In Indiana, over 19,000 people with physical and developmental disabilities rely on Direct Support Professionals for essential support with employment, connections within their community, and basic health and safety needs. As the teachers, cheerleaders and many times the primary advocate for the individuals they serve, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) require a broad range of skills. yet they earn an average wage far below the typical American worker.
To honor their important role and highlight the growing shortage of Direct Support Professionals in Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels has declared September 13-17, 2010 to be Direct Support Professional Recognition Week.
Pathfinder Services employs over 166 Direct Support Professionals in Huntington County, 75 in Marshall and Starke Counties, and 60 in Wabash County. “As we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act earlier this year, we are glad to take this week to celebrate the contributions of the valued DSPs who make so many accomplishments possible for Hoosiers with disabilities,” said Sandy Wing, Senior Director of Community Services for Pathfinder Services, Inc. “Direct Support Professionals week is a time we can give a special thank you to our staff for everything they do throughout the year to help improve the lives of everyone we serve,” Wing added.
“Indiana’s 26,000 Direct Support Professionals are making differences every day in the lives of those they support,” said Shannon Gilbert, President of Direct Support Professionals of Indiana, a new group of DSPs focused on development and awar
eness about their profes
sion. “DSPs assist individuals to see beyond their disabilities and help them live meaningful lives within their community. Some individuals with disabilities may have been told they would never walk or they have never been given the opportunity to make their own choices. This is not acceptable in the eyes of a DSP. This week is a great time to recognize the DSPs who make dreams into a reality for people with disabilities.”
Indiana DSPs will be celebrating Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week by increasing awareness of their role supporting Hoosiers with disabilities and encouraging others to investigate a career in their important field. Indiana’s DSP week coincides with National Direct Support Professionals Week as declared by the United States Senate in June of this year.
Pathfinder Community Supports is the Adult Services division of Pathfinder Services, Inc., a Comprehensive Human and Community Development not for profit organization serving Huntington County since 1966. Pathfinder Services, Inc. serves over 2,000 individuals with and without disabilities throughout Northeast Indiana. For more information on the services of Pathfinder Services, Inc. please call their Huntington office at (260) 356-0500 or visit www.pathfinderservices.org. The main corporate office of Pathfinder Services, Pathfinder Community Connections and Pathfinder Resource Connection have moved to 2824 Theater Avenue in Huntington; however the Pathfinder Community Supports and Pathfinder OutSource Manufacturing division’s can still be found at 1152 East State Street in Huntington.