The MENTOR Network

DSP of the Week 2019

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 2019.

Become a DSP
December 30, 2019

Amanda Klus

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I choose to work in a direct support role because I want to make a difference! Out in the community, my favorite thing to do with the people we serve is to bring them to the parties we have with other groups. I always get to meet and see so many new and exciting people.”

December 23, 2019

Tina Zaszczurynski

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is working with the individuals we serve and helping them reach their goals and be successful. Out in the community, I especially enjoy going with them to social events organized by PALS, one of our community partners, and being able to see them have fun and their faces light up.”

December 16, 2019

Ana Delgado

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative California

“I enjoy seeing patients improve and supporting them as they reach their goals and work towards a better life.  I always welcome the opportunity to assist patients in getting out in the community, whether it be to the movies or accompanying them to a doctor’s appointment.”

December 9, 2019

Jerry Irwin

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I love most about working in a direct support role is being able to make a difference, big or small, and build relationships and memories that will last a lifetime.”

December 2, 2019

Nicola Scarpelli

Direct Support Professional
South Carolina MENTOR

“I enjoy working as a direct support professional because it gives me an opportunity to work with individuals in a way that positively impacts their lives. They have so much to offer the community. I like to facilitate opportunities for them and help them look at all options before making decisions. One evening we went to a barbeque cook off at the Mauldin Cultural Center. They enjoyed meeting and talking to people. It was amazing how outgoing they were and a great reminder that all of us have the capacity to engage others in a positive way.”

November 25, 2019

Leticia Najera

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative California

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is helping patients and making them happy.”

November 18, 2019

Brianna Zelinko

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I choose to work in this field because it gives me the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment. I care about the individuals we serve and want to see their growth and health improve every day.  I love to do all sorts of art projects with them, bring them to the local dances, and do anything that makes their day brighter and brings smiles to their faces.”

November 11, 2019

Tiawanna Chaney

Direct Support Professional
REM Mississippi

“I choose to work in a direct support role simply because it is so rewarding. I am grateful to be able to make a small difference in the world. To be able to watch the individuals we serve grow and blossom is one of the best feelings. The individuals we serve bring out the best within you. They show tons of love, courage, respect, knowledge, and are such a joy to be around. I love being able to assist them, being able to teach them, creating new activities for them to enjoy, and getting them out in the community to explore their surroundings. It is always a blast when we’re out and about. So many personalities come alive. Recently, we went to the Memphis Zoo. The wonders, the oooh’s and aaah’s, excitement, smiles, laughter, and bonding with nature truly was a wonderful experience to have witnessed. Everyone enjoyed themselves to the fullest.”

November 4, 2019

Maria Roma

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative California

“I love helping patients and entertaining them. It’s always a joy seeing them smile.”

October 28, 2019

Callum Doucette

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I choose to work in a direct support role because it is the most hands-on position available. In this role, I am able to work closely with individuals every day, and build rapport, relationships and trust. Having those established, I am able to provide individualized care to each person. I am able to help them in ways best suited for them, as well as be patient with them and be able to understand their struggles and needs. One of my favorite things to do with them is to go to the park. I am grateful to be able to watch them be unapologetically themselves—energetic, active and playful, as well as to be in a position where I support and encourage them by also crawling up on the equipment, swinging on swings, playing tag, etc. The park allows them to engage in the activity of their choice, while simultaneously being together.”

October 21, 2019

Emily Hicks

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“Being a DSP is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. The individuals I support have become my family just as much as I have become theirs. There is nothing that I am more proud of than my job. I love taking the people we serve out in the community to do things that genuinely make them happy. I have taken some out to eat, to the movies, the zoo, and even just grocery shopping. Watching them have a good time is enough for me.”

October 14, 2019

Miriam Salinas

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative California

“I love the patients and working with my team.  I especially enjoy spending time with the patients talking and singing.”

October 7, 2019

Beena Mathew

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Illinois

“What I enjoy most about working with the people we serve is the opportunity to interact with different personalities. Interesting conversations about stories from when they were younger or what happened the day before will enlighten your life and make you a more empathetic person. Your empathy meter will grow with each person you work with.”

August 26, 2019

Eric Benson

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy coming to work and spending time with the people we serve. We often go on outings to play ball or see a movie.  I especially enjoy going to Pacers and Colts games, car shows, or the museum with them.  Recently, I took some of the individuals we serve to World on Wheels and one of them got to meet the WWE wrestler Big Show―it made his day!

August 19, 2019

Gerthene Baxter

Direct Support Professional
South Carolina MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is talking to the people we serve and making them feel important by doing things they like. Out in the community, they especially enjoy visiting the park and walking the trails, shopping, and going out for lunch or a movie.”

