Direct support professionals (DSPs)—those members of HopeWell’s staff who work with adults in our residential homes and five staffed apartments—are integral to carrying out 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.
There’s Nicole, who stepped up during the pandemic by taking on extra responsibilities during the pandemic when her supervisor was out on leave. And Dieulene, who joined us right when the pandemic was shutting everything down, but quickly went to work at all of our residences. Then there’s Drucilla and Serena who bunkered down at one of our 24-hour group homes for two weeks straight during the COVID-19 shutdown.
These are the folks who are there 24/7 to assist differently-abled adults in living as independently as possible. Every day HopeWell’s DSPs share in the joys and challenges of helping residents master important tasks of daily life including using public transportation, shopping, and money management. They empower and encourage our residents to make their own decisions about where and with whom to live, the type of job they want, and how much support they need to live life on their own terms, achieve their dreams, and be active in their communities.
HopeWell is pleased and proud to recognize and celebrate the 38 DSPs on our staff during National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, Sept. 13-19. We are particularly grateful for them this year because of the pivotal role they have played during the COVID-19 pandemic, working to support and assist the most vulnerable among in navigating this frightening and isolated time.
The pandemic posed a great challenge to the operation of our congregate living programs. When the Baker administration ordered the statewide shutdown in March, our DSPs continued to work, supervising residents around the clock in our group homes and apartments as their day programs and jobs abruptly stopped. For many months, DSPs were the only physically present caregivers on which our residents could rely due to the stay-at-home advisory. It was incredibly hard on our individuals, for whom human contact is so important; only recently have they finally been able to see their family members in person.
Despite the risks to their own health—exacerbated by a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) early in the pandemic—DSPs volunteered to stay with our residents who became sick, and some fell ill themselves. One of our valuable staff took several months to recover. But she, like all of the others, returned to work when they were medically cleared to do so. Truly, they do this work because of the love they have for our residents.
Throughout the week, we’ll be celebrating our DSPs on our social media channels for their dedication, professionalism, and commitment to helping people who are differently abled live happy, fulfilling lives. We hope you’ll join us in recognizing these extraordinary employees.. If you’re not already, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.