This week especially, be sure to thank a caregiver
September 11 – 17 is Direct Support Professionals Appreciation Week and though Direct Support Professionals (caregivers) deserve our praise throughout the year, we’re taking this week to especially show our gratitude. As the superintendent for the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities my job is to oversee an organization devoted to supporting people whose success often requires the help of others. I think we all can relate. Each of us has had times when we needed the support of those around us.
But there is beauty in the simplicity of it. Some people need people. And some people devote their lives to being that support. And in that lifetime of devotion, they often gain so much more than they give. For the past couple of years, we’ve had the opportunity to recognize many of our everyday heroes. Our frontline workers who continued to make this nation run despite the cost. Despite the danger. One terribly overlooked group of frontline workers are Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). DSPs support people with developmental disabilities so they can live the lives they want. They help them with everyday tasks like grocery shopping, preparing dinner, or taking medicine. Their role gives independence to people who would otherwise be shut in or shut out.
During the stay-at-home orders, many of us had the luxury of taking laptops home and working from the safety of our kitchen tables and home offices. DSPs did not. They continued to show up every single day. When an individual they cared for got COVID and was quarantined, they too were quarantined right there with them. When vaccines became available to the developmental disability community, DSPs were at the front of the line, ensuring their individuals were safe.
It’s a job that requires heart and let me tell you I’ve seen it. It’s a job that requires flexibility and let me tell you, I’ve seen it!
And it’s a job that gives back. It’s a job that gives joy. It’s an impactful job. They’re forming relationships with the people that they’re helping; and growing together. I’m so grateful to all the devoted DSPs in our community. If you know a caregiver or DSP, please take time to thank them!
Lisa Guliano is superintendent of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides services and supports to over 3,700 Butler County residents so they can successfully live, work, and learn in the community. Supports and services are available life-long through partner agencies or directly provided by the Board. The Board’s primary source of funding is from property tax levies collected annually and the Board was last on the ballot in 2004. Since 2021, the Board has given .5 mills of their 2.0 mills continuing levy back to the community through a temporary rollback.