 

August 12, 2019

Jennifer Joya

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Iowa

“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 completing it with little to no assistance. I also enjoy our time out in the community. Just recently, we took individuals we serve to our local little petting zoo and grilled out. It was fun watching them pet the animals and enjoy the day outside.”

August 5, 2019

Jessica Delgado

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I enjoy knowing I’m helping people achieve their full potential, helping them be more confident in their independence and of course being their number one fan through everything. One of my favorite things to do out in the community is volunteer―it’s great watching them do their duties independently and confidently.”

July 29, 2019

Shattika Skinner

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I enjoy getting to see the participants learn new things—learning skills to get back out on their own or just something they didn’t know about. Being able to help them in any way means a lot to me. Out in the community, we always enjoy bowling together and recently we went to watch our NeuroRestorative staff participant in the local adult kickball league. They loved cheering for our staff and being a part of the games.”

July 22, 2019

Latasha Volk

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I enjoy working with the individuals we serve and being a part of their lives—bringing them happiness and joy and helping them achieve their goals. Out in the community, I like to take them shopping, to craft fairs, bring them to dances and on picnics. Recently we went to a bike show and got to see a lot of people in the community.”

July 15, 2019

La’Tia Young

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Iowa

“I enjoy spending my time helping the people we serve become more independent. Each day my goal is to teach the individuals I serve daily life skills. Some of our favorite things to do together include playing cards, going on walks and game nights. The individuals I serve greet me every day with smiles on their faces. I’m happy that I bring them happiness every day I work!”

July 8, 2019

Jeanne Hanson

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy working with the people we serve and sharing in the challenges and successes they experience while living on their own in their apartments. It’s fun to take them out into the community and meet all the people they know. I have made many friendships through those outings.”

July 1, 2019

Nicole Hall

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Illinois

“What I enjoy the most about working in a direct support role is being able to have that special rapport with participants, especially when you know something is bothering them and they come to you just to talk. I know right then and there I’m doing my job right!”

June 24, 2019

Alishia Jackson

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I enjoy my job because I like to help people. It makes me happy to know I can make a difference in others’ lives, especially when I know that I am helping them improve. I love to see the participants happy. I like leading groups and doing activities that they enjoy and that put smiles on their faces. My favorite community activity is our trips to the library. We normally go every week and they really enjoy picking out books, movies and games to help them pass the time at home and socialize with others.”

June 17, 2019

Tristan Johnson

Direct Support Professional
REM North Dakota

“I enjoy taking the individuals we serve out to movies, concerts, fishing, and other activities; assisting them to reach their full potential and gain independence; and ensuring they keep in touch with the people who matter to them most.”

June 10, 2019

Marie Sergile Octela

Direct Support Professional
Massachusetts Adult Day Health

“What I love most about working in a direct support role is being able to have conversations with the people we serve and begin to understand how life was for them. We share stories and laugh together.  I also enjoy the community events when I am able to sing to people. When I sing a song the reactions on their faces brings me joy and happiness—it’s my way of giving back to my community and getting to know everybody.”

June 3, 2019

Shayenne Cash

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“My favorite thing about working in a direct support role is seeing the people we serve meet goals they never thought they’d meet and seeing them surpass the goals they set for themselves. I also enjoy going to community events and doing fun activities with all the different houses. I love interacting with the individuals we serve and seeing everyone get together as a big family and enjoy each other’s company.”

May 27, 2019

Linda Sanchez

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I enjoy working closely with the program participants. It is a blessing knowing that I am able to make a positive difference in someone’s life. I love watching as they improve and knowing that I had something to do with their successes.  I especially love doing activities with them. I love taking them to the park, bowling and to bible study. They enjoy being out in the community so much.”

May 20, 2019

Kelly Relos

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“The things I enjoy the most about working in a direct support roll are getting to know everyone’s personalities and interests, and being able to help them fulfill their daily goals. It is very rewarding to be able to see each individual progress over time and learn new things along the way. One of my favorite things to do with the individuals I serve out in the community is to take them to new places, like the historic Knights Ferry recreation area, for example. I like to see them explore the outdoors and do something out of the box every once in a while.”

May 13, 2019

DeAndre Smith

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Illinois

“I like building a rapport with program participants and gaining their trust and friendship. It is very fulfilling to know that I can be that support system to help a participant through both hard and fun times.  One of our favorite outings together was to the DuQuoin State Fair. It was tons of fun for everyone. We got to sing together on a road trip and hop on a bunch carnival rides, all while indulging in lemon shake-ups.”

May 6, 2019

Jessica Buntjer

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I love making a difference in the lives of the individuals we serve. I enjoy spending time with them, having fun, and coming up with new strategies to help make them more successful.  Out in the community, we especially enjoy going to look at Christmas lights together, seeing a movie or play, and shopping.”

