The MENTOR Network

DSP of the Week 2014

At The MENTOR Network, we believe that our Direct Support Professionals—who help carry out The Network’s mission every day—should be valued, supported and recognized for a job well done. Congratulations to all of our DSPs of the Week from 2014.

Become a DSP
December 29, 2014

Vince Manz

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“It’s a lot of fun working with the guys we support.  I like going on outings with them—especially when it involves activities we can do together.  Bowling and dancing are two of our favorites.”

December 22, 2014

Valerie Bravo

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“I enjoy everything I do out in the community with the individuals we support and try to bring smiles to their faces and make them laugh as much as I can.  I especially love going to museums—we get to learn, have fun, and exercise all at once.  Just last week, I took a client and her child to the zoo and spent the whole day there. We looked at all the animals, had a wonderful picnic, and went home the best kind of tired.”

December 15, 2014

Eric Velazquez

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services, California

“I love the holidays—it’s great to see how happy the individuals we serve are to see the decorations and to dress up and visit with some of their favorite people (like Santa Claus).  The people I serve show a true appreciation for the little things in life and it makes others have a greater appreciation for those things as well.”

 

December 8, 2014

Shannon Bloom

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy life, so I like to see the individuals we support enjoy their daily lives.  It gives me great joy to go to my job and know that I am helping people. We enjoy going on walks around the community together and eating lunch in the parks—it makes them happy and I love to see them smile and laugh!”

December 1, 2014

Sheila Haggard

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is being able to help clients learn new skills and become more independent; going out in the community to meet new people; and doing new things together. I recently took a client to the pool who didn’t think he would like swimming and he had a great time.”

November 25, 2014

Amber Carlson

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy helping the individuals we support learn life skills and bringing smiles to their faces.  I like taking the guys to dances and, when it’s nice outside, we’ll go fishing, biking or rollerblading.  This summer, we all had a great time at the local pool!

November 17, 2014

Sarah Kuhr

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I enjoy helping the individuals I serve with everyday things and seeing how proud they are of their accomplishments.  I especially love seeing their smiles and knowing that every day I make a difference!”

November 10, 2014

Virgil Ruchti

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“It gives me joy to work with the individuals we serve each day as they learn to do new activities on their own and find new ways to express themselves.  Going to the YMCA is one of my favorite things to do with them out in the community. The many physical activities offered there allow the individuals we serve to have fun, while getting great exercise.”

November 3, 2014

Lana Wilson

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“My favorite things to do out in the community with the individuals we support include anything that makes us a team! Recently, I brought one of the individuals I support to a staff member’s wedding and we had a great time. Afterwards, we went to dinner and we laughed so hard from just being silly. It was a very special day.”

October 27, 2014

Catherine Christensen

Direct Support Professional
REM Wisconsin

“I enjoy seeing the individuals we support advance their skills,” says Catherine, a Direct Support Professional. “I use the saying ‘little steps make big success!’ and have seen my clients succeed in many ways.”

October 20, 2014

Jennifer Henry

Direct Support Professional
Massachusetts MENTOR

“I feel as though I’ve been living my entire life in preparation for this position,” says Jennifer, a Direct Support Professional.  “I enjoy introducing new things to the individuals we serve that they otherwise wouldn’t experience, as they are always introducing me to new things.”

October 13, 2014

Jeanie Wilhelm

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is the feeling that I’m doing something important,” says Jeanine, a Direct Support Professional.  “I also very much enjoy spending time with the individuals we serve and being able to support them out in the community. The ladies especially love to go out to eat and attend local functions.”

October 5, 2014

Delany Sowle

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Rhode Island

“I love working with our program participants and seeing them grow, work on goals and feel good about themselves,” says Delany, a Life Skills Trainer. “I always welcome the chance to take participants out in the community to help them rebuild a great memory from their past. Recently, I went with a participant to a local fair. He was excited to experience the games again and did so well that he left with not only a great feeling, but also with a wonderful new memory.”

August 25, 2014

Vanessa Pryce

Direct Support Professional
MENTOR Oregon

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is watching the girls I work with grow and succeed in life, and seeing the excitement on their faces when they overcome obstacles. I enjoy being a part of their accomplishments, and all the steps it takes to get there.”

August 16, 2014

Angela McAtee

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is witnessing the individuals we support reach their goals and listening to their laughter every day as they enjoy themselves!”

