MUSCATINE, Iowa–“Direct support professionals are the backbone of the non-profit community,” were the words shared with city council members Thursday night as Marc Hines, CEO of Crossroads, Inc, accepted a proclamation recognizing Direct Support Professionals Week on behalf of Muscatine service providers. Direct Support Professional Week sets aside the week of Sep. 11-17 to recognize and appreciate the difference direct support professionals (DSPs) make in the lives of individuals with disabilities.
In Muscatine, DSPs assist individuals with 24-hour or hourly supported community living, day habilitation programs, and supported employment services. These programs help individuals with disabilities become independent, productive community members. Job coaches work beside individuals as they contribute to the struggling workforce. Resident support staff assist individuals with grocery shopping and attending community events that support our community, and day habilitation associates support individuals in community outings and volunteer projects. DSPs and the clients they serve are a vital part of our community.
During Direct Support Professional Week, service agencies across the state of Iowa will celebrate the work of these Direct Support Professionals in our organizations and our communities. Facing the same staff shortages, other industries are seeing many DSPs work long hours for wages primarily supported by Medicaid funding. DSP Week not only serves as an opportunity to appreciate our DSPs, but it also serves as a time to educate our community about the work of DSPs and their impact on our community and to ask political leaders to remember these contributions when budgeting and making policy.
Hines emphasizes the importance of continued support for Direct Support Professionals “As voters, taxpayers, and elected officials, we owe every DSP a debt of gratitude, not just during DSP Recognition Week, but all 52 weeks of the year. They need all the help we can give because they’ll certainly be there when we need them.”