NEWARK — For the past 20 months, Licking County’s direct support professionals (DSPs) have gone above and beyond — working hard to make sure people with developmental disabilities are healthy and safe.
This selflessness has often come at the expense of their own self-care.
So when the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities began planning its third annual DSP Recognition Awards, DSP Eligibility Specialist Manager Brandi Body knew she wanted to give these hardworking heroes a chance to recharge.
“DSPs are great at taking care of others, but often not so great at self-care,” Body said. “We want to empower them to realize that they can be great DSPs and still find a few minutes a day to take time for themselves.”
At the Dec. 7 recognition event, award nominees were able to enjoy an open house at 31 West.
Stopping at each station, DSPs got to learn about different aspects of self-care — from journaling and healthy eating to drinking water and stretching.
“Each nominee will be able to explore an aspect of self-care that interests them, and will leave our event with the tools they need to include it in their daily routine,” Body said.
This year set a record with more than 130 DSP nominations — submitted to LCBDD from other DSPs, people supported, parents and LCBDD staff members.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues and Ohio’s DD providers are in the midst of the worst staffing crisis in recent history —and our community still made the time to step up and make sure DSPs got recognized,” Body said. “That just shows how much of an impact they have.”
Each nomination was reviewed by a committee of LCBDD staff members and ten DSPs were chosen for special recognition.
This year’s award winners are:
“Although we could only present ten awards, every single DSP nominated is amazing,” Body said. “At LCBDD we will continue doing all we can to show our gratitude and make sure they have the tools they need to be their best selves.”