Honoring Direct Support Professionals

DSP Week Sep 10-16

September 10-16, 2018 is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. Pennsylvania's Office of Developmental Programs and the Office of the Governor recently honored all Direct Support Professionals with a letter from Deputy Secretary Nancy Thaler and proclamation from Governor Tom Wolf.

In addition, a success story of one of our extrarordinary DSPs was shared each weekday. Read the stories below and be inspired!

 

Derick Ruhl & Rachel Boyer

Derick Ruhl & Rachel Boyer

Every day, across the midstate, teams of UCP support professionals work together toward the same goal: to provide every opportunity for life without limits for the individuals and families they serve. One such example was shared by Deana Ruhl, who nominated Rachel Boyer and Derick Ruhl for the extraordinary work they are doing with her daughter Alana. We hope you’ll agree that Rachel and Derick deserve to share the honor of DSPs of the Day.

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Kathy Keefer

Kathy Keefer

At heart, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) put the interests, concerns, and the very welfare of the individuals in their care, ahead of their own. We find a perfect example of this in today’s DSP of the Day Kathy Keefer. Residential Services House Manager Keira Smith, who nominated Kathy, said this about her:

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Josh Huffman

Josh Huffman

Today’s honoree, Josh Huffman, shared a heartfelt, thoughtfully crafted description of the time he spends with Tommy “Tominator” Levosky. Rather than give a recap of his submission, we simply repeat it here in its entirety:

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John Schenewerk

John Schenewerk

Today’s honoree, John Schenewerk, is a van driver for UCP’s Alternatives adult day program in Sunbury. Over time, what he has become is a friend to the folks he transports. In word and in deed, John shows that we all have the power to positively influence the lives of others. We just need to be on the lookout for such opportunities, and make the most of them when they arise. Read on to learn how John is making a difference, every day:

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Nancy Arcieri & Diana  Kelly

Nancy Arcieri & Diana Kelly

When it came time to review submissions for DSP Recognition Week 2018, the first two entries received (within just minutes of each other) were from two program aides at Pathways Camp Hill: Diana Kelly and Nancy Arcieri. Both of them couldn’t wait to brag on the people in their program. After seeing these two ladies in action, it’s only fitting that they share the honor of DSP of the Day!

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Barbara Kissinger

Barbara Kissinger

We’re thrilled to launch DSP Recognition Week here at UCP by recognizing a support professional who--by virtue of her attitude and actions--is considered part of the Kaneriya family of Danville. Barbara Kissinger was nominated by Mahesh Kaneriya, father of Nina, who Barbara supports in the home and in the community through UCP’s Agency with Choice program.

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2017 PAR

2017 PAR "We are Worth It" Award Winners

Each year, the PAR "We Are Worth It" Awards honor extraordinary Pennsylvanians who have made remarkable contributions to their communities. Winners are nominated by PAR Provider Members, who have chosen them from amongst tens of thousands of self-advocate employees, direct support professionals, frontline managers, and community employers across the commonwealth. UCP’s Faye Fahnestock was the 2017 PAR “We Are Worth It” award winner in the Frontline Manager category for the Central Region. Attached photo features all of the 2017 PAR “We Are Worth It” winners.

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Faye Fahnestock

Faye Fahnestock

House Manager Faye Fahnestock demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills when she stepped into not one, but two, difficult situations at the UCP community home where she worked. One was the sudden and unexpected death of the doting mother of Carol, a resident with intellectual disabilities. Second was the concurrent transition in management of the home. Without the slightest hesitation, Faye demonstrated the UCP core principle of "Inspiring Leadership" at its finest. Carol had a history of behaviors that were primarily triggered by change. Faye intuitively understood that these two life-changing events could quickly result in significant setbacks for Carol, both emotionally and behaviorally. At the time, Faye was a part-time PRN in the home. Still she responded to the need, stepped up to the plate, and offered to take on the role of House Manager in order to stabilize the situation.

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Pete DiBenedetto

Pete DiBenedetto

Pete DiBenedetto has been a caregiver with UCP’s Capital Home Care program in Selinsgrove for over five years. In an email, Pete shared that he takes great joy and honor in his everyday care of the consumer, no matter the age or disability. “As caregivers, we need to place ourselves in their shoes and care for them with the same care and compassion as we would like to receive,” Pete wrote.

That certainly seems to be the case in his experiences with an adored consumer named Marie. This is Pete, in his own words:

“I have been placed with Marie, a 91-year-young lady who is a sweetheart to be with. I place myself in her surroundings and picture her as if she were my own grandma and even, at times, my mother. She is a Godly woman and I have had the privilege of taking her to church on several occasions. Her faith is strong and it has caused my own faith to become stronger. She is witty and smart and you can see her excitement for life in the way her eyes sparkle.

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Diane Hoy

Diane Hoy

As House Manager of a UCP community home for 11 years, Diane Hoy cared for four gentlemen with distinct personalities as well as different conditions and diagnoses. She recently moved to another UCP home where she has found that caring for three women is a whole new ball of wax.

When explaining the difference in managing the two homes, Diane said, “Before, I was dealing with guys who couldn’t care less what they wore, usually wanted to be Alpha males, and displayed certain behaviors. Now I have ladies who love getting their hair done and are fashion bugs, with totally different behaviors. I always felt comfortable with the guys since I raised my own two boys. I never had girls, so I am definitely learning a lot. But we’re coming together.”

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Peg Pringle

Peg Pringle

Peg Pringle wears two hats for UCP… one as Clerical Assistant in the Lewistown office of Capital Home Care; the other as a home care aide. The poem below was written by Capital Home Care consumer Lois Osenga, who apparently finds Peg’s home care hat to be a halo.

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Carol Keefer

Carol Keefer

The person she has focused on with laser-like intensity for going on nearly two years is UCP consumer John B. In order to better meet John's needs, particularly as it relates to some difficult behaviors, Carol took the initiative to sign up for online training through the College of Direct Support. So far, she has taken classes on Communication, Functional Assessments, Participant Direct Supports, and Positive Behavior Supports. From the outset, Carol viewed John's behaviors not as challenges, but rather as opportunities to enhance his life.

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