This week, AIM celebrated Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week! Although DSPs are recognized for the remarkable work they do throughout the year, this is a unique time to draw attention to the professionals who go above and beyond every single day for the people they support.

This year, we would like to acknowledge all that is made possible in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental because of the Direct Support Professional Workforce. DSPs stand by the side of the people they serve as they explore their interests, accomplish their goals, discover their dreams, and enjoy amazing trips, experiences, and opportunities. Whether they are encouraging someone on their journey, or taking a step a back as they explore their independence, DSPs make people’s dreams possible. Below, we share some of the incredible experiences made possible because of the support of Direct Support Professionals.

Experiences, classes and supplies

young boy touching light up screen on a wall person holding paint brush and painting a blue line people making art sitting at a group table girl with mixing bowl

An incredible amount of time and thought goes into ensuring that each person served has all that they need, beyond basic necessities for daily living. We often see the care and dedication to these provisions from DSPs, offering one-on-one or group respite and recreational support to children, teens, and adults. Almost every day DSPs are coordinating unique supplies, materials, sensory items, teaching tools, healthy snacks, and classes that enhance people’s lives. Recent purchases and experiences made possible in part by the commitment of the DSPs include:

  • Sensory and therapeutic chairs, hammocks, and tents
  • Healthy snacks, cooking classes and snack preparation instruction, and provision of meals to those in need
  • Winter supplies, including hats, gloves, and jackets
  • Recreational items, including adaptive fishing reels, basketballs, snow tubes, play foam mats, life jackets, and water toys, art supplies, STEM kits, book purchases for group library, holiday craft and party supplies, outdoor and board games, instruments, music speakers and karaoke machines
  • Rental of gym space for basketball games, admission for yoga classes, art therapy classes with CREATE Community Studios, art classes and instruction with Saratoga Arts, music therapy with Expressive Journeys and Blackbird Music Services, and bowling throughout the Capital Region

Accessible Renovations & Smart Technology

door entrance with ladder next to it Deck on a house kitchen

Behind each accessible renovation and technological advancement within a person’s home, is a DSP advocating for its completion or implementation. DSPs promote the awareness and prioritization of each residential improvement in the lives of the people they serve. They know first-hand why new flooring in a room will increase a person’s independence, how a bathroom renovation will improve safety and independence for residents of a home, how advanced technology will help someone independently open their front door or answer a phone call for the first time in their life, or when a home needs to construct a ramp to accommodate the evolving needs of aging residents. It is the thoughtfulness and advocacy of the DSPs that help change people’s lives. Below are recently completed renovations that have improved the lives of residents of homes supported by the organization:

  • A new back deck and ramp for safety and enjoyment at 2 homes in Saratoga and South Glens Falls
  • New flooring throughout 3 homes throughout Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties, affecting safety and independence
  • A new roof, driveway, flooring, and kitchen at two homes in Saratoga Springs
  • New font decks and ramps at 2 homes in Clifton Park and Glens Falls for safety and enjoyment
  • Automatic doors at an apartment complex in Glens Falls
  • Bluetooth, voice-activated, technology in an apartment in Saratoga, affecting independence with opening doors, turning on lights, turning on tv and radio, and answering phones

Trips & Experiences

young man standing in front of great escape sign Group of people standing in front of yankees stadium sculpture two young girls looking in a fish tank

The depth of the relationships Direct Support Professionals build with the people they serve helps them explore people’s deepest dreams and goals. Often, these dreams and goals are in the form of trips and experiences. People share that they want to go to professional sporting events, take a boat ride, visit the ocean, or ride a roller coaster, often for the first time in their lives.
Once again, without the tireless advocacy and support of DSPs to help people experience their dreams, these trips and experiences would not occur. Through collaboration between DSPs, the Fundraising Department and generous donors, these trips, experiences, and first-time vacations occurred more than ever before. Every day, people are hiking and visiting parks throughout the Capital Region, swimming, golfing, taking go-cart rides, skiing with accessible equipment, and enjoying the outdoors. Trips DSPs have helped people experience over the last year include:

  • Tour boat rides on Lake George
  • A professional wrestling match and hotel stay; this was an individual’s lifelong dream
  • Trips to the Escape Room in Albany
  • Via Aquarium in Rensselaer
  • Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George
  • Comic Con in Saratoga Springs
  • Silver Scream con in MA
  • Disney on Ice,
  • Diggerland USA
  • Adirondack Thunder Game in Glens Falls
  • NY Yankees Game at Yankees Stadium

Thank you, Direct support Professionals, for helping to enhance the lives of the people you support. We are in awe of the work you complete each day and the positive difference you make in the lives of others. We are AIM because of you.

collage of images of people, with text thank you DSPs!