This week is Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in the United States, and we at the CPA are celebrating the dedicated DSPs working in communities across Louisiana!
Day in and day out, DSPs have a direct impact on the quality of life and social wellbeing of individuals with disabilities.
Keep reading to learn more about exactly what Direct Support Professionals do and hear a firsthand account about how Marvette Harris of New Orleans has been changing lives as a DSP.
Direct Support Professionals
What do Direct Support Professionals Do?
A Direct Support Professional (DSP) is someone who is responsible for helping individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities live independent lives.
DSPs usually work for community or volunteer organizations to help facilitate the care and activities of daily living for individuals with disabilities. Our CPA members employ thousands of DSPs in programs across Louisiana.
The best DSPs have a genuine passion or calling to take care of others.
DSP Impact in Action: Eugene & marvette
The story of Eugene and Marvette illustrates the profound impact a DSP can have on the life of an individual with a disability. Eugene is a consumer with CPA member Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, and Marvette has been his DSP for more than a decade.
Eugene was born with an intellectual disability and also suffered from polio as a child, making it difficult for him to care for himself independently. He first needed the assistance of DSP services more than 30 years ago after his mother could no longer provide him with adequate care.
Supported Living Services Program
Thanks to the Supported Living Services (SLS) Program of Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, Eugene is able to live a full, independent life in his own home with DSP assistance.
Eugene has found purpose and enrichment through local recreational activities, events, and programs. He also was able to find a grocery store to shop, along with a barber shop for haircuts, all within walking distance of his home.
Eugene is able to coordinate visits with his family several times per year and also has a roommate, Mark, that he considers family. Another important member of Eugene's family is his longtime DSP, Marvette Harris.
A Shining Star of Direct Support Professionals
Marvette has been Eugene's DSP for more than 12 years, and staff at Volunteers of America say that she is the most important person in his life.
Marvette helps Eugene with nearly every aspect of daily living. She assists him with his shopping, banking, and his more frequent medical appointments now that he is getting older. She also helps him to navigate stress and relationships.
Marvette's job is physically and emotionally demanding, but she loves what she does. When asked about her work she says, "Taking care of people - I love it to death. Everybody's not equipped to do this, but I guess that's just one of my blessings."
Because of her outstanding work as a DSP, Marvette was recognized by ANCOR as National Direct Support Professional of the Year in 2019.
Thousands of DSPs in Louisiana like Marvette make it possible for individuals like Eugene to live full and purposeful lives, and we are proud to salute them during DSP Recognition Week.
Thank you to all of the Direct Support Professionals who make a difference in our communities every day!