ILA recently recognized the work of 16 staff for exceptional service in meeting our Individuals’ needs. In acknowledgment of 2018 Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week, the Agency honored DSPs during a festive luncheon at Mulrooney Manor. ILA’s Human Resources staff and Area Coordinators organized the ceremony.
“As our Agency’s frontline employees, DSPs play a pivotal role in supporting our Individuals,” said ILA’s Director of Human Resources Tisha Jones. “Like many of you here, I started out as a DSP. It helped launch me to where I am now.”
Grateful supervisors who nominated the honorees expressed their appreciation as they presented DSPs with their awards. Among the recipients was Shirley Mack, a DSP at 109 Clinton Avenue who has worked at ILA since 1990. Shirley was recognized by Supervisor Jean Gaillard for her “superb teamwork, knowledge, and care,” as well as her calming disposition, which helps to ease Individuals’ behavioral challenges. Jean noted Shirley’s excellent culinary skills and ability to stay within dietary guidelines while adding a Southern twist to meals. She often hosts barbecues and dinner parties to bring residences together. She also has enhanced Individuals’ laundry skills. “Shirley helps make 109 Clinton a home. When you see progress with an Individual, you know where it came from,” Jean said.
“They are my heart”
Throughout the ceremony, DSPs received praised for assuming multiple roles, covering different shifts, and taking initiative. At Pacific Street, Glenis Johns never hesitates to cook. Individuals love eating the fresh bread she makes from scratch. Glenis is quick to perform a maintenance task when needed. Kim Crumpler, a DSP at East 54th Street, comes to work on her day off to escort Individuals to church. At Albourne Avenue, Richard Kamara is beloved by parents for his wonderful interaction with Individuals and his professional, respectful behavior. Natasha Chapman is a strong advocate for Individuals residing at Carlton Avenue, frequently attending medical appointments and always encouraging Individuals to express their needs.
Willie Mae Palmer, a longtime DSP, offered words of wisdom to rising DSPs at the Agency. “I’ve been here for 32 years. You have to be a team player to do this work,” she pointed out. Although Willie Mae is planning to retire soon, she will still be ready to assist at a moment’s notice. “If Individuals need me, I’m available. I’m right around the corner.”
What makes ILA staff like Willie Mae and Shirley come to work every day for decades? “ILA is a family,” Shirley remarked. “I work in a house with three Individuals and love my guys. Everything I do is for our Individuals.”
Commenting on his award, Maurice Christian, a DSP at 691 Madison Street, said, “I am honored to be recognized by the Agency. It’s wonderful to help Individuals achieve their goals and I will do it any day, every day. They are my heart.”
Executive Director Arthur Palevsky lauded the DSPs’ exemplary ability to remain undaunted by any situation. “I know I am looking at the future leaders of ILA. You are our North Star and our inspiration,” he said.
ILA’s Director of Operations Ava Morgan added, “Looking around this room, my heart fills with pride. You enable us to have a truly successful Agency. Forty years ago, I was a DSP. It’s something that never leaves you. Thank you so much for your contributions and loyalty to ILA.”
Congratulations to our 2018 DSP honorees!
Natasha Chapman, Carlton Avenue; Maurice Christian, 691 Madison Street; Kimberly Crumpler, East 54th Street;
Charlene Davis-Callendar, Tilden Avenue; Keicha Goldborne, Day Habilitation; Christopher Ifill, Jewett Avenue;
Glenis John, Pacific Street; Richard Kamara, Albourne Avenue; James Lee, Charles Avenue;
Lucille Lobban, New York Avenue; Shirley Mack, 109 Clinton Avenue; Bernice Morrien, Day Habilitation;
Amanda Rafael, Mulrooney Manor; Devona Small, Lucille Avenue; Jack Toussaint, 49 Madison Street;
Vanessa White, 233rd Street