Sept. 9 through 15, Liberty ARC to honor DSP’s

This week marks the celebration of National Direct Support Professionals Week. Throughout the week of Sept. 9 through 15, Liberty ARC will honor and show appreciation to our dedicated, hardworking and experienced Direct Support Professionals. DSPs are the people you see in the community, supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As president of the Liberty ARC Board of Directors, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you and a job well done to all of our DSPs. I’m proud to say that Liberty ARC has some of the finest and most exemplary DSPs in the field. Just this past year one of our own was named New York State DSP by a national organization. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon DSPs who display exceptional work in furthering community inclusion and full participation for those they support. It’s encouraging to know that Liberty ARC has many DSPs who personify these values.

Our DSPs are hard at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are marking this week with a theme of “You are our Everyday Superhero” and activities celebrating that: barbecues, scavenger hunts, kayak tours and a commemorative T-shirt given to all DSPs. This is a small way to acknowledge the vital work they do.

Unfortunately, we are not able to recognize our DSPs with the pay that they deserve. Although they provide high quality services to the people we support and are responsible for their health, safety and emotional well-being, we are not able to pay them a competitive living wage. Funding limitations for Liberty ARC and agencies like ours have resulted in a staffing crisis and an unprecedented number of vacant positions.

The Liberty ARC Board of Directors supports the “BFair2DirectCare” initiative for funding a living wage for our DSPs. We hope everyone will join us in urging our elected officials to understand that our workforce is essential and their wages must be competitive. Our DSPs, the people that they support and the communities that they live, work and play in deserve nothing less! You can show your support at a “BFair” rally at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, in the Robb Alley area of Proctor’s Theater.

PAUL DICAPRIO

President, Liberty ARC Board of Directors

Amsterdam