Updated: Feb 10
Since the sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus, MARC employees have been working around the clock to continue providing services. From keeping supplies and pantries stocked to ongoing communication with program participants, families and staff; there’s nothing that can compromise our commitment to the individuals we serve, not even this pandemic.
Our commitment, however, could not be entirely claimed if it weren’t for the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Every day, many of them make the honorable sacrifice of leaving their homes and their families to continue supporting individuals. All while juggling the unavoidable changes in routine that many of us now face ourselves.
With children home from school, DSPs must find child-care, but many say it hasn’t been easy. Then there’s returning home, washing their hands, cleaning their clothes, taking a shower, and diving right into homeschooling; an unfamiliar, yet currently necessary process. Others are being met with new obstacles while trying to take care of their aging parents. Not to mention, even while following every safety protocol, they’re putting their own health on the line.
Yet here they are, carrying the torch of our mission. Thus, the “D” in DSP has become more than just Direct, it’s Dedicated. And above all else, it’s essential.
Isolation is not easy on anyone, but to follow the recommended steps of prevention can be a difficult task for people with disabilities. DSPs make it easier. They assist them with many of their daily self-care tasks, including washing their hands often and cleaning and disinfecting their homes.
Although, there are greater risks that lie in the disruption of a daily routine rather than the actual disease itself. Thankfully, DSPs have been preventing these risks by educating individuals and giving their daily support to sustain a creative and healthy relationship.
It could be as simple as a short walk around the block or enjoying a new puzzle. The bottom line is that they’re there, and they’re the ones ensuring our I/DD community that they are safe, healthy and valued. They’re ensuring their families too, and more importantly, themselves, so they can maintain a positive and productive environment.
Other DSPs may be working from home, but that doesn't mean they're not also working hard to keep the momentum of services moving forward. With daily phone calls to check-in and chat about their day, individuals remain connected and informed of what’s to come and how some of their favorite staff is holding up.
Christine had been working on a gift for a friend when McKenze called to see how she was doing.
“She asked when we should be returning to the day program and I told her that we are doing all we can to get back as soon as possible and to consider this as a vacation, to enjoy her time with her family and puppies.”
To make the most of her days, Christine has been catching up on some of her favorite shows and even getting ideas for dinner from the Food Channel. She’s also happy to know that staff is doing well and “looks forward to [their] conversation tomorrow.”
No matter how much support is given to individuals, what’s important is that DSPs are there for them. And that is why, to us, they’ve proven to be the true heroes here. It is to them that we owe our great thanks, for honoring our mission and inspiring us all to stay devoted to our work during these times of crisis.