The MENTOR Network

DSP of the Week 2015

At The MENTOR Network, we believe that our Direct Support Professionals—who help carry out The Network’s mission every day—should be valued, supported and recognized for a job well done. Congratulations to all of our DSPs of the Week from 2015.

Become a DSP
December 21, 2015

Mike Weiland

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“Working with the people we support and knowing that my service makes their lives better makes my life complete. When they remember things that we have done together or can do something without being frustrated it is worth more than gold. Being a DSP is a big part of my life and it is a job that I look forward to each and every day. It takes a special person to work in this field; it is not a job for just anyone—it requires a big heart with lots of compassion.”

December 14, 2015

Stephen Allen

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“The role of a direct support professional provides an opportunity to work in a diverse and challenging environment that is beneficial to clients and personally rewarding. Compassion and empathy are immeasurably rewarded daily through the support we provide individuals that enhances their quality of life. On one recent community outing, five clients from two homes spent the afternoon on two rented pontoon boats. Clients had the opportunity to drive the boats, with the assistance of support staff, and while all of the individuals we support had a wonderful time, the staff enjoyed the event a great deal too.”

 

December 7, 2015

Thomas Mosser

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“Direct support work is fulfilling for both staff and the individuals we serve. It gives us extra family beyond our own, and all are enriched by the experience.”

November 23, 2015

Andrea Martinez

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Texas

“What I most enjoy about my role as a direct support professional is the one-on-one time with our clients and the opportunity I have to encourage and motivate them to be independent.  I’m happy to be part of a team that helps make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. Getting to learn about our clients’ hobbies and actually participating in them is one of my favorite things to do, especially if it’s something I’ve never done before.”

November 16, 2015

Jennifer Holland

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is knowing that I get to help people every time I work.  It makes me feel good.  I especially enjoy bringing the individuals we support to dances – they are always so excited to go.”

November 9, 2015

Pam Fernholz

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role are the people we support—they are like family to me.  I mostly work the overnight shift, so mornings are our time together.  I enjoy having breakfast with them and hearing about all the things they have done throughout the week.”

November 2, 2015

Shannon Butler

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I love being an inspiration to others and putting smiles on the faces of the individuals we support. I recently took a client to the walking bridge. We were there for a while and talked about everything from past family life to what the future holds. This is a client who rarely speaks, so it was especially wonderful to be able to share such quality time together.”

October 26, 2015

Kristin Hiniker

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy helping the individuals we serve in their daily activities and out in the community.  We recently went to the humane society and had a great time.”

October 19, 2015

Katherine Renn

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy the challenge of my job. Most of all I enjoy the individuals we support. Every day is different, but I always leave knowing that I made a difference and made someone smile and laugh, or feel better. I especially appreciate the one-on-one time—it is a special time to learn more about the individuals and find out something new.”

 

October 12, 2015

Brenda Betts

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“Having worked with two special clients for the past year and a half, I know I have made a difference in their lives.  Every day is a teaching experience and they want to learn.”

October 5, 2015

Ashley Singer

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of the individuals I support.  They have taught me to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. It’s fun to help them pick out new things they like when we go shopping or go with them to get their hair cut—the women at the house love it!”

August 24, 2015

Jackie Sperr

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I like seeing the joy and pride in clients’ faces when they do things that they thought they couldn’t, such as picking out a new recipe, getting the groceries and cooking with little help or reconciling the checkbook independently. I went with a client to try salsa dancing recently. This client can be a little macho at times so I was unsure if he would like it, but he loved it and laughed so hard. He can hardly wait to do it again!”

August 17, 2015

Debbie Wildin

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is watching the individuals we support grow, helping them when they struggle, and seeing them smile!”

August 10, 2015

Rachel Posey

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I love working with our program participants and taking them on outings. I try to help them solve problems and gain independence. Recently, I took three of our participants to a local store that was sponsoring an emergency services day. The local fire department, EMS and police were there and our participants were able to pet the police horses, sit in a police jeep, enjoy the food and beverages, and dance to music. They had a wonderful time!”

August 3, 2015

Janelle Johnson

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“Life gets really busy and frustrating sometimes for everyone. The individuals that I serve remind me to slow down and appreciate the little things all around me. When I teach them something, they teach me something too—especially when they smile.”

July 27, 2015

Emily Bryniarski

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role are the conversations I have with the individuals I support and making them smile and laugh!”

 

July 20, 2015

Antwelyon Mangrum

Direct Support Professional
Illinois MENTOR

“I love making a difference in the lives of the individuals we support—may it be through a laugh, smile, hug, or encouragement. This is what I live for! What a joy to work every day doing something you love.”

July 13, 2015

Taylor Seehausen

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“The thing that I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is seeing the growth of my clients. I love being part of their transformation to become more independent individuals and challenging them to expand upon their abilities each and every day. Recently, a client and I went on a community outing to a mini golf course. We had a great time playing the game while also practicing our ability to be patient when the ball would just not go in the hole.”

July 6, 2015

Antonietta Pender

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“I’ve enjoyed so many different things with the individual I currently support, but I have to say I enjoyed our visit to the Humane Society the most. The excitement on her face was priceless as she enjoyed petting the animals and spending time with the friendly staff.”

 

June 29, 2015

Debra Elam

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“One of my favorite community outings is the Special Olympics. It’s beautiful to see the light in our participants’ eyes as they anticipate the big day, along with their love of the sport and honor that goes with the effort. It’s a humbling experience to be part of this awesome event.”

