It was a joy to celebrate HopeWell’s 38 direct support professionals (DSPs) during National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week from September 13-19, especially since we were joined by the likes of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller!
DSPs are those who collectively provide 24/7 support to differently-abled people in our two group homes and five staffed apartments so that they may live as independently as possible. Without their skill, hard work, and dedication, we simply could not fulfill our mission to enrich the lives and expand the opportunities of individuals and families in need of love, support and safe places to grow and thrive.
As Gov. Charlie Baker noted in a statewide proclamation marking Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week, DSPs provide “essential support to help keep an individual with disabilities connected to the family and community of the individual;” they enable people with disabilities to “live meaningful, productive lives and avoid more costly institutional care;” and they play an important role “in improving the quality of life and care of people across Massachusetts.”
Indeed, these staff members have consistently gone above and beyond their already considerable duties during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that a vulnerable community of people have the support and care they need to navigate this difficult and dangerous time. HopeWell DSPs like Nicole, who stepped up during the pandemic by taking on extra responsibilities when her supervisor was out on leave, Dieulene, who joined us as the pandemic shutdown was implemented but immediately went to work in our residences, and Drucilla and Serena, who both remained with residents at one of our group homes for two weeks straight amid the shutdown, and so many others we can’t name here. Needless to say, we’re particularly grateful for all of our DSPs this year.
And we’re not the only ones. Marking Direct Support Professionals week in a video message specifically for HopeWell DSPs, Mayor Walsh expressed gratitude on behalf of the city for their service during the pandemic. “One of our top priorities from day one of this crisis has been meeting the needs of our most vulnerable residents,” he stated. “And we couldn’t do this work without you.” He went on to praise our DSPs for keeping our residents active, engaged, ensuring they have the care they need, and communicating with their families.
Mayor Walsh also recognized the physical risk our DSPs are taking in continuing to work through the pandemic. “You are true heroes on the frontlines of this crisis,” he said. “We are grateful for all the work you do and we will always support you.”
Early in the week we honored our DSPs at a virtual luncheon in which we delivered a delicious meal to each of their doors along with a gift bag that included copies of special proclamations specifically recognizing the contributions of HopeWell DSPs from Mayors Fuller and Walsh.
Mayor Fuller issued her DSP Recognition Week proclamation at City Hall on Sept. 14. “In our community we are so fortunate to have organizations such as HopeWell that provide a range of critical services to children, youth and adults in need,” she said, reading from the proclamation.
Upon declaring DSP Recognition Week in the City of Newton, Mayor Fuller added, “You have my deep, deep gratitude for your life of service and your giving to so many. Thank you.”
As he did in his video message, Mayor Walsh’s DSP Recognition Week proclamation noted the critical work that HopeWell DSPs have done during the pandemic. He encouraged all Bostonians to recognize the dedication of DSPs “and in particular HopeWell’s team and the important role they play in supporting the lives of individuals who are differently-abled.”
Once again, we’re grateful for all of our DSPs and the work they do to ensure our residents can live with the support and dignity we all need and deserve.