September 10-16, 2017 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.
UCP Central PA kicked off Direct Support Professional Recognition Week at the staff picnic on Saturday, September 9, 2017 and continued the celebration the next week with a themed Spirit Week, with daily prize winners.
In addition, a success story of one of our extrarordinary DSPs was shared each weekday. Read the stories below and be inspired!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.