At The MENTOR Network, we believe that our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), Life Skills Trainers and others who work in a direct support role deserve recognition and thanks for the work they do. During September this year, The Network continues its annual tradition of celebrating our DSPs throughout the month. Beginning September 13, we also celebrate National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, honoring these staff members for their commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injury and other challenges.
“Without Direct Support Professionals and their commitment to improving quality of life for the individuals they serve, The MENTOR Network could not carry out its mission,” says Bruce Nardella, The MENTOR Network’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Their support enables thousands of people to participate fully in neighborhood life and to pursue meaningful goals. In recognition of their extraordinary commitment, I would like to thank all of our employees in direct support roles for their hard work and dedication to the people we serve.”
Each day in September, The Network is highlighting one employee in a direct support role on our Facebook page and on our DSP of the Day page. This year’s campaign provides further opportunities for employees to share what they love about working in direct care and be recognized for the daily contributions they make in helping individuals live life to the fullest.
The Network’s partners are also celebrating direct support staff through employee picnics and other recognition events, with program staff finding unique ways to honor the service of our DSPs. A few of the events happening across the country include the following:
- California MENTOR is hosting its annual DSP appreciation picnics in cities across the state, including San Bernardino, Riverside, Big Bear, Victorville, Temecula, Ontario and Yucaipa. Events will feature food, ice cream trucks, raffles, DJs and more. Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy games such as sack races and volleyball competitions.
- Missouri MENTOR has activities happening across the state throughout DSP Week, including raffles and giveaways, ice cream socials and cookouts. Programs are using a superhero theme to remind DSPs and other staff that they are real life
superheroes—going above and beyond to make a difference every day.
- New Jersey MENTOR and REM New Jersey are showing appreciation all month, with each group home expressing their thanks to DSPs in their own unique way. House managers are putting up appreciation-themed decorations and flyers, providing breakfast for staff, preparing food to serve DSPs at staff meetings, and writing personalized thank-you notes. Staff have also received tokens of appreciation including travel cups and bookmarks.
- REM Iowa is hosting recognition events to show appreciation, and staff are receiving giveaways throughout DSP Week, including t-shirts, candy and popcorn. DSPs are also receiving personalized thank-you notes acknowledging them for their dedication and hard work.
- REM Ohio programs across the state are celebrating DSP Week with employee picnics in local parks, complete with food and games.