The MENTOR Network

DSP of the Week 2017

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 2017.

Become a DSP
December 25, 2017

Danial Gabbard

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role are the people we serve. The love and enjoyment of seeing their faces light up from simple acceptance and conversation, and every day knowing we make a difference, is a feeling that’s hard to put into words. I’m a very goofy person, which is great because when we are in public or just grocery shopping we laugh and it’s amazing to see that self-confidence build up in the individuals we serve. We sing and dance until the shy moments leave; you can see it in their faces and their smiles can light up any moment of darkness.”

December 18, 2017

Tassy Watkins

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“What I enjoy about working as a Life Skills Trainer is helping others—preparing good meals that they enjoy and making sure they are happy and healthy.”

December 11, 2017

Bryce Hanson

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from helping people improve their lives.  Out in the community, the men I work with really enjoy bowling and so do I. We have a great time together—there are smiles and laughter the entire time.”

November 27, 2017

Tina James

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I have worked in the same building and served the same individuals since 2011 and I have loved watching them grow through the years. I love seeing them thrive and learn new things, and it is immensely satisfying to know that I am part of the reason why. Out in the community, we enjoy plays, concerts, movies, shopping, coffee, meals and more. I share a birthday with one of the individuals I serve and nearly every year we’ve gone out for a meal together on our birthday. It’s something we always look forward to.”

November 20, 2017

Willis Kidwell

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the daily interaction with the individuals we serve and the subsequent growth. Out in the community, we all really enjoy going to sporting events.”

November 13, 2017

Erin Hislop

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy the relationships that get built with the individuals we serve and helping them reach their goals. Experiencing something new with them is one of my favorite things to do. Recently, I took one individual we serve to a local fair, where I taught him how to play miniature golf. After a fun game, we walked around the fair and he experienced another first—dippin’ dot ice cream, which he responded with a ‘yum’ after the first bite.”

November 6, 2017

Nicole Vaughn

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is being part of the recovery process with the individuals we serve and getting to see how their hard work pays off.”

October 31, 2017

Angela Chase

Direct Support Professional
Missouri MENTOR

“My favorite part of a career in this field is being greeted with a smile every day I walk through the door. The individuals I support make me a better person, while at the same time I am allowed the chance to assist them in improving their quality of life. I go home knowing that I love my job and I made a difference. Out in the community, I enjoy any time my individuals get to experience something new. Over the summer we went and hiked a trail at Weston State Park. The looks of awe as they stood on the lookout and gazed over the river brought tears to my eyes.”

October 23, 2017

Noelia Cortes

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative, Michigan

“I enjoy doing direct support because I love helping people who need help and seeing the smiles on their faces, which put a smile on my heart and day. Out in the community I enjoy coffee time and the movies with the individuals I serve, but most of all I enjoy taking them to see their families.”

October 16, 2017

Samantha Johnson

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“Being a DSP is great because of all the time you get to spend with the individuals we serve! It is wonderful to be given the opportunity to not only help people through their day, but to make a real impact on their lives for the better. I enjoy bringing smiles and laughter to a good productive work day, along with an eclectic array of fun activities. We really enjoyed the state fair this year. It was fun eating out and going on rides, even if some of the rides were a little bit scary. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed playing tennis with the individuals I serve. We also enjoy bowling, walking, yard Yahtzee and loom knitting.”

October 9, 2017

Jenny Schmidt

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is seeing the individuals we serve smiling and joking around with one another.  We like to take walks together in the neighborhood, go grocery shopping, and visit the mall. No matter where we go, they always seem to see someone they know!”

October 2, 2017

Victoria Townsend

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I enjoy working with the participants, getting to know them and their story, and making sure their needs and wants are met. We love going to the park to feed the ducks and going to the store to pick out movies. I also love making air plants with them and seeing their designs.”

August 21, 2017

Brittany McReynolds

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I love the fact that I am able to work with a group of diverse and very different individuals—both direct support professionals and individuals we serve—who have made a positive impact in my life. I have the best coworkers anyone could ask for!  We depend on each other to help uplift and bring new ideas and events to our cluster of homes, empower each other, and are always willing to lend a helping hand when needed.  Working for The MENTOR Network has been one of the best opportunities that I have been blessed with.”

