September 16, 2019, Chestertown- A little known profession in the world of personal care is that of the Direct Support Professional. These kind and caring individuals work tirelessly to provide assistance and encouragement to persons with developmental disabilities. For the Kent Center, one of Kent County’s largest employers, nearly 120 employees fill this role.
Direct Support Professionals Week was celebrated by the nonprofit starting on September 8th with social media posts, cards, and gifts. Parents, community supporters and Kent Center administration went out of their way to show gratitude to the DSP staff that do intimate work with individuals daily.
“I feel like I am making a difference in the community,” said Maria Rivera, DSP with Kent Center since 2002, “not everyone knows what we do and I’m helping to change that.” When asked why recognizing this segment of the staff is so important, Executive Director Karine Ireland explained, “These professionals are the heart of our program. They make this work possible by coordinating meaningful days, providing meals and transportation, being role models, their jobs are very busy!”
The week culminated with an appreciation breakfast provided by parents of individuals served in the program. Silly awards were given out by Program Coordinators and raffles were held for DSPs to win additional gift cards. The Kent Center also wrapped up breakfast with a brief dance party to send everyone into the day on a positive note.
Kent Center, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides highly personalized 24-hour services to adults with a broad spectrum of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kent Center is the primary provider in Kent and northern Queen Anne’s Counties, of daytime, vocational, respite, supported employment, and/or residential services for more than 80 adults. Services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each person served, focusing on enhancing their lives as well as the lives of their families.
For more information visit Kent Center online at www.kentcenter.org or call to schedule a tour at 410-778-7303.