Direct Support Professionals Work Magic
This week, September 10-16, is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. Mosaic direct support professionals and Mosaic at Home providers seem to work magic by turning possibilities into realities for people. It’s an important part of their work, and it helps the people they serve live the life they choose. Below, three Mosaic direct support professionals share why they chose what they do and why they love it.
Althea Wiest has been a DSP with Mosaic in Southeast Nebraska since early 2018.
I used to be a florist, and I would make arrangements for various life events, including weddings and funerals—I worked with my customers in happy times and sad. People have always been important to me, especially those who need a little comfort or help.
One day while I was in my doctor’s office, someone from another provider service simply dropped off a group of people with disabilities for check-ups without accompanying them. With all their energy and positive exuberance, the young woman at the reception desk became overwhelmed. Without a thought, I started to play games with them to keep them occupied with fun! The young woman and other staff members told me I had “a way” with people, and I should do something similar for a living.
It brings me joy when I see someone I support striving to achieve a goal, and those can range from someone wanting to learn how to brush their teeth to another who wants to improve their social skills. Each person has their own story, their own path and their own challenges. We’re constantly helping them to overcome those challenges and achieve new life skills that will make a difference in their lives. When someone learns something new in that ‘ah-hah’ moment, it is so heartwarming.
Carrie Alexander has served as a foster care provider and then a Mosaic at Home host home provider in Mosaic in Arizona for a total of nine years.
I saw an ad in a local magazine that read something to the effect of “diversify your home … by assisting someone with a disability.” I thought it sounded wonderful and inquired about the opportunity. It then took me a couple of years to buy my own home and to get a child development home license, so I started officially in 2001 and fostered adult women—whom I loved very much—and supported them for five years.
I then earned my accounting degree and worked for the local bus and train company. Through a Christian dating website, I met my husband Rob, to whom I’ve been married for 16 years. In 2019, I felt it was time for a new “season” in my life, and I wanted to be a Mosaic at HomeⓇ host home provider again. Rob and I discussed it and decided we would foster children. We now are providers to four young girls—a one year old, two-year-old twins—one of whom has an intellectual disability—and a five year old who has an intellectual disability as well. They keep us busy, but there’s so much joy in it!
I love being a home provider. It gives you times that are priceless—the things you can’t buy in life. I get the joy and fulfillment of doing something for somebody else who could never pay you back—and I don’t want to be paid back. My husband and I—he works at the homeless shelter—serve our community, because we’re both based in faith.
I found this little saying I hold close, because it means so much to me, and I share it with others when I can: “Passion + Opportunity + Need = Purpose.”
Sheri Mcinnish has been a Direct Support Professional with Mosaic in Northern Iowa for six years.
I’ve been in a variety of occupations throughout my life from being in a factory and doing office work to customer service. Before I came to Mosaic, I was a teachers’ assistant in the special education department for the local school district. For two years, I worked one-on-one with students who had a wide variety of disabilities. My boss thought I was good at my job, so she said, “Why don’t you apply at Mosaic?” Although their office was near my house, I had never heard of them!
Shortly after I started working here, I knew I found a home. It’s not like a job, it’s more like having a family. So much so, when someone you care for passes away, it can break your heart. One of the elderly ladies I served always held onto a star sensory device to help calm her when needed. I bought her a new giraffe sensory for Easter one year. Eventually, she had to go into a nursing home, and when she died soon thereafter, her sister told me she was buried with that giraffe. I still get emotional when I think about it.
When I do things for the people I serve—be it cooking their dinner or taking them on outings—I see their appreciation, their smiles and their excitement—and it touches my heart. I would recommend being a DSP because it’s so rewarding, but it’s also challenging, which means it’s not the right fit for everyone. You’ve got to have a heart for service and a strong belief in Mosaic’s Mission.