We put out a call this summer to identify caregivers in the Monadnock region who go above and beyond in their work, and embody the MDS mission of inclusion, participation and mutual relationships. Local families and professionals have spoken up with their nominations for Monadnock Region Direct Support Professional and Home Provider of the Year. Congratulations to this year’s DSP and Home Provider of the Year: DSP Roberta Benner and Home Provider Paulette Driscoll.

BertaClose1Roberta Benner of Peterborough has worked for MDS and MCST as a Vocational Trainer for more than five years. In her work, Berta works with individuals to encourage growth, improve employment skills, and increase independence. Because of her efforts and commitment, the people she has supported have greatly improved their social skills, becoming more outgoing, initiating conversations, and gaining confidence. Their work skills have also improved, with Berta’s keen guidance helping them figure out how to perform tasks more quickly and efficiently, and encouraging them to ask questions of their co-workers.

“Berta consistently puts herself in the individuals’ shoes, learning about each one and asking what would interest and benefit them,” says Sheila Mahon, MCST Director. “She considers their perspective when challenging them to use their skills and advocating for their employment.”

In one particular situation, an individual had to go through months of rehabilitation and several hospitalizations because of a serious car accident, and Berta brought in her occupational therapy skills to support this woman both physically and emotionally. Over many months, Berta was on hand to get this individual through a very intense challenge, and she continues to support this woman today.

Berta is committed to supporting individuals to have a voice, to share their gifts with others, and to have meaningful days. She embraces all that MDS stands for.

PauletteCloseupPaulette Driscoll of Keene exemplifies the qualities that are most desirable in a Home Provider – she is graceful, compassionate, dedicated, motivated and always loving to those within her environment. With the full support and assistance of her husband, Paulette has been a Home Provider for Monadnock Worksource for almost seven years. She has provided a safe and nurturing environment for an individual with complicated medical needs and a unique medical condition.

“Paulette and Tom have truly lived the vision of Monadnock Worksource and MDS,” says Rob Gillis of Monadnock Worksource. “The life they have provided to the individual is rich with community interactions, diverse experiences and a comfortable home that helps the individual live as independently as possible.”

According to Carolina Enzler, MDS Adult Services Coordinator, Paulette lays down her life and advocates adamantly for the individual. She has sacrificed her own vacation time and work schedule to tend to this woman’s critical health needs, most recently preventing a potentially life-threatening medical event because of her attentiveness. Paulette’s husband and her extended family consider this woman as part of the family, including her in annual family vacations and celebrations without hesitation. Paulette goes above and beyond in all situations, and demonstrates the importance of relationships, participation and inclusion in all she does.

This year’s slate of nominees from the Monadnock Region included Roberta Benner, Karen Collins, Joel DeRose, Paulette Driscoll, Diane Wilcox Garrapy, MacKenzie Mayhew, and Joseph Sullivan. Congratulations to these outstanding caregivers, and thank you to the hundreds of direct support workers in our region for the amazing work they do each and every day to help those with disabilities live their best life possible.