Great Stories About Our DSP Staff

DSPs Putting People First

Elizabeth (Lisa) Newkirk, Program Specialist at Pecora Day Hab Center in Kingston, has helped an individual in our program put in for a recreation grant to purchase a camera, as he stated he would love to participate in photography. Lisa took the time to research the prices of cameras and quality, at times even while not at work, she then submitted all the paperwork with the individual. She has since taught the individual how to use the camera we bought with this grant, and he brings it on all the trips they go to and also enjoys his role as the classrooms photographer. Thank you Lisa and to all DSPs who take the time to get to know people, and find create ways to support them to pursue their special interests and dreams.


DSPs Supporting Relationships

Arline Carriero, Residential Specialist at Glasco House, has assisted an individual who loves animals to sponsor a pig, (named Mary Frances) at The Animal Sanctuary.  While she has been sponsoring Mary Frances for about 2 years, she has only recently, thanks to Arlene and her team, been able to visit her.   The entire Glasco team have all worked together to make this happen, but Arline is the one that has taken her time to escort this individual to see her pig regularly.  During their first visit, neither Mary Frances or the individual knew each other, however, during their second visit, they started to bond, and now when they visit, Mary Frances comes over to greet her sponsor, and get fed a little treat.  Thank you, Arlene, for bringing these two new found friends together! Thank you Arline and to all DSPs who take their time to help individuals make new friends… furry and otherwise!



DSPs Demonstrating Professionalism

On March 13th winter storm Stella hit the Catskills. A state of emergency was put in place and Bart Starr, a Residential Specialist at 9W apartments in Catskill ended up staying at work for a 31 hour shift before the roads were cleared enough for anyone to come in and relieve him. Bart spent a lot of that time shoveling to keep the walkways safe and accessible. He made sure the individuals we support had everything they needed and kept everyone content. The most admirable aspect was his positive attitude. He never uttered a word of complaint and even greeted his relief with a smile, albeit an exhausted one. Thank you Bart and to all the DSPs who show up with a smile to work extra shifts, teach, listen, counsel, help with hygiene, clean, cook, drive, document it all and make daily sacrifices to ensure that people are supported and safe.



DSPs Supporting Health

During an incident this past July, Helene Wolfenstein, Marsha Dixon, DeVonte Evans, Robert Mills and Apollo Hayden, Program Specialists at Catskill Day Hab took the prompt and appropriate actions needed to help an individual we support during a choking incident. Their actions prevented the situation from escalating and they were able to advocate for the person to get much needed medical attention at the hospital. The incident took place during lunch and their quick response and teamwork are a positive example of the dedication and caring of the direct support staff employed by the agency. Thank you Catskill team, and all DSPS who keep their safety training current and use their skills to save lives!



DSPs Supporting Safety:

Janine O’Neil, Program Specialist in Day Hab Without Walls in Kingston works hard teaching safety skills every day with the individuals she works with. She ensures they know to keep a lookout for vehicles whenever they are crossing through parking lots, as they participate in their community events and volunteer work. Thank you Janine, and to all DSPs who are building safety skills in the people they support!



DSPs Supporting Having a Home

At Gardiner House, the Direct Support team has embraced a new calendar for an individual struggling with dementia. This recommendation was made by psychology to help reinforce his home routines and encourage positive behaviors. The entire DSP team has done an excellent job assisting the individual with referring to his new calendar, whether it be in the morning to orient him to the correct day and activity, or later in the evening to discuss what will be happening the following day!  Kudos especially to  Valerie Mele and Heidi Sweeney who have taken a leading role in assisting this individual with setting up his new calendar and helping him use it in the evenings!  Thank you Valerie and Heidi, and to all DSPs who find creative ways for individuals to become more independent and comfortable in their homes.



DSPs Supporting Community Participation:

Julia Leal, a Com Hab Specialist who does on call work at Reed House in Kingston volunteered to take an individual to church on Sunday. Julia is able to speak Spanish with this individual and has a lot in common with her. She decided to bring this individual to her own church, where many of the parishioners also speak Spanish. This individual was thrilled to meet and bond with people who speak her language and share her religious and cultural background. This individual was thrilled to be able to go up and receive communion on her own. Thank you Julia and to all DSPs who share their social network and community experience to enrich the lives of people we support.