Tina Orr loves her community and makes sure she is a big part of it. She works hard every day to make sure community members with disabilities aren’t looked down on or forgotten by providing life-changing services and activities and by advocating for them. She also works with the youth of her community because she saw a need there as well.
Orr is a Michigan City local, born and raised. After graduating from Michigan City High School, she got married and started her family. Once her children became teenagers, her sister inspired her to come back to the workforce.
“How I got to where I am today is because of my sister, Delores. She was so passionate about her job, the people she served, and doing it with such ease and joy,” Orr said. “She suggested that I apply as a direct support person, as I was ready to return to work but still wanted my focus to be on my family.
Orr joined the workforce back in 2013 and began working for Paladin, Inc in 2017. Orr is currently the respite manager for Paladin Care in La Porte County and has been in the position for the past seven years. As a respite manager, Orr oversees staff, implements proper training, and keeps state and agency operations in place running smoothly. Orr’s favorite part of her job is seeing how many lives she has changed just by providing services and a safe place in the community.
“This is most often a thankless field, and most of us don't look for that anyways,” Orr said. “When you see a parent who is in desperate need of respite care for their loved ones, whether they say it verbally or not, we provide them with services to let them know they’re not alone. You can see the gratitude in their eyes when they come to pick up their loved ones. Many don’t want to leave because they are having such a good time.”
When Orr rejoined the workforce, she didn’t originally plan to work with children. Her mindset changed when a co-worker had a vision about the need for children's services. As a respite manager, Orr gladly hopped on board and has loved it ever since.
“Knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life is indescribable,” Orr said. “It’s heartwarming to have a child wrap their arms around my waist to give me a hug because I’ve helped them in some way.”
Orr believes there is more to respite services than what meets the eye. She sees these services as an enrichment to children and individuals with disabilities. Orr says programs offer them ways to be more independent, confident, and improve or gain social skills. Respite services are also beneficial for caregivers as well; these services help anyone who utilizes them.
Outside of work, Orr loves to spend time with her family and friends. She also enjoys listening to podcasts of different genres and watching YouTube videos that range from sermons to self-help to murder mysteries. If Orr isn’t spending time with her family, watching videos, or listening to podcasts, she can be seen shopping for shoes.