In honor of Direct Support Professional Recognition Week (September 11-17, 2022). We are proud to take this opportunity to recognize the dedicated direct support professionals at Ada S. McKinley.

Jimmy Ferguson is being featured for her “excellence” in serving to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a Direct Service Professional within our Employment and Community Support Services program.

Learn more about Jimmy in this short interview:

How long have you been working at Ada?
“I’ve worked at Ada S. McKinley for 36 years. I started as an administrative assistant. I did a newsletter when Ada had monthly meetings with the heads of all of the agencies in Chicago. I was responsible for scheduling meetings, budgeting and doing a newsletter. I previously worked at Davis House, Moore House, Hammond House and was the team leader for CILA 5 and CILA 6.”

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“The most rewarding part is being an advocate for those that can’t advocate for themselves and making sure they live a normal life as much as possible.”

What is something that you’re learned while working as a DSP?
“I learned standards and to be tough under pressure. If you don’t have a heart, patience, and love for what you do and the people we support; then it can be challenging. There’s always room for advancement.”

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
“I had a very popular bakery and café in Beverly. I was named by the Chicago Tribune as having the best pies in North America and by food and wine magazines. My biggest memory was that President Obama had one of his aids to come to get him a pie. I’ve made several appearances in the magazines and newspapers. I was on the cooking channel show sugar showdown for the 10k Pie Challenge. I also used to bring food and desserts to all open enrollment before the pandemic. Our CEO remarked that the pie reminded him of his grandmother. I love making people happy through food.”