The MENTOR Network

DSP of the Week 2016

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 2016.

Become a DSP
December 26, 2016

Linda Oppelaar

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“I enjoy working with people who need me. I want to make a difference in the world and I think I’m a good fit for direct care. One of my favorite outings with the individuals we support was our trip to Mackles Farm. We went pumpkin picking and on a hay ride. It made me so happy to see the clients so excited and having such a good time.”

December 19, 2016

Natasha Wilson

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy helping the individuals who I work with accomplish their goals and build the courage and confidence to do things that they once feared doing. ”

December 12, 2016

Kayla Wheeler

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role are the smiles on the faces of the individuals I support. The simple things we take for granted are huge to them—like feeding the ducks at the levy or sitting and watching a mama duck with her little ones. They appreciate everything we do for them instant payday loans. I recently had the opportunity to attend a Special Olympics bowling event in our area. I had a client win a blue ribbon and as she was accepting the ribbon she kept repeating ‘Thank you, thank you for bringing me!’ As I watched her smile and wipe the tears from her face all the trials and tribulations that go with this job were worth every minute.”

December 5, 2016

Kathleen Dougherty

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“I love helping our individuals learn new things, including how to help others. Over the summer, I volunteered with an individual I serve at Sunset Vista Butterfly Garden in Newton, NJ. She had the opportunity to feed the chickens, pick fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as pick weeds and help out around the farm.”

November 28, 2016

Dana Grant

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I absolutely love to see the determination and joy on the faces of the individuals I support when they have accomplished a goal or done something new! Building relationships with all of my individuals and their families is extremely rewarding. At the end of the day, I feel very fulfilled and accomplished.  My individuals love to participate in The MENTOR Network’s Volunteer Day and the brain injury awareness walks. This past volunteer day they helped to rake up leaves at a local park. When the evening was over, they wanted to go home and do the same thing with their own yard. I love to see them take the initiative and accomplish things on their own!”

November 21, 2016

Tanisha Valliant

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy spending time with the ladies I serve—helping to care for them, while enjoying their different personalities.  Our favorite things to do in the community together include going to the local Jewish Community Center, out to eat and to the movies.”

November 14, 2016

Mya Place

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“I enjoy every moment of this job from the clients and staff to my fantastic manager. I love being able to teach someone something in a patient and caring way. I also love walking in and seeing the smiles on my clients’ faces when I come in the door. It’s an amazing feeling to know you really do make a difference in their lives. Some of my favorite outings include outdoor activities, such as visits to the state parks and local farms. Recently, we went pumpkin picking at an orchard. They enjoyed a hayride to the apple trees, got a pumpkin and gourd, and enjoyed a tour through the bakery. They all had a really fantastic time and I can’t wait to do it again next year!”

October 31, 2016

Lonnie Prim

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the rewarding feeling you get after being able to make an individual smile.”

October 24, 2016

Brandon Scott

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“There is nothing more important to me than positively impacting a participant’s life by helping them achieve their goals and set new ones. One of my favorite things to do with the individuals we serve is to have cookouts and game nights with all the participants’ houses.”

October 17, 2016

Passion Jackson

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is getting to build a relationship with each individual I serve.  My favorite community outing was when we took all eight of the individuals in our program, including an individual who usually doesn’t do well in community places with noise and traffic, out into the community shopping.  I loved that outing because everyone was together—staff and individuals we serve—as a team.”

October 10, 2016

Denise Gonzalez

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I enjoy getting to know the different personalities of these special individuals we serve.  One of my favorite things to do in the community is to go hiking with an individual I support at one of his favorite hiking trails. I enjoy being able to sightsee, motivate and support one another with exercise.”

October 3, 2016

Erica Francis

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“My favorite things to do as a direct support professional are to take the clients on community outings and help them celebrate their birthdays. I really love my clients.”

August 22, 2016

Emily Flathers

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“Nothing makes me feel better than being able to see the individuals I support happy and proud of the things they are accomplishing. The individuals I support are so caring and enjoy helping out in so many ways. They love to help in the community by volunteering at the Salvation Army and Animal Rescue League. It puts a smile on my face when people notice the good things they do and let them know how well they are doing it.”

August 15, 2016

Yanique Piton

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is helping the individuals we support and seeing them smile!”

August 8, 2016

Kyle Skari

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is having the chance to positively change someone’s life.  Recently, one of the individuals I support has been trying to lose weight. He has been eating correct portions of food and is out walking 4-5 days per week. One of his previous staff members saw him and noticed his weight loss.  She commented on how well he looked and he smiled proudly and talked about how hard he has been working. It was a great moment.”

August 1, 2016

Devin Blankenship

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is helping people, connecting with them, and seeing how happy they are being able to do things that sometimes we take for granted.  I often go with one of the individuals we support to the stores he likes.  Just seeing how happy he is to go to those places is awesome.”

July 25, 2016

Lakisha Rogers

Direct Support Professional
REM Mississippi

“I enjoy working with the individuals we serve. Being able to help, assist and teach them different things is what I love to do. Recently, I took a group to the African American Military Museum.  As we walked through the exhibit, they heard stories and saw pictures of the many men and women who served our country.  We all really enjoyed touring the museum.”

July 18, 2016

Cahla LaFontaine

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I enjoy making the people I support happy and helping them live a fulfilled life.  A great community outing we enjoyed recently involved helping someone we support attend the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics.”

