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As The Arc of Massachusetts develops our Direct Support Professionals (DSP) honor roll for the winter issue of the Advocate, I want to share two DSP stories that reflect the impact of many DSPs at agencies across our Commonwealth: Chelsea of The Arc of the South Shore and Casey of The Northeast Arc.

Despite COVID, Chelsea established a new self-advocacy group. She co-facilitated a Q & A with Senator Patrick O’Connor and coordinated attendance for the self-advocates at an annual legislative reception. Chelsea also focused on inclusion and community safety, by involving participants with “Coffee with a Cop” (yes, really!), and helping persons improve fire safety skills by collaborating with local fire departments through the S.A.F.E program.

Casey Marques helped out in the Residential division during the pandemic when infections were on the rise and quarantines were needed. As day programs opened, Casey took on the task of conducting home visits for people who could not return. He offered creative activities which fit individual needs, such as travel training trips into Boston and one-hour bike rides. When one participant returned home from the hospital, Casey kept his mind on employment and getting better. In another situation, Casey made a home visit to discover that a participant didn’t have the proper food in the house, and wasn’t taking his meds regularly. Working with the DDS office, and after more exploration, visiting nurse appointments were scheduled and training to help the participant stay on his strict diet.

Casey and Chelsea have demonstrated DSP commitment, drive, and professionalism. Their work is essential. Thanks to all of you who are with our community!

Feel free to nominate your DSP by writing to staff@arcmass.org. The honor roll will be in the winter issue

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