dspdayconcord2011web3On a bright sunny afternoon on the State House Lawn, the Monadnock region nominees for DSP/Home Provider of the Year joined with Governor Lynch, Barbara Wilson (Yellow Flag Day founder) and a lively group to celebrate Direct Support Professional Day in NH. Signing and then reading a Proclamation in support of this annual celebration, Lynch spoke about the ways in which DSPs make a real difference in people’s lives, as evidenced by the number of commemorative DSP Yellow Flags flying.

“We all want the chance to have meaningful lives. People with disabilities are helped every day by committed DSPs who are dedicated professionals. I’m pleased and honored to be able to be here to commend you for your important work and for making such a difference in people’s lives.”

dspdayconcord2011web2Following the presentation the Governor created his own Yellow Flag and hung it among the hundreds that were flying in the breeze.

Among those attending the DSP Yellow Flag Display event were the two Monadnock region nominees for DSP and Home Provider of the year. Alyson Daniels (pictured above, second row far right) was chosen as the Monadnock region Direct Support Professional of the Year, and Charlotte Little (far left in above picture) as Home Provider of the Year. They are among 20 nominees for the Statewide DSP Award, to be announced in late October.

Alyson Daniels of Keene, the Monadnock Region Direct Support Professional of the Year, has worked through CHESCO, Inc. with a young man with multiple disabilities including deafness for several years. During this time she has worked diligently to improve his signing abilities, help him get out more in the community and provide much needed support and respite for his parents. Because of Alyson’s special skills and her dedication to this individual and his family, this young man’s quality of life and experiences in his community have significantly improved. In fact things have been going so well, the family has decided to direct services themselves using Alyson as their key support person, via the Participant Managed and Directed Services (PDMS) program at MDS. Emily Scott, the young man’s mother, says: “Alyson has become a very important member of our family. I think when God made Alyson, he broke the mold! She will always be a winner in our and our son’s eyes.”

Home Provider of the Year Charlotte Little works for Monadnock Worksource in Peterborough and provides a warm and caring home for a woman with very challenging medical issues. The individual is legally blind, and Charlotte has made their home safe, comfortable and manageable for everyone in the house. During the individual’s recent episodes of kidney failure, Charlotte has never wavered in her support for her in the face of the many additional appointments and responsibilities required by this condition. She has supported the woman’s desire to continue to work during her treatments, and makes great efforts to keep the woman connected to her community and social network. David Mattocks, Associate Director of  Monadnock Worksource, tells us: “Charlotte provides an extraordinary level of loving and complex support, handling it all with the utmost care and compassion.”

dspdayconcord2011web1DSP Recognition Week, an annual event in New Hampshire and across the nation, is intended to raise awareness about the unsung heroes in our lives, Direct Support Professionals, regular people who give others a better opportunity to have the best life they can. DSPs do rewarding work that touches everyone. All of us will be or will need a caregiver at some point in our lives.

For DSP Day in New Hampshire, hundreds of yellow flags are flown on the State House lawn, each created to thank and honor a Direct Support Professional who has touched an individual’s life. Friends, families, advocates and many of the DSPs and Home Providers nominated from across the state gather in Concord to recognize all DSPs in New Hampshire.This annual event was started by Barbara Wilson, a DSP from Keene, who next year hopes to fly thousands of flags, one for every DSP in the state.  The 20 nominees go on as finalists for the title of statewide for the DSP and Home Provider of the Year Awards, presented by the Developmental Disabilities Council at the DSP Conference, this year at the Grand Summit in Bartlett, NH in late October.