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Shining a light on direct support professionals

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September 13-19 is the national celebration week for Direct Support Professionals. I consider it a privilege to be up close to the incredible support provided by our mighty team of frontline professionals.

I see examples every day of how people are committed to living out the mission of Heritage Christian Services:

Going above and beyond to ensure peoples voice’s are heard. Not doing for but rather doing with. Persisting to be sure that people are supported with the experiences and relationships that are most meaningful to them.

Direct support can be challenging, yes. Direct support can be unpredictable and require creativity and hard work, yes. But like most every challenging task, the outcome is worth the work. That was my experience and that is what I continue to hear time and time again from frontline professionals.

We are extraordinarily appreciative of every effort that leads to exceptional care for the people we serve and an extraordinary environment for those who choose to work here.

This year, we’ve taken extra steps to communicate with our staff. We’ve worked to keep everyone educated and informed about changes as we’ve encountered them.

During a pandemic, when life at home is as challenging as life at work, what gets a person to start a new job in direct support?

For Jennifer Walker, it was, frankly, the opportunity to get back to work.

In the course of navigating the pandemic earlier this year, Jennifer realized that working remotely just didn’t give her the structure that she craved.

“I decided that I needed a schedule again,” she said, “and that I needed a purpose.”

She started working as a residential counselor in June, and by August, she’d been promoted to assistant manager at the home on Schlegel Road in Webster.

“I’ve been welcomed with open arms,” Jennifer said. “It was nice to come into a place that is stable. Everybody’s been really warm and welcoming.”

Yes, it’s a demanding job, she said, “but the people are very welcoming. There’s a lot of positives.”

She’s now working 4-to-midnight, a shift that she really enjoys.

“And the paid time off — I’ve never had that in my life! And I can earn overtime. All that is important to me.”

People like Jennifer, looking for a career change, are discovering that it’s not so hard to take that first step to a rewarding role at Heritage Christian.

We work hard to make this a great place to work. As we look forward to Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, we’re excited to share the gratitude we feel toward our staff. These incredible professionals do amazing work — and they deserve recognition all year long.

If you’d like to join them, visit DirectSupport.org to find out more.