August 14, 2017

Jennifer DiTaranto

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is helping the individuals we serve learn new things and knowing when they say ‘thank you’ that they really appreciate everything you do for them.  Out in the community, I like taking the individuals to the movies, park, mall—basically any place that makes them smile and laugh. They should enjoy life to the fullest!”

 

August 7, 2017

Kayla Eide

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role are the relationships you build with individuals supported. There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone become a valued community member. Individuals we support become like family members, they change the way you see things for the better. One of my favorite things was to help a young lady with her high school graduation and senior pictures. We helped get her ready for her pictures by styling her hair, and applying makeup. I will never forget how excited she was, it made my day being part of her big day.”

July 31, 2017

Angela Browning

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy seeing how proud the individuals we support are when they achieve their goals! I enjoy teaching them new things and learning new things from them. I am especially looking forward to seeing them play in The Miracle League in a few weeks!!!”

July 17, 2017

Manette Alzume

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“I enjoy helping the individuals we serve feel great and be proud of themselves because they are a part of the community.”

July 10, 2017

Shawn Ford

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I like knowing that I make an impact directly in the lives of the individuals we serve on a daily basis. I enjoy seeing them reach their chosen goals. I also enjoy spending time with them in the community— especially at the local park where we can take walks and get exercise.”

July 3, 2017

Sydney Gandy

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“I love doing the ladies nails on ‘spa day.’ We also love doing Karaoke and going on outings.”

June 26, 2017

Tim Webb

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“Our program has a team of employees who truly care about the people we serve and being part of it. They help everyone stay active, safe and happy. I especially enjoy seeing people do something new—learn a new skill or just do something that is fun for them. When the weather cooperates, we try to go outside every day and find an enjoyable activity. It might be playing softball, basketball or going to the YMCA. We currently have a construction site nearby so I’ve enjoyed being able to take the individuals on long walks so they can see the heavy equipment and concrete being poured, and engage and converse with the construction crew.”

June 19, 2017

Misty Anderson

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“I love interacting with the individuals we serve. Their laughter & happiness is so contagious!! No matter what we do, we have fun!! Going to the zoo, dances, or just out to dinner, we have a ball!!”

June 12, 2017

Charamy Saez

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is caring for the individuals we serve. We really enjoy each other’s company.”

June 5, 2017

Karen Killebrew

Direct Support Professional
Missouri MENTOR

“I really enjoy seeing the individual I support get out into the community and enjoy some of the simple things in life like the sunshine or a pretty flower.”

May 29, 2017

Amanda Julian

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy interacting with the individuals we serve and watching them thrive in their daily living activities. It is very rewarding. The relationships formed and memories made will never be forgotten! Helping with Special Olympics, taking the individuals to practice, and seeing them interacting in the community is one of my favorite activities. We also enjoy going to fairs, Miracle League, parades, cookouts and many other events.”

May 22, 2017

Kristy Schwittay

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“A DSP is a great job that allows you to learn how to work with individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities. It’s such a great and rewarding experience! Each and every “client” in my eyes is nothing less than family! We love to go sightseeing together and go to parks. Any place with fishing attire makes one of my clients ecstatic and just to see him smile is a reward in itself. I am very blessed to have the position I do. My heart and passion is dedicated 100% to the care, safety and love for each individual! This isn’t a job, it’s a passion.”

May 15, 2017

Hans Coleus

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“I enjoy helping all my clients. I enjoy playing games, communicating and watching movies with them and taking them places in the community.”

May 8, 2017

Shaundreka Howard

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is caring for the individuals we serve—we have a lot of fun enjoying each other’s company.”

May 1, 2017

Jemmieblle Tenney

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“The individuals we serve have taught me appreciation for the lifestyle that I live—for that I am incredibly grateful and appreciative for the role they play in my life. I enjoy taking the individuals we serve into the community, integrating them into the community and making them feel like the valued citizens they are in society. That makes me very happy!”

April 24, 2017

Kelly Houska

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“One of my favorite things to do out in the community is to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. Monthly, an individual supported by REM North Dakota and I deliver meals to people who are not able to leave their home. The smile on the face of the individual we support when they receive a thank you after delivering a meal is priceless.”

April 17, 2017

Laura Roeter

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“I absolutely love coming to work every day and knowing that I am making a positive difference in the lives of others! I love seeing the joy, pride and smiles while my clients work on activities that have meaning to them. I love taking clients into the community and integrating them into circumstances and activities that they may otherwise not have a chance to do. We have so much fun on outings! We go shopping, take drives, go to the duck pond and so much more. I could not imagine working in a field more rewarding than this!”

