Guest blogger: Paula Nelson, Director of Professional Development, Sunrise Community of Tennessee, Inc.
On April 30th, 2013, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) recognized Charles Uvenio of Sunrise Community of Tennessee, Inc. in Clarksville as the 2013 Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year for the state. “We at Sunrise Community are proud of Charles. the award shows the dedication he has to support people with disabilities and reflects the quality of services provided by our agency,” said Paula Nelson, Director of Professional Development.
Direct Support Professionals are also referred to a “caregivers,, “personal assistants,” direct care staff and/or home health aides. DSPs provide a rich mosaic of daily support services for many Americans with developmental and acquired challenges. DSPs are vital to help people with disabilities participate in their communities and lead full, independent lives.
“Many Americans are not aware of the comprehensive scope of work that DSPs perform everyday and the essential role that DSPs fulfill in the social and economic life of communities across the country, ” said Dave Toeniskoetter, President of ANCOR. “We want to make sure that DSPs like Mr. Uvenio are recognized for the difficult and inspiring work they do daily.”
“DSPs are on the front lines supporting people with disabilities and ensuring people with intellectual and physical challenges are fully engaged and included in their respective communities,” said Renee Pietrangelo, CEO of ANCOR. “It is absolutely essential that dedicated para-professionals like Mr. Uvenio are given the recognition and respect they so rightly deserve.”
ANCOR’s Director Support Professional Recognition Award is given to DSPs who personify the values of ANCOR’s National Advocacy Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage and ensure a well-trained and sustainable direct support workforce. Nominees are judges on the work they have done to build social networks, substantive community participation and advocating for the people served. For these reasons, Charles Uvenio was named Tennessee’s DSP of the Year.