April 29, 2019

Karla Wilson

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“Seeing change and growth with the program participants gives me joy and purpose. Watching the struggle and then the success they experience is very humbling. Out in the community, I love walking to the park with them. There is a dog park nearby and it gives us a chance to exercise and socialize and they love to watch the dogs play.”

April 22, 2019

Brandi O’Connor

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Illinois

“The thing I love most about working in a direct support role is knowing that I make a difference to the individuals I serve. It’s a very unique and rewarding feeling to be able to help someone work towards gaining back their independence.”

April 15, 2019

Nimo Jama

Direct Support Professional
Arizona MENTOR

“I enjoy working as a direct support professional because I have a big heart and like helping others, especially those in need.  I love supporting the people we serve and enjoy being with them. We always go out in the community for movies or just to have fun and maybe eat outside.”

April 8, 2019

Amecia Roberts

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I love what I do on a daily basis. I love to make a difference in someone’s life. I love to see progress and witness how participants overcome obstacles related to their injuries.”

April 1, 2019

Robert Westcott

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is providing a safe home for the people we serve; making sure they receive nutritious meals and proper medication; helping them become productive members of the community; and watching them grow in their personal lives.  I recently went on an outing with someone who communicates with his eyes.  We went to a specialty store and seeing his face light up (I call it smiling eyes) made my week.  It was a tough one.”

March 25, 2019

Carrie Pettit

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“It is very rewarding to work in a direct support role and I really enjoy the people I work with. It is nice to make a difference in someone else’s life.  I especially enjoy doing things outside the home.  I was able to bring one of the individuals we serve to a Twins game and we went to several county fairs last summer.”

March 18, 2019

Jeremy Bondurant

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Kentucky

“I enjoy getting to know each person we serve and coming up with different activities for them to participate in.  When I take them out into the community—whether it be shopping or to a local park—and they are able to get what they need and do what they want it makes me feel like I have helped them.  I especially like doing special activities with them that they might not have been able to do otherwise. I really enjoy any activity that they enjoy. It makes me happy to see them happy.”

March 11, 2019

Marie Dorval

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Adult Day Health, Massachusetts

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is seeing all the different faces at the center and putting a smile on them. I like reaching out to people, doing activities with them, and giving back to the community.”

March 4, 2019

Jennifer Mitchell

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative, Ohio

“I enjoy making a difference in a person’s life.  I enjoy seeing a person come into NeuroRestorative and leave with a positive attitude knowing that we cared and rehab worked.  My favorite community outing recently was to Hartville Marketplace.  I liked having the opportunity to help individuals think and make decisions while doing a scavenger hunt through the store.”

February 25, 2019

Susan Ballenger

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is taking care of the people we serve and teaching them daily living skills. I love interacting with them.  Some of our favorite things to do together include going to baseball games and taking rides to look at all the pretty lights during Christmas time.”

February 18, 2019

Dennis Brewster

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative, New Hampshire

“I enjoy working with the program participants to improve their cognitive issues. It is rewarding to see how well they respond from day to day.  We have a participant who used to be in many bowling leagues throughout his life prior to needing our services. Watching him bowl now puts such a smile on his face.”

February 11, 2019

Jakeia Davis

Direct Support Professional
The MENTOR Network Adult Day Health Services, Maryland

“I really enjoy being able to help improve the quality of life for so many wonderful people. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the individuals we serve really warms my heart! For me this is not work, but a way of life.  I especially enjoy the celebrations we have that bring all of our cultures together as one. Being able to learn from all different cultures is a very fulfilling experience I would not trade for anything!”

February 4, 2019

Lovedy Langlois

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Maine

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is providing hands-on care and the ability to focus solely on the clients and their needs.”

January 28, 2019

Josefina Little

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“I enjoy working with the individuals we serve and seeing them smile.  Some of our favorite things to do together include going on walks in the community, shopping and visiting the park and lake.”

January 21, 2019

Terresa Rolland

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I love being a DSP and having an important role in the lives of the people we serve for so many reasons. We build bonds with the people we serve that are unbreakable and build a trust that money can’t buy. It’s an awesome feeling when you’ve been working on a goal with someone and then a few weeks or months later that person is doing it without you.  In those moments, the expressions on their faces always leave me with a feeling that is indescribable and amazing.”

January 14, 2019

Natasha LaCour

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative, Kentucky

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the fact that it makes me happy knowing I made a difference in someone’s life just by doing the little things. Assisting with meals, housekeeping duties, and helping the people we serve run errands makes it so worth it for me. I enjoy seeing the looks on their faces knowing I helped them accomplish their daily goals. Out in the community, I love to go on walks in the park with them or take them out for ice cream.”

January 7, 2019

Sara Bloodworth

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative, Illinois

“I love the way challenges are rewarding. I love how I feel knowing that I make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.  We do many activities out in the community, but most of all I love the talent shows and enjoy cheering the people we serve on.”