DSP Week

We’re Celebrating Direct Support Professional Recognition Week!

DSP Week is a great chance to highlight the 800 dedicated, innovative direct support team members that are the heart and soul of what we do at The Center for Family Support!

Our DPs are truly special people. They are passionate about helping others, dedicated to protecting the rights of those they support, and most of all, offer true, genuine friendship, through good and bad times, sharing laughter and tears. Many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are held back by not having a solid support system and our DSPs change that and enable them to live fuller more meaningful lives.

For our DSPs, be sure to sign up for the great events going on from 9/9-9/19!

Recognizing Our DSPs

Every day, our DSPs provide support to the 1,500 individuals we work with across New York and New Jersey. Each of them brings unique skills and approaches to their work, and help our participants reach their goals and dreams. Here are just a few who received a special shout out from families and CFS staff to be recognized during Direct Support Professional Recognition Week:

Maria Balestrieri

“Maria is friendly and knowledgeable and is prompt with her replies to my email. She is always smiling when she shows up!”

Onica Chan

“Onica has been working with the same individual for 5 years. She began working with them when they moved into their first apartment. She understands the importance of supporting dignity and freedom to privacy, but also the need for oversight with particular situations as they may arise. Onica always encourages self-advocacy skills and tries to help the individual she works with to develop positive relationships and interactions to reside safely and comfortably in their community.”

Diana Collins

“Diana is the heart and soul of CFS, pouring all of herself into her work and her team. She cannot help but to always give 100% in all she does and never takes a break!”

Rosemary Decarlo

“Rosemary is a ray of sunshine; she is always laughing, making those around her feel comfortable, and always looking on the bright side of life’s challenges. She brings an optimism into our virtual support groups and her 1:1 DSP work as well as her mentor work. She is often placed to work with people who need someone to talk to, and she is a great advocate.”

Elmwood Park Home DSPs

“The care and support given to my sister is unmatched. As her guardian, it is wonderful to know that when I bring her home, she is happy and safe. All staff go above and beyond, and I am forever thankful. Lisa and Mabel are just two of the many amazing support workers helping Danielle at CFS. Beautiful women with hearts of gold.”

Monica Feata

“Monica is kind and helpful and responds quickly. I had a question about how to submit a form, and she immediately got back to me and walked me through it.”

Melissa Hanna

“Melissa has such a giant heart! She takes the time to organize friend meet ups and movie nights together, and joins BINGO all the time! CFS has supported Mandy for many years and even though Melissa does not work directly with Mandy, she has come to know her and her family via virtual supports and self-advocacy groups. When Mandy’s mom passed away, Melissa made a point to get together with Mandy to encourage the friendship with her and Theresa. Melissa even organized the purchase of bracelets in honor of Mandy’s mom. She is truly a gem!”

Katelyn Marcello

“Katie is amazing at communicating with Madison. She is patient and really understands her needs. One time, Madison was having an anxiety attack while on the city bus and she called Katie to meet her. Katie did and helped her gain control of her emotions. She made her laugh and get past the anxiety quick.”

Sixta Martinez

“Sixta is passionate and committed to find potential from her participants. She’s always joyful and happy while working with them, and provides important emotional support. Sixta is always encouraging her participant to speak up for herself to build up her advocacy skills.”

Iona McKoy

“Iona goes above and beyond- she has a kind and laid back personality that makes those around her feel safe and calm. Iona tries to make tasks attainable by breaking them down, step by step. recently, she helped the individual she supports coordinate an appointment with his doctor by mailing lots of documents and making phone calls with him.”

Anna Ramos

“Anna is very patient and works hard to provide person centered service. She supports an individual every week, and works to support her through meltdowns and frustrations and helps her get right back on task.”

Marisol Rivas

“Marisol cooperates with the family of her participants and is always there when they need her. Sometimes, on her free time, she goes to the pharmacy to get the medication her participant needs. She likes to do that little extra to help out when she can.”

Stacey Russo

“Stacey is very patient with the individuals, and really cares about them. Stacey works with someone that never keeps to a steady schedule and she is always willing to change her schedule up for them.”

Christy Smith

“Christy has been providing supports and services to our individuals here on Staten Island for just about 13 years which is incredible! She always shows up for the family that she works for, continued to show up during the pandemic while battling her own families health issues and she never let her personal life affect her performance while working with the individual. Christy is always chipper which in turn makes the person that she supports feel happy in their own way as well. Christy goes above and beyond her job duties as a DSP!”

Jennipher Solis

“Jennipher is a unicorn! She embodies our agency’s mission. She is also always available to her supervisees and is supportive and helpful. She seems to never sleep and is always available! She takes the time to train, answer questions, check in and has even sent thoughtful gifts! She is such a special and kind person.”

Verna Withers

“Verna is a light! She is always game for adventures and comes every day with a smile and brings a special happiness to the whole household! Verna helps William and keeps him happy, laughing, and active. Knowing how Will loves tennis and his dog, she found a space where he can practice his tennis and his dog can chase the tennis balls!”

Sign Up for Events:

During Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, we have a mix of in-person and virtual events that our DSPs can participate in. Some will be fun, some will be inspirational, and some will be educational. Be sure to sign-up!

In Person Events: Join us while we celebrate YOU with great food and company.

RSVP required for all in person events: Sign-up today here.

Saturday, 9/10 Lunch
Noon – 2 pm
Manhattan Office

Wednesday, 9/14 BBQ
Noon – 2pm
Bryant Ave IRA

Thursday, 9/15 BBQ
Noon – 2pm
Hale IRA

Friday, 9/16 BBQ
Noon – 2pm
Underhill IRA

Friday, 9/16 Breakfast
10am – Noon
Staten Island Office

Saturday, 9/17 BBQ
Noon – 2pm
Richmond Hill IRA

Saturday, 9/17 Lunch
Noon – 2pm
Bronx Office

New Jersey DSPs: Check with your supervisor for events going on at our residences.

Virtual Events: We’re proud to host four inspirational and educational Zoom events throughout the week from a diverse set of presenters.

Friday, 9/9
10:30am-12:30pm
“Radical Self Care” with Velocity Visions
The workshop will address the impact of stress and trauma on mental health, self-care and resiliency. The purpose is for staff to reduce occurrences of burnout, decrease mental health impact caused by the current climate, or stress induced disruptive emotional and physical health concerns.
Sign-up for the Zoom

Monday, 9/12
10:30am-12pm
“With My Words, I Create,” with Dennis Morolda
In this engaging workshop, we will explore how the language we use when we speak to ourselves directly impacts our mental health, our mindset, our relationships and our outlook on life. We will discuss language patterns to be aware of, language patterns to avoid and language patterns to utilize to become the hero of our story rather than a bystander. This 60 minute workshop will be fun, informational and practical, as you will walk away with several strategies that you can implement immediately.
Sign-up for the Zoom

Tuesday, 9/13
12pm-1pm
“Achieve Personal and Professional Goals”, with Shirell Gross
Shirell, a CFS Foundation Board Member, lawyer, certified life coach, and mother will provide some tips to achieve your personal and professional goals.
Sign-up for the Zoom

Wednesday, 9/14
11am-12:30pm
“Goal Setting and Language,” with Dennis Morolda
An engaging Intention Setting Workshop. Learn how to support others and yourselves to be successful.
Sign-up for the Zoom

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