We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.
Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) support individuals with disabilities to lead full, active lives in the community. This week during National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week, Keystone Human Services recognizes and honors all of our DSPs. During the recent flooding in Pennsylvania, DSPs went above and beyond to continue to support the people they serve and make sure everyone was safe. Keystone is proud to have such dedicated employees.
Keystone Human Services urges people everywhere to join with us in thanking Direct Support Professionals (DSP). These dedicated men and woman provide high quality, caring service and supports to the individuals in our care, including individuals, children and adults, with disabilities; intellectual disabilities, autism, those experiencing mental illness or the challenges of aging. DSPs also provide life comforting services in other areas of our communities such as; nursing homes, child care centers and many more.
Note that Governor Thomas Corbett signed a proclamation making this DSP Week throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Let us all join with him in celebrating their accomplishments and generosity of spirit, particularly after the challenges of the flooding in many of the communities throughout the state, when the Direct Support Professionals stayed close by and attentive to the needs of those in their care, whether it is comforting them in light of the news stories they were hearing, packing their bags and planning for evacuation or now helping them to return home. Many had to work long hours to cover for those who were unable to get to work on time or at all. DSPs put the needs of the people they serve first, treating them like family.
One Keystone employee, Josh Dauberman, shared thoughts about his position as a Direct Support Professional. He began by asking how many jobs in corporate America would actually condone a quick trip to the beach?
‘The work I do is literally life-altering,” comments Dauberman who provides daily assistance for three men with intellectual disabilities.
“The guys I support are like family to me. We eat meals together, we play pool together, and yes, we even dream of going to the beach together.”
At Keystone, DSPs learn that individuals with disabilities want what most people want – an “everyday life.” With the proper training, skilled DSPs like Josh are prepared to make that happen. Based upon each individual’s abilities and dreams, they help to establish goals, develop skills.
On a daily basis, these dreams might include leading a productive life in a well-appointed home like the one Josh serves in Northumberland County. With a team of Keystone DSPs providing ‘round-the-clock personalized support, Joe K., John Y. and Lonnie K. enjoy life as a typical family.
Joe volunteers at an animal shelter, but above all, has always secretly yearned to see the ocean.
Comments Josh, “Glimpsing the shoreline might not seem like that big a deal for many Pennsylvanians, but for Joe it’s all he’s ever wanted.”
Unfortunately, for generations, countless men, women and children with intellectual disabilities weren’t allowed to “want” anything.
Deprived of any notion of choice until the latter part of the 20th century, millions of Americans were resigned to life in institution, separated from family, ostracized by society, and deprived of any basic right to dream. And that included beaches.
Comments Jennifer Alison, Keystone’s Senior VP of Human Resources, “Joe was fortunate to have been spent his early years with a supportive family. Lonnie, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Historically, opportunities and choice were not familiar concepts for people with disabilities. Yet, the simplest experiences we take for granted are the very things that excite the individuals we serve.”
According to Allison, “Something as mundane as opening a can of tuna and making your own sandwich can be a huge celebration for an individual with significant challenges.”
So you can only imagine Joe’s response upon learning he was finally going to set eyes on the ocean.
“I told him that with Keystone’s help, we could make it happen,” continues Josh. “And we did. Without exaggerating, supporting Joe’s trip to the beach was the most profound thing I’ve ever done. To witness the expression on his face as he danced in the waves with the ocean spray in his face is something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”
Evidently, so will Joe. He keeps an album of photos by his bedside, a vivid and well-worn reminder of having lived a long-held dream. He’s also incidentally become a huge fan of crab cakes.
Josh sums it up, “At Keystone, all dreams are honored … including mine. I’ve had other jobs. I’ve explored other opportunities. But being a DSP is my passion. It’s my life. I see myself staying at Keystone forever.”
Wouldn’t you like to join Josh and the Direct Support Team at Keystone, known widely for “advancing the human spirit”? We welcome employment and service inquiries at www.keystonehumanservices.org.
In operation since 1972, Keystone currently provides dignified support services in over 30 counties in Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the state of Connecticut, and in parts of Delaware and Maryland. In addition, Keystone Human Services International serves vulnerable children and families in Moldova, Russia and consults in Romania, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.