This past week was Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week. AHRC’s family of organizations rolled out the red carpet for our team of nearly 1,800 DSPs with celebrations and opportunities to say thank you, including notes from families, t-shirts, site- and program-based celebrations and gifts.
DSP Week kicked off with the DSP of the Year luncheon in AHRC’s ballroom. Twenty-three DSP honorees accepted certificates of thanks and gift bags, while managers presented stories of each DSP’s professional excellence. Deeply personal outcomes were discussed, and met with warm laughter, nods of shared experience, even some tears. View an image gallery of the event, here.
One special moment arose during the presentation of DSP of the Year honoree Lorraine Anderson’s 15 years of service at the Grand Ave. house. Assistant Director of Residential Services Roshni John highlighted her steady and positive presence after a longtime resident suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
“Every night, Lorraine comes on the shift prepared for the unexpected,” said Roshni. “Every single night, she makes sure the needs of the house and the individuals are met.”
Recognizing the interconnection of DSPs and Community Habilitation Professionals, fellow honoree Ellen Cheng also took a moment to “thank the group that works together – the DSPs” and share how the people she assists in Family Support Services have a seamless culture of support due to excellence of the Day Habilitation and Residential Services team.
While each DSP honoree’s stories were unique, their connection to the people supported and the importance of recognizing their service was emphasized.
At the ceremony, Executive Director Stanfort Perry shared his personal experience. “When I was a DSP, many, many years ago, there was no such thing as a Direct Support Professionals Appreciation Week. It did not exist. . .We’ve come a long way in understanding that you are the most valuable connection we have to families and to individuals that we support in this program.”
[spu popup=””] “It’s important we give you the tools that you need and while giving you those tools that we celebrate you, and we commend you, and thank you for everything that you do, not just in this organization but in the individual lives of the people that you touch, the people that you impact on a day-to-day basis.”
-Executive Director Stanfort Perry
AHRC Nassau stands firm on creating greater awareness for crucial DSP positions across our family of organizations. Over the past year, AHRC’s government relations committee of board members, community leaders and staff have met to bridge the gap between local officials and our community’s constituents.
From national organizations like the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) to The Arc New York, AHRC is part of a broader network focused on increasing base compensation through a federal designation in the Standard Occupational Classifications and greater funding through the state.
Your voice is needed. Please sign up for updates on how we can come together to advocate for increased awareness of DSPs and their crucial contributions.
While there is still work to be done on the advocacy front, AHRC’s family of organizations continue to create an engaging and fun workplace, as well as opportunities to connect. Check out unique DSP Week event images from Residential Services and Day Habilitation Services.