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JCBDD holds DSP Recognition Week

Contributed IMPORTANT WORK — Susan Daugherty, an aide at Shaffer Plaza is one of the longest serving direct service providers at the site, having been there since 2002. She was among the workers recognized during National DSP Recognition Week and said she has enjoyed the opportunity to work with residents. She is pictured with resident Crystal Thompson performing a basic living task to give a sense of independence.

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities shined a light upon some very important employees as part of Direct Support Professional Recognition Week.

The event occurred during the week of Sept. 12-18 and was held in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to celebrate remarkable people who support, care for and provide essential services for people with developmental disabilities. DSP’s at Shaffer Plaza received daily gifts including snacks and small tokens of appreciation for all they do. Resident Manager Kassey Minor said the home operators were involved in creating unique gift ideas from cookies to themed items such as “You are the Balm” lip balm and “We Need S’more DSP’s Like You” S’mores treats. But the week was all about giving something back to those who give of themselves by working with the residents on a daily basis.

“A lot of people can have a good work ethic, but you have to have compassion,” Minor said. “It’s a very personal type of job.”

One of Shaffer’s longest-serving DSP’s is Susan Daugherty, an Amsterdam resident who has been part of the facility since 2002. Daugherty said she was informed of the site when her former workplace closed its doors.

“I worked at Atwood Nursing Center near Carrollton for over six years. The (center) director’s sister worked at Shaffer and he told me to come here and use her as a reference,” she recalled.

Daugherty, who had worked in housekeeping and the kitchen at the facility, said she’s liked helping residents learn basic living skills and taking part in excursions. Among the latter were riding the Gateway Clipper and attending an Ice Capades performance.

“When I first came here, it was fun. I would take people out and do stuff and it was enjoyable for me. I’ve also taught individuals to get them on their way to live independently,” she added. “I respect the residents and they respect me. It doesn’t really seem like work.”

Meanwhile, Minor said Shaffer has 31 employees but it takes a special person to get involved.

“I need somebody who sees this as more than a job to them. You come into [the residents’ house] and become a part of the family.”

Superintendent Michael Zinno said DSP’s are an integral part of the BDD team and more caring hearts are always needed to lend a helping hand.

“The work of the DSP’s in our program and throughout our private provider network are at the core of our service delivery system. Attracting, developing and retaining a great workforce is part of our strategic plan and we welcome all who have the care and compassion to serve a vulnerable population to become part of our system.”

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