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Operation Smile

Operation Smile

Flowers with DSP thank you notes

“In a world of uncertainty, providers are sometimes the constant light for families and individuals. You are OUR hero. You come in wearing the cape and save the day for us and our son.  Simply put, we would be lost without you.” Mandy Via – Parent

Direct support professionals (DSPs) play a vital role in providing care and assistance to people with developmental disabilities. The second week in September is DSP recognition week, but DSPs deserve recognition every week of the year.

Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Riverside) felt that DSPs needed more recognition and support during the pandemic. Many DSPs were living in care facilities so that they could keep their families safe at home. Riverside put together gift bags for the DSPs with hygiene items, various other supplies and something fun like candy.

Becky Snell, quality and innovations director at Riverside shared that the goal was to “lift their spirits and let them know we see them and appreciate them.” They called this “Operation Smile.”

Each month, DSPs received another gift with a different theme. Thank you notes and notes from the people that the DSPs supported were included in the gift bags. Snell also provided personal protective equipment items (PPE) that are needed by the DSPs.

DSPs provide critical support to the people they assist. “Without the DSP our entire system crumbles. We want to do whatever we can to support them and recruit them,” said Snell. For the last several years, Riverside has made supporting and recruiting DSPs their number one priority.

Julie Gambrell, an SSA at Riverside said, “I appreciate DSP’s because quite simply, they are selfless.  During this trying time, they always put the client’s health and safety first and go above and beyond to meet their needs.”

DSPs not only have a significant impact on the people they care for, but for their families as well. Parents Jack and Sharon shared about their child’s provider, “She not only does things with Amy that she enjoys but at the same time teaches her, such as cooking.  It takes the pressure off us; we do not have to find something for her to do all the time. She is a great friend to Amy and us.”

If you are interested in becoming a DSP visit ohiomeansjobs.com and search "DSP."