June 22, 2015

Rebecca Boucher

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I enjoy being able to work with individuals on their goals and I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they accomplish something.”

June 15, 2015

Amber Drownes

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“Seeing the individuals we support smile while doing the activities they enjoy is priceless. It’s wonderful to be in a position to help others achieve the goals they thought were unachievable!”

June 8, 2015

John Black

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the opportunity to be a positive role model. I have also enjoyed bonding with the individuals we support and knowing that I’ve earned their trust.”

June 1, 2015

La’Kinya Wright

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“What I love most about working as a DSP is showing love and compassion for the individuals I work with. What I enjoy most about my job is taking the individuals I support out in the community to explore all their surroundings have to offer—from museums, theaters and shopping centers to laser light shows!”

 

May 25, 2015

Angie Wilder

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“I love my job! Being able to guide and support people in learning new things is very rewarding. I especially love working with the individuals I support to do the garden around their home. We’ve had so much fun and been able to enjoy the outdoors and take pride in our work.”

May 11, 2015

Clara Ethridge

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the care, love and support that I am able to show the individuals we support. Seeing them progress in different areas and feel supported to explore new things and participate in activities in the community is so rewarding.”

May 4, 2015

Victoria Correa

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“When I made the decision to serve as a direct support professional, I knew that it would be an exciting field. The individuals I support are talented and fun to be around, and watching my clients smile as they arrive to the program every day brings joy to my heart. My ultimate goal is to serve my clients and remind them that they are amazing!”

April 27, 2015

Jaynell Cooks

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“I enjoy going out in the community with the individuals we support and helping to engage them with the world around us.  Community outings are also great opportunities to practice the life skills they’ve learned.”

April 20, 2015

Aaron Gerlach

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Pennsylvania

“What I enjoy most about my role is interacting with the participants. I like to joke around with them, and I especially love hearing the stories they have to tell. Sometimes the job can be hard, but seeing the participants smile and laugh makes it all worth it!”

April 13, 2015

Sarah Bosworth

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“My goal every day is to bring smiles to the faces of those I serve. Working as a DSP brings me a sense of satisfaction and enhances the quality of my life. I enjoy making connections with everyone on my team. My favorite activity out in the community is driving to beautiful landscapes and seeing the happiness in the faces of the individuals I serve. We recently drove to the Willamette Falls lookout point and everyone was so elated by the beauty of the landscape.”

April 6, 2015

Kelsie Ganoung

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“I enjoy being a DSP because it’s rewarding to see the positive impact we can make in people’s lives. My favorite outings with the individuals I support include pretty places in nature, such as waterfalls and lakes, which allow them to enjoy the outdoors.”

March 30, 2015

Tracy Williams

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“I love working as a direct support professional and giving back to others who have experienced neglect and mistreatment. Most of all, I love this role because it shows my abilities and my love for the people we are able to help.”

March 23, 2015

Julie Collins

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“What I enjoy most about being a DSP is working with the individuals we support. We recently went to an apple orchard, which was great fun, but I love going anywhere in the community with them. I just love all of our folks!”

March 16, 2015

Danielle Stanley

Direct Support Professional
REM West Virginia

“I love helping individuals we support reach their full potential, enjoy life and have the best quality of life!”

 

March 9, 2015

Tammy Blinkman

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“I love helping people and making sure they have everything they need. Most of all, I love when the individuals I support are able to gain independence by getting their own jobs and are successful in accomplishing their goals and dreams.”

March 2, 2015

Shelby Huffman

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy bonding with the individuals I work with and seeing them become more independent. Some of our favorite things to do out in the community include swimming and going to theme parks and the zoo.”

February 23, 2015

Anthony Sheffer

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“I love working alongside the individuals we support to help them attain greater joy in life and then seeing that joy when I’m greeted with a great big beaming smile.”

February 16, 2015

Kathryn Koshenina

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy giving to others and making their day better—we have lots of fun talking, joking around and laughing together.  I have met so many wonderful people at REM over the past 7 years.”

February 9, 2015

JoAnn Hagemeyer

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy helping people live happier and healthier lives and watching them find joy in the things they like. I especially like taking the individuals we support to special concerts and sporting events—watching them enjoying Taylor Swift, for example, was great!”

February 2, 2015

Theresa Gonzalez

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I love to support my group during their work at the local animal shelter and out in the community.  We enjoy visits to the museum, attending ceramics class, socializing with other groups, and going to program parties and advocacy meetings.”

 

January 26, 2015

Fadi Angalo

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy working with the individuals I serve, learning new things from them, making a positive difference in their lives, and supporting them out in the community.  During the winter months, we especially love to go to the YMCA and workout, swim, play basketball, and walk on the track.”

January 19, 2015

Jane Pickle

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“The people I work with are great! They are wonderful people who put the awesome individuals we support first in everything they do.”

January 12, 2015

Svetlana Fisher

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“What I enjoy the most about working in a direct support role is helping the guys I support live life to the fullest. They love to go out to eat and shop, and when the weather is nice we go fishing.”

January 5, 2015

Diego Ibarra

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I enjoy interacting with all our clients and my coworkers.  When I see them smile and laugh, I am elated.  It’s as simple as that.  Along with working on daily goals, the individuals I serve like to explore new places.  From going to museums, to observing wildlife, or hiking a new trail, the experience is what it’s all about.”