Direct Support Professionals Provide Life-Changing Care

(Top row) Newport Home in Carteret County includes: front row, pws Chaundra Kittrell, DSP Sally Simmons, persons supported Lisa Paluck, Sarah Wright; back row, Residential Director Lakisa Midgette, Residential Manager Dorothy Godette, Team Lead Felicia Daniels, persons served Tanya Robinson, Paula Collins. Anderson Road Group Home DSP Tiara Currie shares a smile with person served Tara Lisenby. (Second row) DSP Kaytlyn Davis at Health Drive Day Program uses flash cards to review numbers with person supported Melvin Jerome; DSP Patricia Franks at Health Drive plays Connect Four with person served Fred Culley. Stanly Industrial Services day program DSP Rosetta Bishop gives person served Angel Deese a hug. Stanly Industrial Services day program DSP Alanna Wall and person served Judy Kluttz, left, enjoy activities during a recent field day event with several Monarch day programs.

Monarch is celebrating Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) Week, Monday, September 11 through Friday, September 15. This celebration recognizes their impactful support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and mental illness.

We applaud the efforts of over 700 individuals who work as a DSP who may have the title of Behavioral Health Specialist, Developmental Specialist or Community Specialist. For people supported, their goal is the same: to help the person served be the best they can be within their abilities and to reach their goals.

Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Long-Term Services and Supports, Christy Shaver, MHA, began over 25 years ago as a DSP and recalls that she was humbled by the support her role could provide to someone in reaching their goals.

“There were days we celebrated someone brushing their teeth without assistance and there were times we celebrated someone moving into their own apartment. Each person defines their accomplishments,” she shares.

The impact of DSPs and their contributions in helping people with I/DD and mental illness is invaluable, she continues: “There are happy times as well as challenges that Monarch DSP’s face each day. DSPs are at the heart of what we do, and they are the foundation of the values on which Monarch is built. Because of the compassionate, dedicated and caring staff, the individuals we support have improved quality of life!”

DSP Angela Phillips, who works at the Stanly Industrial Services (SIS) day program in Albemarle, applied for the role after retiring from a job where she worked for 27 years. She finds her role fulfilling and is in awe of how a DSP’s support can help someone succeed.

She is currently working with a person supported who can’t sign her name or read and is taking steps to help that person achieve their goal. “I didn’t realize she couldn’t read, write, or sign her own name. After working with her, she identifies numbers and has come a long way in learning how to read in one year,” Angela says proudly, noting that they continue to work together to continue learning.

DSP Patricia Franks has worked at Health Drive Day Program in New Bern for about eight years starting out in home health care. She says she enjoys and finds fulfillment in her role.

“I want the community to understand that because even though the people we serve have disabilities they are human just like us. They can understand what we are saying to them even though they have a disability. Treat them as if they were your own family when you see us in the community,” she suggests.

DSP Rosetta Bishop, who also works at SIS, currently serves a young woman with cerebral palsy. Rosetta explains that one of her goals is to eat with utensils and using a napkin.

Ways that Rosetta is helping her achieve this goal is with a mirror in front of her that helps her see. “We are seeing the results of her hard work!” she reports.

DSP Shanette Dawson, who has been a sleepover DSP at Hoke Street Home in New Bern for two years, says her job has taught her patience that has helped in raising her own daughter. “They like to have conversations about what is right or wrong. They will say what they don’t understand, and we can break it down for them so that they are able to understand,” she explains of the residents at Hoke Street Home.

Shanette often helps them understand about “real world” or adult concepts that might be confusing. “You are a resident here so you can get used to the real world. We are all different and that’s OK. I try to teach them life skills, so they have a better understanding of the outside world,” she says.

Want to learn more about DSPs? Find out more at the following links:

  • Watch a video about what a rewarding, fulfilling career as a DSP means to a few of Monarch’s staff. Click below or here to watch.
  • DSPs not only support individuals in need but receive great reward and learn valuable knowledge. Watch this video to hear the perspective of a few of Monarch’s DSPs and what they have learned on the job.
  • Interested in applying for a DSP role? Find DSP opportunities near you by visiting here.

Posted on: Thursday September 7, 2023