August 6, 2014

Gerry Zempel

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“The individuals we serve can teach you more than you ever thought. If you are a loving, caring person who wants to make a difference and know you are helping someone, REM is the place to be.”

July 28, 2014

Freda Murrell

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about working in a direct support role is interacting with the wonderful individuals we serve and watching them grow and take pride in their accomplishments. Seeing their pleasure and excitement during simple outings, such as trips to the grocery store, always makes my day!”

July 21, 2014

Ebony Cobette

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“The individuals I serve all have a goal to achieve wellness, so one of my favorite things to do is participate in physical activities and promote healthy eating. Whether it’s going to the local park to play kickball or creating a variety of balanced meals, the staff and clients show a reciprocal attitude in providing skills and motivation to each other.”

July 14, 2014

Erik Wildoner

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“I like being able to interact with the guys I support and do things they all enjoy, such as watch sports, go to the park, shop, walk in the neighborhood and just spend time together.”

July 7, 2014

Pamela Tenpenny

Direct Support Professional
Indiana MENTOR

“I love my job. I really enjoy the clients’ company and helping them get out in the community to do the things they enjoy.”

June 30, 2014

John Wilkinson

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“I enjoy helping others and being there for them to make their lives better. Some of my favorite things to do out in the community with the individuals I serve include walking the local trails and playing baseball, football and soccer.”

June 23, 2014

Grace Boutros

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“I enjoy teaching new living skills to the individuals I serve and I feel happy and proud of them every time they meet their goals. I also like to visit new places and attend different events with them. We go hiking, exercising, watch parades and much more.”

June 16, 2014

DeAngelo Davis

Direct Support Professional
NeuroRestorative Florida

“I enjoy the mental and physical challenge of working in a direct support role, in which you’re helping clients get through a difficult time in their lives. It’s wonderful to see their progress; especially during community outings when you can really witness their growth and see the confidence they have in themselves to overcome obstacles.”

June 9, 2014

Aileen Stokes

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“Although we are here to ensure the safety and productive lifestyles of our consumers, I find that they tend to teach us small lessons. A perfect example is how to enjoy a quiet day with beautiful weather. We also enjoy our weekly trips to the local library. The librarians look forward to our arrival and I get a chance to read to our consumers, opening their world to many new adventures.”

June 2, 2014

David “DJ” Hiller

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services

“I do so many different activities in the community with the individuals we support, but taking a tour of a local police station recently was eye opening for all of us. Speaking with the officers about their day and they being equally interested in ours was magnificent.”

May 27, 2014

Krista Malitsky

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“I enjoy helping the individuals we serve live life to the fullest. I enjoy the way they appreciate the support. I enjoy working towards their independence. I enjoy doing the extra little things that make a big difference.”

May 19, 2014

Amanda Diederich

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I enjoy spending time with the individuals I support and developing working relationships with them. I also enjoy watching them do the things they love to do, such as go to dances or out for walks around the community, and seeing how happy it makes them.”

May 12, 2014

Christopher Rubrecht

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“What I enjoy about working in a direct support role is being able to assist the individuals I support in their day to day lives and knowing I make a difference in their lives. It’s great to see them out in the community, in social situations where they can meet new people or just be around friends.”

May 5, 2014

Adelina Oliveros

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“What I enjoy most about being a direct support professional is working with the clients I support and all the staff in Regent!”

April 28, 2014

Jordan Collier

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“I have the best job in the world. Every day I come to work there is something different and I get to be surrounded by the most caring, fun and amazing people in the world!”

April 21, 2014

Jen Shonk

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“I enjoy making a difference in the lives of the individuals I support and seeing their smiles. I love taking them to the movies and local parks, and enjoy the simple times at home too—playing cards, doing arts and crafts, and especially the countless conversations. I try to bring joy into their lives in whatever way I can, and sometimes that means that I need to be an advocate for them as well.”

April 14, 2014

Tirzah Haik

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“I love to see people learn and experience new things, so I try to get the individuals I support to try something new with me each day. We especially enjoy our trips to the library. We show each other things in the magazines and try not to laugh too loud. My consumers love music and I love to drive, so we take our time, take the back roads, and sing old songs on the way.”