April 10, 2017

Anna Sobota

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“Working as a DSP has so many rewarding benefits. I like helping others help themselves. It can be the smallest thing—a high five, a smile or clapping for their achievements that makes me smile and is good for my heart every day. Out in the community, the county fair is a highlight of mine. It’s wonderful to see the individuals being compassionate in their own unique way towards all the animals and to see their faces light up with excitement while talking to the animals and their owners.”

April 3, 2017

Alice Olivarez

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I enjoy the direct contact with the people we support—helping with meals, medical appointments, being a part of the community and seeing them smile, but also being there in times of illness and providing comfort at the end of life.”

March 27, 2017

Eric Stoner

Direct Support Professional
Loyd's Liberty Homes, California

“The home where I work and the staff who work there create an awesome atmosphere.  I enjoy walking into the home every day with the opportunity to positively impact the lives of the individuals we serve.”

March 20, 2017

Chasity Denny

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“I really enjoy any day that I may be able to help turn a bad day into a good one for an individual we serve.”

March 13, 2017

Lucy Garadwey

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“What I enjoy the most about working as a DSP is spending time with my clients. The relationship I have established with each of them and just being a part in putting a smile upon their face daily has been a blessing to me personally. I love what I do and I could not imagine being anywhere else. One of my favorite outings so far was when we visited a pumpkin patch for Halloween. Seeing the excitement on their faces when we arrived and just being able to be outside enjoying the experience together made a huge difference for each of us that day.”

March 6, 2017

Jeannette Heard

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“Working with the kids is always fun. We get to help shape them into young men and women. Watching them grow is awesome and knowing that I helped that process of their lives is why I enjoy being a DSP. We also have a wonderful team—everyone is awesome. We love to go to parks and splash parks in the summer and play in the snow and make snowmen in the winter. The kids love going to the movies, bowling, shopping and skating. Most recently we went to Adventureland and the Omaha Zoo and everyone had a great time.”

February 27, 2017

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.”

February 20, 2017

CJ Taylor

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the wonderful relationships I have built with people supported and my colleagues. I really enjoy spending time with individuals we support and their families over the holidays. I have also joined an advocacy group with one of the men I work with, which has been an enlightening and enriching experience for both of us.”
February 13, 2017

Barbara Van Alst

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is caring for our individuals. I love it when we take the guys on outings, such as to restaurants and dances, and I enjoy watching them have fun.”

February 6, 2017

Renee Rathjen

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“I love working with staff and being with clients, going with them on outings, and helping them learn new things. I love taking them to the park or bowling and watching their faces light up with joy. I love taking them anywhere.”

January 30, 2017

Deborah Figueroa

Direct Support Professional
Florida MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about being a direct support professional is doing fun new things with the individuals we support. We especially like to paint, draw, listen to music and play games.”

January 23, 2017

Kayley Clark

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy working as a direct support professional because I get to work hands on with the individuals we serve and get the chance to build quality relationships with them. I love going on outings and spending quality time with each of them outside of the home. One time in particular, another staff and I took an individual we serve out to eat and costume shopping for Halloween. We joked around, visited the pet store (and found out the individual we serve really likes watching lizards). I felt like I was out with my best friends enjoying a night out! I am always so happy watching the individuals smiling and having a good time!”

January 16, 2017

Brittany Bayles

Direct Support Professional
REM New Jersey

“Seeing the individuals we serve progress is such a rewarding feeling. In the past few months I’ve seen some of them accomplish goals they once needed assistance with. The teamwork for this role is also great to be a part of.”

January 9, 2017

Carman Ehret

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy gaining experience in the field of human services by working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I enjoy spending time with them and seeing the bright smiles on their faces. I enjoy the confidence that I am creating by helping others and making a difference in their lives. I enjoy taking them sightseeing to various places in the community that they don’t get to see all that often. I also enjoy taking them out to their favorite restaurants in the community and being an advocate for them while in the community.”

January 2, 2017

Jeffery Alexander Jr

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is helping others in need and being around such special individuals. I love taking clients to places they haven’t been before or rarely get to go, such as the Science Museum or other places in the twin cities.”