The MENTOR Network

DSP of the Day

At The MENTOR Network, we value our Direct Support Professionals, Life Skills Trainers, Personal Service Attendants, Certified Nurses Assistants and others in direct support for their dedication to those we serve and their critical role in carrying out our mission every day.

Once again in 2019—in honor of Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week, beginning September 8—The MENTOR Network celebrated our DSPs and other employees in a direct support role throughout the month of September. Please take a moment to meet these talented individuals and remember to thank them for their commitment to the individuals we serve. You can also find this, along with our DSP of the Week campaign throughout the rest of the year, on The MENTOR Network’s Facebook page.

September 30

DSP of the Day: Kayla Rush, REM Minnesota

“My job as a DSP is the most fulfilling and rewarding field I’ve ever worked in. Nothing melts my heart like making the individuals laugh, smile and enjoy life. As long as I am a DSP, I know the individuals I support will never be maltreated or uncared for! I  took an individual we recently welcomed to REM to a small fair and played Bingo. After the outing, he quickly opened up and felt comfortable in his new surroundings. He mentioned several times how much he liked where he lives now more than any other place.”

September 29

DSP of the Day: Kristine Bolinas, NeuroRestorative California

“I enjoy working with the patients and communicating with them in different ways—I especially love to sing to them, which always makes them smile!”

September 28

DSP of the Day: Shawn Lamphier, Arizona MENTOR

“I enjoy the smiles, laughter and making life more fun for all the individuals we serve. Out in the community, we like to try new things. Recently, I went with one individual we serve to a nursery to explore different edible plants, like lemongrass and chocolate mint.”

September 27

DSP of the Day: Valorie Swanson, REM Minnesota

“I like the feeling of knowing I’m helping to make the individuals we support day a little brighter. I enjoy spending time with them—each one of them has very special qualities. Since I work overnights, I don’t have a chance to be involved in the community outings, but I do enjoy spending time with them in the morning chatting, doing art projects and hearing from them about all that is going on in their lives.”

September 26

DSP of the Day: Irma Jimenez, NeuroRestorative California

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is working with staff to meet the patients’ needs and make them happy.  It’s very rewarding to feel helpful every day.”

September 25

DSP of the Day: David Turner, Arizona MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is getting to know the people we serve and helping them reach their personal goals. Out in the community together, we enjoy going bowling or to the arcade and everyone is always happy to go to the movie theater to see the latest super hero movie.”

September 24

DSP of the Day: Rachel Sampson, NeuroRestorative California

“What I love most about working in a direct support role is the one-on-one with the people we serve and getting to know them on a more personal level.  To see people grow from the initial injury or condition to reaching goal after goal is very rewarding.”

September 23

Faysal Jama, REM Minnesota

“I enjoy being able to help, care for and interact with the individuals we serve. I especially enjoy taking them out in the community and making sure they are happy and having fun, whether it’s shopping, going to the doctor, or enjoying a community event.”

September 22

Patrick Walter, Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy helping people and watching them learn new things. It is always rewarding when they have tried so hard to learn a new task and end up achieving their goals—it lights me up to see them light up with excitement. I love the relationships I have built. It is truly a blessing to know I’ve somehow and someway made an impact on someone else’s life. I’m truly grateful for what I have been able to do for so many years already, and will continue doing for years to come.”

September 21

Esmond Covington, Florida MENTOR

“I enjoy interacting with all of the individuals we serve, getting to know them and being around them. I enjoy listening to all the stories they tell about their day and hearing about the exciting things they would like to do someday. Some of my favorite things to do out in the community with them include walking around the neighborhood and bike riding. We also really enjoy playing kickball, basketball, soccer and volleyball.”

September 20

Janet Hanson, REM Minnesota

“I enjoy helping the individuals we serve grow and improve in areas they have lost due to their respective accident or diagnosis. It is extremely fulfilling to witness their growth and progress.  Out in the community, I enjoy taking individuals to events that they find enjoyable, be it a family event, like a daughter’s graduation, or a Community event, such as the SiouxperCon Comic Event we went to recently. I love seeing them be a part of their family and participate in community events that are important to them.”

September 19

Jeannita Shoop, Arizona MENTOR

“What I enjoy the most about working in a direct support role are the daily smiles and hugs and seeing others reach their goals, all the while I am learning so much from each of them.  We do so many different things out in the community and everywhere we go the people we serve make it a great place to be.”

September 18

Anderson Brown, Indiana MENTOR

“I love the people we serve.  I also love to fish, so one of the things I enjoy the most is getting out in the community to go fishing with them.”

September 17

Elizabeth McAndrew, REM Minnesota

“I truly do enjoy just being there for the individuals we serve. As a DSP you have many jobs to do, yet being there consistently is the most important thing you can do for the individuals we serve, and also for your fellow coworkers.”

