Home & Community Options needs your help!


John Littrell

A representative from HCO speaks to Cotter students regarding employment and volunteer opportunities

Two representatives from Home & Community Options (HCO), Rhiannon Dungy and Keri Cada, spoke to Cotter high school students at an assembly on Wednesday, March 30.

Cada and Dungy informed Cotter about HCO’s mission, the type of work that the HCO staff does, and opportunities for both student employment and volunteer positions.

HCO provides varying levels of assistance and companionship to those with disabilities in our community. HCO is a non-profit organization which receives state and federal funds, and also relies on donations from companies and private individuals to cover expenses. In addition to the in-home care there are many houses run by HCO that give people round the clock care as needed. HCO works with some clients until both the client and the HCO staff are confident that they are ready for more independence.

Cotter’s Mrs. Marisa Corcoran and Mr. Mike Hagarty are members of the board of directors for HCO.  Mrs. Corcoran recalls how she first saw HCO at a musical that HCO employees and volunteers were working on, describing it as they “stumbled into HCO.”

Mrs. Corcoran and Mr. Hagarty first joined the organization in 2015, and became members of the board of directors in 2021. As members of the board, they are responsible for overseeing the organization, which includes making sure they are properly funded and making sure they are properly conducted.

Several Cotter students are current or former HCO employees including Madison Rymarkiewicz, Andie Teske, and Mallory Ehlenfeldt.

 “I’ve been at HCO for almost a year, I started in June of 2021. My job consists of making meals for the clients as well as passing medications, bringing them to events, and helping them with hygienic things like teeth brushing and showering, I love my job because my clients are super fun and loving and rarely create issues. HCO as a whole is filled with great people. My coworkers and supervisors are amazing and are very flexible with scheduling as well,” Rymarkiewicz said.

” I worked at HCO for about 8 months. I was responsible for providing assistance to dependent individuals with disabilities. Each of my clients was assisted in different ways. My job Title was a DSP (Direct Support Professional)  I liked  my co-workers. I also enjoyed leaving work knowing I was making a difference in someone’s life and the pay was pretty good, too.” Ehlenfeldt said.

“I have been at HCO for 10 months. I typically work in the mornings before school so it’s just assisting the individuals to get ready for work. The individuals love becoming more dependent and allowing them to grow in new skills is a really fun part of the job,” Teske said.

We asked the Cotter students what they would tell a student considering working or volunteering there, here’s their responses:

“Do it, genuinely you won’t regret it. Everyone is different so you may not like it but the experience to work with vulnerable adults like I do changes your perspective on things and is a helpful job for your everyday life as well. They teach you different things throughout your work that can be helpful. Like, I have learned how to cook because of HCO,” Rymarkiewicz said

“I would tell them that the supervisors at HCO are very understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, they are there to help you. HCO is great at working with your schedule,” Ehlenfeldt said.

” It is a great work environment, with positive staff and individuals. There is a good mix of a lot of fun activities with the individuals and downtime as well,” Teske added.

This world is not always a friendly place for people with disabilities, and HCO of Winona is provided much needed services to those of our community in need and is looking for a more good people to help fulfill this mission.

If interested in finding out more about HCO or working there please speak with Mrs. Corcoran or Mr. Hagarty or visit the HCO site.