Governor Charlie Baker designated this week as Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Week! For some years, we’ve joined with our colleagues in using this week to recognize the dedication of frontline professionals and paraprofessionals who support individuals in their work, homes, day settings and throughout the community.
Today, I want to talk about Rich (pictured here) who helps James two days each week to get to his different work locations. James is not a man of many words; so Rich wears a number of hats and I’ll touch on two of them: mentor and community connector. I use the word mentor because there may be times that he will advise James and if job duties change, he needs to shift into being a trainer. A mentor does both those things keeping in mind that it’s James who owns the jobs and needs to accept responsibility for the work.
James’ jobs were there before Rich worked with him. But part of Rich’s role is to spot connections that James may be able to make at his work. Perhaps there is a potential activity that James can participate in on off work hours. Or there is an employee who shows interest in James and a relationship can develop over time that extends beyond work. Most important is making sure that he can helps James share his concerns at the job (and vice versa) if that is required. Maintaining good communication is essential in retaining a job.
Regardless of where you are working as a DSP, The Arc is happy to recognize you – at The Arc affiliates in Massachusetts, our friends who continue to support our work as human service sponsors and others throughout the state. Thank you to Governor Baker for his proclamation which you can see here. And thanks to Senators Markey and Warren for sponsoring the Senate Resolution on the workforce as well!
Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director