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TMI Employee Celebrating 10 Years Exemplifies Our Mission

Updated: May 20, 2021

Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Independent Living Case Manager Keltoum Cherki is celebrating 10 years with TMI! Keltoum is a shining example of TMI's commitment to providing exemplary services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She truly transforms the lives of our clients. From finding a client a new home to filing a Social Security appeal to being with a client in their final moments, Keltoum goes above and beyond when it comes to advocating for her clients. She is not only a dedicated TMI employee, but a dedicated human being who never gives up. We love what she had to say!

“I would like to thank TMI’s Executive Team for being cheerleaders during this pandemic,” said Keltoum. “Thank you for being supportive and appreciative to staff, especially Direct Staff."

John Maxwell said "The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails."

"This is what TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris has been doing," added Keltoum. "Rachel has been adjusting the sails so that TMI staff can keep their income and our clients receive their services. I would also like to thank our Director of Community Living Services (CLS) Angela Newmeyer for believing in me, for being there when I needed her, for crying when I cried, and for being happy when I am happy. Because Angela believed in me, I didn’t have the heart to let her down. Thank you, Angela, for being who you are and for being the super glue that keeps the CLS department together.”

(Keltoum with TMI employees)

Q&A With Keltoum

Q. What interested you about working at TMI?

A. While working with another organization, I would hear about TMI and its reputation. So, I decided to join the team. It was the best decision I have made in my life.

Q. What is your favorite part about working at TMI?

A. That we have our client’s best interest at heart and the family atmosphere.

Q. What challenges are you and your clients currently facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A. Not being able to spend more time with my clients.

Q. How have you handled the challenges?

A. I try to explain to my clients the necessity of following the medical team guidelines to keep ourselves safe.

Q. How does making a difference in the lives of your clients make you feel?

A. It is very rewarding. It makes me feel that I have a purpose in my life. Knowing that someone else relies on me and trusts me to be there for them and trusts my ability to solve their problems.

(Keltoum and Vanessa at a TMI Holiday Party)

Q. What are your hopes for the future of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

A. I hope that Social Security stops charging my clients over payments and that the State stops charging my clients high Share of Cost.

Q. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A. I enjoy hiking and gardening.

Q. Who do you admire and why?

A. I admire many of our clients. Despite their challenges, they always have a smile on their face. They try to live their lives to the fullest.

Q. Words to live by?

A.Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” - Maya Angelou

Thank you for sharing, Keltoum. TMI is very fortunate to have you on board!

The TMI Independent Living program assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible at home with the necessary support. The program provides up to 80 hours a month of one-on-one support to adults with disabilities living in their own home. Services are focused on skill development and can include, but are not limited to:

  • Money management

  • Meal planning and preparation

  • Shopping and accessing community resources

  • Safety, health and household management

  • Parenting education

  • Budgeting, bill paying, financial management

  • Community orientation, access and participation

  • Accessing community resources

  • Self-advocacy

  • Social skills, relationship building

It is the mission of TMI to provide personalized services to those who require support, enabling them to make informed choices regarding how they live, work and function productively and independently in the community.


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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