2020 Direct Support Professional and Home Care Providers of the Year
Each year, Community Crossroads selects a Direct Support Professional and Home Care Provider to receive the DSP and HCP of the Year awards. The recipients of this award exemplify the dedication, patience, and heart that goes into this field of work.
The receiver of the Direct Support Professional of the Year Award Donna Reidy became interested in the field after observing the challenges her sister, who has Down syndrome, faces. Donna noted there is typically a lack of empathy, patience, and understanding when it comes to how people view and interact with those who have a disability. Knowing she wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives, she became a one-on-one paraprofessional at a high school. This is when she met 17-year-old John, who is nonverbal. Donna is still John’s DSP today, 16 years later. John works at CVS and Donna was critical to that success. She noted John is proud to have a job at CVS where he is valued. He especially loves Fridays, when he is paid. John loves holidays, particularly Halloween. At CVS, they are always preparing for the next holiday and John enjoys prepping the merchandise for each.. Donna said she couldn’t be happier about the way John is treated at CVS by management and employees alike. She mentioned that over 13 years ago when they first were looking for a job for John, the two of them went to a variety of local businesses and she assisted John with communication. Due to COVID, John isn’t currently working since his health condition would make it difficult to wear a mask. However, he looks forward to returning to work.
Donna believes that a reason John responds so well to her is because of her soft-spoken nature. John is sensitive to loud noises and raised voices. She added if someone wants to become a DSP or HCP, to find someone whose energy and needs meet your energy and the help you can give. Donna’s advice is “If someone wants to go into this field, it is important to shadow for a couple of weeks.” This will help both the person shadowing to know if the job is right for them and will prevent someone in need from experiencing a sudden change in care that could negatively impact them.
Some activities John enjoys when he isn’t working include playing racquetball, going out to lunch, shopping, and taking walks in the park. She notes that a willingness to learn about what the person you are caring for enjoys and doesn’t enjoy is a big part of the job.
This year’s Home Care Provider of the Year award recipient is Jean Dorin. Jean became a HCP in 1993 when she brought in Pam, a woman who is non-verbal into her home. Throughout the years, Pam has become a part of Jean’s family. Jean has supported Pam through the highs and lows of life. In 2013, she welcomed a second woman named Deb into her family. Together, Jean, her family, and the two women celebrate holidays, birthdays, and go on vacations together.
Throughout the week, Jean gives support to four other women. She brings them to doctor’s appointments, therapy, lunch, art class, and other places that are of interest to these women. Jean has a close connection to all the women she supports as well as their guardians.
Donna Reidy and Jean Dorin both exemplify dedication and support to those with disabilities. Congratulations to both recipients of this award and thank you to all Direct Support Professionals and Home Care Providers.