April 7, 2014

Brenda Malitsky

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“I don’t mind doing that little extra for the individuals I support, because it brings joy into their lives. When I get ready to go home at the end of the day, my individuals say thank you and tell me that they love me—complete with hugs and kisses on my cheek. I like knowing I make a difference in their lives.”

March 30, 2014

Dorothy White

Direct Support Professional
REM West Virginia

“Once of my favorite things to do with the individuals I support is to go to the park and walk around. They love animals and it gives us an opportunity to see all types of wildlife.”

March 24, 2014

Celeste Headley

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services

“One of my favorite things to do in the community with the individuals we support is volunteer. We recently volunteered at Feed the Children, an organization that helps those in need in our local communities and across the country. This was a big deal, because each client was so excited to volunteer their time and use their skills to give back.”

March 17, 2014

Kelly Oellien

Direct Support Professional
REM Minnesota

“What I like about working in a direct support role is hearing stories from individuals I support about how their day went—and from those who are nonverbal, I love to see their smiles! One thing we all enjoy is going to the park for a concert.”

March 11, 2014

Ashley Ramsey

Direct Support Professional
Arizona MENTOR

“I love my job because it brings me so much joy! Last year, I had the privilege of going on vacation with the residents of the house where I work. It was so exciting for them. We went camping up in Payson, visited two lakes, had picnics, hiked and played games. We are all still talking about it!”

March 3, 2014

Noemi Gonzalez

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“I enjoy everything about working with our consumers! I love how they respond to the love and respect we show them and how they cherish new experiences. Recently we went out to the Heritage Museum and one consumer just loved the outdoor garden. The whole experience was beautiful and such a joy.”

February 24, 2014

Lynette Bulger

Direct Support Professional
Pennsylvania MENTOR

“One of my favorite community outings was a trip to the mall this past Christmas with a 72-year-old gentleman I support. He saw Santa and immediately asked if he could visit him. As soon as Santa saw the gentleman coming, he moved over so they could sit next to one another. By the time I turned to Santa to ask if the gentleman could shake his hand, it was too late—Santa was already holding his hand so gently and looked up at me and said, ‘You know he is on the nice list.’ I replied, ‘I sure do.’ After he spoke with Santa and took a picture, the gentleman had the biggest smile on his face and tears of joy (and so did I!). This is one of the reasons I love my job!”

February 17, 2014

Sebrena Dossen

Direct Support Professional
New Jersey MENTOR

“The most rewarding experience as a DSP is when my clients share with me their appreciation of my work and support that I offer them. Those words keep me motivated. I wake up each and every day expecting to accomplish something amazing with the individuals that I serve.”

February 10, 2014

LeeAnn Buchanan

Direct Support Professional
Cole Vocational Services

“I love working in a direct support role, because not one day is the same and seeing consumers grow is an amazing reward. I especially love volunteering with my group. Everyone working together to make a wonderful team is great, and to see their smiles after they realize what they have accomplished is a great feeling.”

February 1, 2014

Ashley Frohnapfol

Direct Support Professional
REM West Virginia

“I enjoy giving hope and confidence to my clients by celebrating their efforts and achievements so they feel empowered. I also like to help them participate as independently as possible in activities of their choice.”

January 27, 2014

Holly Miller

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy the fact that I get to come to work every day to put a smile on someone’s face. One of my favorite things to do with the individuals we support is to go to the river and feed the ducks. I get to see the happiness in their faces and take that time to learn more about them.”

January 20, 2014

Ferdinand Ramirez

Direct Support Professional
California MENTOR

“Visiting the parks and the local sports center are some of my favorite things to do with the individuals we support. Every time we go out in the community you can feel the enjoyment and fun that everyone is having from interacting with others and the sense of love and security they feel from the relationships we have with them.”

January 13, 2014

Denise Worrall

Direct Support Professional
First Step Independent Living

“Twice a week, we take clients to volunteer at a local Salvation Army and one client loves greeting customers and peers. He always says things to make people smile and loves giving hugs!. I enjoy being able to make a difference in the lives of others, seeing clients achieve their goals, and I love being able to see each person I support show their happiness.”

January 6, 2014

Amelia Roate

Direct Support Professional
REM Iowa

“I enjoy building quality relationships with the individuals we serve and taking them out in the community, but what I enjoy the most about working in a direct support role is when the individuals I support learn a new skill and use it every day to better their lives.”