September 16

Adrianna Ragland, NeuroRestorative Ohio

“Working in a direct support role is amazing. I enjoy being able to help better the lives of others. Coming to work every day knowing there is purpose behind my work is a great feeling.”

September 15

Barbara Fern, REM Ohio

“I have had the privilege of working with the individuals I serve for many years and have enjoyed many special moments and milestones with each of them! We have shared good times and bad times with a knowing that they weren’t alone and had the consistency and stability to grow and face this big world with someone they could rely on. I too have gained tremendous insight and such awareness of what is truly most important in life. Out in the community, we have had a multitude of experiences from going to parks, fairs, amusement parks, zoos, movies, restaurants, fishing, horse farms, libraries, museums, parties and picnics to sharing their grief with them at funerals of their peers. I have been blessed to be able to be a part of their life experiences!”

September 14

Linda Rotich, REM Minnesota

“Working in a direct support role gives me an opportunity to work with a diverse group of people, both people we serve and coworkers. They help me build on my passion for caregiving by presenting positive challenges, a base of learning, and increasing my level of patience. Being an overnight direct support staff, I don’t get out in the community much with the people I serve, but I really enjoy chatting with them and emotionally supporting them through challenges.”

September 13

DSP of the Day: Demario Lee, NeuroRestorative Ohio

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is building relationships.”

September 12

DSP of the Day: Breanna Campbell, Georgia MENTOR

“I choose to be a DSP because of the major role we have in caring for the people we serve. It brings me joy to be able to care and nurture people in need. One of my favorite things to do with the individuals I serve is to go out and take a walk through the neighborhood. It gives them time to enjoy the nice weather, explore their surroundings, and most of all be included in their community.”

September 11

Brandon Pederson, REM Minnesota

“I love seeing the individuals we serve smile and being able to help them achieve goals and go places that they never thought they would be able to go. The sky is the limit. Lately, I have had the opportunity to take individuals we serve to local amusement parks. At Valleyfair, one individual got to go on a water slide that he had never done before. We went to Nickelodeon Universe for another individual’s birthday. His mom and brother were able to meet us there. Seeing the joy and excitement on everyone’s face was indescribable and really gives insight to why I work as a DSP.”

September 10

Lakisha Stewart, REM Mississippi

“I choose to work in a direct support role because I love to help and serve other people. The direct support role gives me purpose.”

September 9

Anthony Berrios, Arizona MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is spending time with the people we serve and helping them achieve their goals and set new ones. I remember the first outing I went on when I started. We went bowling. I was able to learn a lot about all the individuals, while having a blast with them.”

September 8

Cindy Solomon, REM Minnesota

“I enjoy working with the individuals I serve, doing their programs with them, and assisting them in any way I can. I especially love taking them to the movies, parks and restaurants to see that expression of excitement on their faces.”

September 7

Stella Modeste, Florida MENTOR

“I enjoy interacting with the people we serve and seeing their smiles when you are a staff member they really admire. I love what I do and do it to the best of my ability.”

September 6

Latoya Jackson, NeuroRestorative Ohio

“Being in a direct support role allows you to help people in often simple ways. To see people improve is one of the best feelings. You can assist people by walking with them or simply talking with them. I especially enjoy the stories they share about when they were young, what happened to them, and how life is different for them now.”

September 5

Sam Sonnah, Arizona MENTOR

“Arizona MENTOR has given me the opportunity to make a difference and enhance the lives of others. I will continue to do whatever it takes every day to make a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve.”

September 4

Emma Fischer, REM Wisconsin

“I love being able to make the individuals’ lives as happy and comfortable as I can, while making connections that fulfill and improve my own life. It’s an honor to work with such wonderful, special people. One of my favorite outings was to the county fair with an individual we serve. Between the fried food and fair games, we won a few prizes and had a blast.”

September 3

Grace Sample, Delaware MENTOR

“I really enjoy working with the individuals we serve and taking them to new places in the community.  Recently, I took one of the individuals to a horse farm in Millville and he really enjoyed himself.”

September 2

Makayla Rains, Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy having an impact on the lives of the people we serve and watching them become more independent as they enjoy life to the fullest. Some of my favorite activities to do in the community with them is volleyball, track/field and swimming, as well as Miracle League baseball. Recently, we went to a baseball practice, where I got to watch the individuals practice, dance and socialize with their friends—it was a great day.”

September 1

Emily Mills, REM Minnesota

“I love having a positive impact on the lives of the people I support. Knowing I play a role in the achievement of their goals is very rewarding. Some of our favorite things to do out in the community include concerts in the park, trips to the movies and picnics at Brighton Beach.”