One Step Forward Outreach

by Tonya Dixon | March 11th, 2015
Marsha Daymon (Photo by TerriusMykel Photography)

Marsha Daymon (Photo by TerriusMykel Photography)

In 2006, Marsha Daymon started One Step Forward—a group home for adults with mental retardation. Over the course of the next four years she added independent housing services for adults with mild disabilities. The business has since been renamed One Step Forward Outreach, Inc. The company is able to link people to resources within the community that will benefit their specific diagnosis, including various day programs, CNA care, three daily meals, housing, medication reminders, socialization skills and any other general needs of clients. If Daymon is unable to adequately provide a solution to a need she has the ability and network to link to a provider that can sufficiently meet the need.

Although Daymon’s company has grown to a point where she can employ others to handle the day-to-day operations, she still maintains a very hands on approach. She often spends the night at the homes and works with the clients on the weekends doing activities and simply interacting with them as much as possible. She is fiercely protective of not only the business itself and making sure everything is handled properly, but she makes sure the needs of each client is met with excellence and is treated with dignity.

“I want to make sure my homes are being maintained and make sure my clients are being taken care of,” she says. “I don’t have to do it, but I do it because I want to make sure things are running right. Yes, I work all the time in my houses.” Additionally, Daymon has continued as an employee for the assisted living company she originally worked for. She says it’s all about having a plan so that she is able to get to where she needs to be.

One Step Forward Outreach is certainly capable of providing superior care for adults with various disabilities, but Daymon admits most of the individuals her company serves – approximately 90%– have a dementia diagnosis. It’s certainly not by happenstance that she works so well with this certain sector of society; rather she recognizes it as her passion and purpose working together.

“Families don’t know how to cope with it. I am a firm believer that the best way to deal with a person with Dementia is the environment in which you place the person. They have to be in a calm and structured environment and you have to be in their world,” Daymon says. She has extensive training and hours working with dementia patients, but a great deal of what she knows has simply come from being around adults with the debilitating disease and learning their lives. Additionally, Daymon is a state sanctioned trainer that can teach/train adults with Dementia to families, assisted living facilities, providers and community organizations.

Daymon admits she always wanted to open her own business, but she wasn’t quite sure what type. She had a consistent and extensive background in human resources, but she always felt a nudging toward a different path, but her training was very limited in other areas. When the assisted living company she worked for was sold, she had two options: move out of state to another office or stay, but accept a new position. She opted for the latter. That one career choice opened the door for her to begin the journey towards her destiny. She decided to begin caring for the clients. Surprising herself, she really enjoyed it. She was extremely sensitive to the needs of the patients and was genuinely concerned about their well-being. “I started to really like it. I just looked at it as this could be my mom, dad or even me,” she says.

“When I was young, around 13 or 14 years old, I used to help take care of my grandfather. Originally it was never my desire to do anything in the [personal care] field,” says Daymon. “I know now that taking care of my grandfather was really a stepping stone for me to do what I’m doing. I didn’t put that together until later in life to say, ‘I’ve been doing this since I was 13 anyway.’ There was a reason for it.” “You can’t be in it for the money,” she adds. “You have to have a passion for it.”

Nevertheless, despite Daymon’s passion it wasn’t always enough to make her dream of opening her own homes come to fruition. There was red tape, paperwork and a severely steep learning curve beyond imagination. On top of that, state rules and regulations were more than enough to rattle the most composed individual. She was even told, by a state official, that she wouldn’t be able to do some of the things she aspired to do. However, she was determined and persevered even though she had to learn a completely different industry language than what she was used to in the family care field. Moreover, she basically had to learn on her own since there aren’t a significant amount of structured options to learn the mental health field and other owners are leery of divulging information fearing a loss in their own financial income. It took her nearly two additional years to fully meet all requirements, but in 2011 she made it happen. Not only did she succeed, but she is currently completely full and has a waiting list for clients.

In the meantime, Daymon is making huge strides toward opening another home. She’s making plans for the next one to be in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Of course, she is just as determined to succeed with her next venture as the first. Certainly as passionate as she is about helping disabled adults, the wait for her excellent care and superior service won’t be much longer.

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