A great work ethic, uplifting spirit and kindness never go unnoticed at CFS. Crystal Cortes is one of our many exceptional Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and a Medical Coordinator at the Center for Family Support (CFS) Bryant Avenue IRA in Staten Island.
Crystal’s remarkable contributions and positive impact at CFS, and her extraordinary commitment to those she supports and her peers, led her supervisor Tamara Rouse, Senior Residence Manager at CFS Staten Island, to nominate Crystal for the esteemed annual Robert Witkowsky Residential Direct-Support Staff Recognition Award – which we are proud to report she received on June 16, 2023!
The Robert Witkowsky Residential Direct-Support Staff Recognition Award, presented by the Staten Island Developmental Disability Council (SIDDC), brings together various nonprofit organizations to honor exceptional DSPs and their service.
Crystal, who has an Associate Degree in Medical Assistance, began her.career at CFS in 2019 as a part-time staff member. With her passion for helping others and a background in the medical field, Crystal’s commitment to making a difference soon became evident. She quickly transitioned into a full-time position as a DSP and eventually to DSP and Medical Coordinator.
“I nominated Crystal for the award because she’s a phenomenal person with a great work ethic. She brings people together and organizes events flawlessly. She’s always a support system for the staff and people we work with,” says Tamara.
Tamara adds that she only wished she could have nominated more than one DSP because so many of the DSPs she works with are truly exceptional! But, Crystal’s dedication to her work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic set her apart. Crystal’s commitment helped the Bryant Avenue residence through the tragic loss of two residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. And throughout the pandemic, she braved the storm and continued to show up for work, providing unbridled support to the staff and the individuals we serve. Even after a car accident that incapacitated her for seven months last year, Crystal wasted no time returning to her duties as soon as she recovered. “She came back and just hit the ground running,” says Tamara.
Crystal is always coming up with ways to keep our residents and staff in high spirits, organizing gatherings, events, and all kinds of activities. Most recently, she took charge of coordinating a fabulously fun birthday party for Linda Tucker, whose nickname at Bryant Avenue is “The Mother of the House” due to her loving, nurturing personality and caring demeanor towards everyone – staff and residents alike, and even the residence’s neighbors. Linda said that she wanted a Little Mermaid-themed party , and Crystal made sure it happened! With the help of Tamara and other staff and volunteers, Crystal made sure the event was a truly enchanting experience.
Crystal Cortes has truly left an indelible mark on CFS and our community. Her compassion, work ethic, and ability to uplift those around her make her a true asset to our organization. We congratulate Crystal on her well-deserved recognition and thank her for her excellence and unwavering commitment to trying to make every day a great day for the individuals we serve and the people she works with!