DSP of the Year 2013
MIAMI, FL. — A Direct Support Professional (DSP) from Pennsylvania MENTOR was recently named DSP of the Year in Pennsylvania by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR). Christine Smith was presented with the prestigious award May 6 at the 2014 ANCOR Conference in Miami.
“DSPs are on the front lines, supporting people with disabilities and ensuring those individuals are granted full inclusion in their communities,” said Renee Pietrangelo, CEO of ANCOR. “It is absolutely essential that individuals like Christine are given the recognition and respect they deserve.”
ANCOR’s Direct Support Professional Recognition Award is given to those who personify the values of ANCOR’s National Advocacy Campaign, which works to ensure a well-trained and sustainable direct support workforce. Nominees are judged on the work they’ve done to build social networks, actively participate in their communities, and advocate for the people they serve.
“All of us at The MENTOR Network are proud of Christine for her dedication to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and her commitment to The Network’s mission,” said Bruce Nardella, president and CEO of The MENTOR Network. “We believe that all of our employees in direct care should be valued, supported and recognized for a job well done. Without a dedicated direct-support workforce, organizations such as ours would be unable to provide community-based services to thousands of individuals with disabilities.”
Christine began working as a DSP for Pennsylvania MENTOR at a community living residence in 2009. Each day since, she has expressed the upmost compassion for the individuals she serves and goes above and beyond the daily roles and responsibilities of her position. Recently, Christine stepped up without hesitation when the home manager was asked to assist the organization in another capacity. Never issuing a complaint or a question, she took on additional responsibilities and made for a seamless transition that benefited both the staff and the individuals supported by the program.
“We have good times together,” said an adult who lives in the community-based residence where Christine works. “I love her like a friend. We do a lot together. She takes me to visit my sister. We go to Wendy’s and Hillside Farms. She’s nice and beautiful and kind.”
Christine is a compassionate caregiver, advocate and friend for all the individuals for whom she provides services and encourages them to be active participants in the community. In addition to her responsibilities within the community living residence, she ensures that all residents have access to the support they need within the community; this includes driving one of the adults to his weekly chemotherapy treatments.