Direct Service Support Professionals Celebrated at Emmaus Homes During National Recognition Week

Deana Robinson celebrates with her colleagues.

UCC-related Emmaus Homes — a CHHSM member helping people with developmental disabilities in St. Charles, Mo. — recently celebrated National Direct Service Support Professionals (DSP) Recognition Week by honoring five of its outstanding service employees, culminating in its naming Deanna Robinson Emmaus’ Direct Service Professional of the Year.

Robinson was honored for work exemplifying all four of Emmaus’ core values: initiative, customer centered, integrity, and collaboration. As one colleague wrote, “It’s hard to pick just one core value when describing Deanna, as she clearly demonstrates all four of them.” Another colleague wrote, “Deanna … doesn’t miss a beat. If something needs to be done, she takes care of it. When we had two of our three day staff out sick, she sheltered in place without any notice. She worked 14 hours a day by herself for over a week. She took all four guys to all their appointments by herself, she did the day-to-day chores by herself, the cooking, the cleaning — all of it without complaining. She just stepped up and did what needed to be done.”

Michael Guess and client check out the therapy horses.

“Emmaus is proud to join with similar organizations across the country in celebration of direct support professionals appreciation week,” Clark said. “At Emmaus, direct support professionals are the heartbeat of our mission. Their work impacts the people we support in a variety of ways. In their daily work, direct support professionals could be creating a special birthday meal, teaching someone to use an iPad, holding someone’s hand as they go through a medical appointment — and so much more. Both Emmaus and the family members of our clients are grateful for the care that direct support professionals demonstrate to each person we support.”

Alison Harmon and client.

Emmaus also honored DSPs who best reflect each of the four core values:

  • Michael Guess — Customer Center Core Value Award
  • Alison Harmon — Integrity Core Value Award
  • Kenny Moore — Initiative Core Value Award
  • Ben Perkins — Collaboration Core Value Award

Guess “goes above and beyond all the time,” wrote one colleague. “[He] seems to be always thinking about ways to help the gentlemen he works with,” wrote others. “The folks he supports look forward to him coming in each day, and the assistance he provides. Mike works a variety of all three shifts to ensure that needs are met. His relationship with his folks is evident in their smiles when he arrives and … they ask for him when he is not there. “[He] is a blessing to the home and … in Mike’s eyes, his folks are a blessing to him.”

Kenny Moore and client.

Harmon, who is in nursing school full-time, “still makes time to answer questions, pick up shifts when she can, and recently has even been completing other duties in the home. Ali is always willing to help any way she can,” her colleagues wrote. “Her positive attitude and smile radiates throughout the house and the clients she supports all love her. … She is a full-time nursing student who is either in class or working in a health care setting every day. If we need her to fill a shift, she finds a way to be there for her team and those she supports.”

Moore, who often works overnight shifts, “constantly demonstrates the core value of initiative,” wrote one colleague. “From the time Kenny walks in the door to start his shift, his smile is on point. He greets the two clients and they take their turns telling him what went on in their day. Kenny listens and asks questions and gives them the positive feedback they are wanting. … This nightly ‘ritual’ is so important to these two young men, and it fosters their respect for Kenny. Kenny can talk to these men and discuss the things they need to work on … [and] the clients let Kenny know they will work on these goals.”

Ben Perkins and clients.

Perkins is always “amazing with all of our clients and our team members,” wrote a colleague. “Ben always offers great suggestions and support in the affairs of the home in general. He is a great team player who is always there to help improve the lives of those we support.”

Clark is quick to point out that this year’s five honorees are just some of the many talented team members serving Emmaus’ clients day in and day out. She sees the need for society as a whole to place higher value on the work of direct service professionals.

“Direct support work is undervalued in our society, and rates for the services we provide are inadequate for a quality level of service,” Clark said. “Emmaus is working to change that by bringing attention to the incredible work of all direct support professionals, especially the dedicated team at Emmaus.”

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