July 11, 2016

Renee Musheno

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Florida

“I love my work with the residents. Their daily progress and unbelievable courage and tenacity to overcome their everyday challenges is what makes my heart filled with gratitude every day. It is a privilege to interact with these incredible individuals. I feel very blessed. I have a participant I have taken to our local health club for seven years and six months, five days a week, and he is waiting for me every morning at 6:45am ready to go. How many people have that much dedication to their physical health? I am so proud of him.”

July 4, 2016

Gwen Gilbert-Holden

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I enjoy putting a smile on the faces of the people I work with. One of the individuals I support loves to drive along the river and talk about fishing. Seeing him smile as he talks about fishing makes me smile.”

June 27, 2016

Elizabeth Corbitt

Direct Support Professional
REM Ohio

“I love working with the individuals we serve and helping them accomplish their goals. It is such rewarding work and I have made many friendships. I especially love going to the library and sporting events with them. Walks and general exercise at the park are always a blast too.”

June 20, 2016

Amanda VanHecke

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“Being part of my clients’ everyday lives is so rewarding and I enjoy watching them achieve their goals.”

June 13, 2016

Lisa Nelson

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I love coming to work—I enjoy helping people with their daily activities and, if I have a bad day, I know seeing the people I care for will cheer me up. Recently, we supported the individuals we serve to the Spring Gala. It was great to see everyone dressed so nicely and having a wonderful time.”

June 6, 2016

Frieda Tobing

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the opportunity to provide direct care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the compassion that it builds.”

May 30, 2016

Samantha Lopez

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I think of the people I work with as family.  We go through the good, bad and fun things together. I do my very best to help them make the right decisions and live the best life possible.  One of my favorite things to do with them in our small community is to make cookies for the local daycare centers.  We also recently started a weekly cooking class, where we make food from different cultures.”

May 23, 2016

Abigail Runkle

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is learning and experiencing new things every day!”

May 9, 2016

Bernadine Sharp

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I really enjoy my day-to-day interactions with the clients I help to support. Most of them are elderly and I love to hear their stories and remembrances from their younger days.”

 

May 2, 2016

Travis Logsdon

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy seeing the personal growth and success of the individuals we serve. The smile on their faces after they achieve something makes my day and I enjoy seeing them maintain their independence—it is very rewarding. One of my favorite things to do with them is to go out with Fishing Has No Boundaries. The guys love it.  They boat and they fish and we spend the night in a cabin. It’s a great adventure that they talk about for days afterwards.”

April 18, 2016

Daisy Valentin

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“The thing I like about working with the individuals we serve is that I feel good knowing that I am really helping people.”

April 11, 2016

Dorrie Deich

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy assisting the individuals we serve in accomplishing their goals.  They teach me as much, if not more, than I teach them.  One thing I have learned is that one person’s bump is another’s mountain.”

April 4, 2016

Brittany Macomber

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Massachusetts

“I enjoy working with the individuals we serve—encouraging them to pursue the things that they enjoy and trying to make every day a positive one.  Accompanying them on their weekly errands and outings is always a good outing because they are able to do the activities they like to do.”                                       

March 28, 2016

Emily Grossbauer

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“As much as I change the lives of the individuals I support, it is nothing compared to how they have changed mine. I love that I am able to connect and relate to people with disabilities in a way that I never would have if I hadn’t gotten this job. Helping someone I support achieve a goal they have been working toward is arguably more rewarding than achieving a goal myself. The individual I support most regularly and I share a love of animals. We love taking my dog to the dog park or on walks. Another thing we enjoy doing together is going to rummage sales during the summer and going fishing. Really anytime we get out in the community is a great time.”

March 21, 2016

Gladys Joseph

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“I love everything about my job. It is very fulfilling seeing the individuals we serve smile and enjoy life. Taking them out to dinner and shopping are two of my favorite things to do with them—I love seeing them ‘light up’ in the moment.”

March 7, 2016

Alisha Poitra

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I love providing services that allow people to do things that they otherwise would not be able to do. The smiles on the faces of the individuals I serve are overwhelming and make me feel I have done my job right. We recently joined a spin class and it’s been amazing seeing the expressions on their faces. The coach knows everyone by name and she pushes each one of us. It’s helping the individuals I serve as well as myself stay active and heart healthy.”

February 29, 2016

Linda Johnson

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“The rewards of working with the individuals I support seem never ending. The joy I feel far outweighs anything I can put into words. Making a positive difference in their lives each day is an honor.”

February 22, 2016

Kettly Lenton

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“I love working with the individuals we support and the team at Avon Park Cluster—we have a lot of fun. The individuals we support love to go to the park, which we do often, but one of my most memorable trips was to the local arcade with a gentleman we support. He had so much fun!!! It was great to watch him enjoy himself so much.”

February 15, 2016

Melissa Danis

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Maine

“Being a Life Skills Trainer comes naturally to me. I love to take people we support out into the world and have them experience the things they used to do before their injuries.”

February 8, 2016

Linda Anthony

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is helping the individuals we serve accomplish things they may not be able to do on their own, giving them hope, and making them feel that everything will be okay. We especially enjoy going outside, visiting the local stores and playing cards together.”

February 1, 2016

Caci Lingen

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is getting to know and working with awesome people. I especially like going camping and to the movies with the individuals I serve.”

January 4, 2016

Tammy Ingram

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is seeing the individuals we support accomplish things and be happy and comfortable in their community.”