ways to modify them,” a colleague shares. “She is a natural leader.” Even when schedules change and things get moved around, Rodriguez never shies away from the challenge, ensuring that the people we serve are always busy with fun and entertaining activities. “Gabbie has needed to change an activity or an outing at the drop of a hat when things come up. She is able to do this effortlessly, so our persons served aren’t aware of the sudden change.”

Outside of work, Rodriguez really lets her creativity shine. She has a number of hobbies like costume design, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, creative writing, learning new things, and playing video games. She also loves parrots! She has her own African Ringneck Parakeet named Mochi, and volunteers on the weekends at Parrot Rescue Services.