Mosaic’s DSPs are the Real Deal

Real life question: What’s hard about your job?

I asked this question many times while trying to produce a realistic job preview video describing the work of direct support professionals (DSPs) several months ago.

It’s important, because today is the beginning of Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week.

DSPs are the people who provide the day-in, day-out assistance to help the people Mosaic supports stay healthy and active in their communities.

Some DSPs are employees and others are independent contractors. But they share the same mission, which is to provide people with real opportunities to enrich their lives.

DSPs get to do some fun things, such as accompanying people to ballgames or movies or going out to eat. Sometimes, they’ll even travel with a person on a short vacation.

To be successful in the job, DSPs connect with the people they support in deep ways. A DSP’s familiar face and trusted voice can bring smiles that no one else can elicit. They can inspire the confidence that brings change to a person’s life. They can be more than they knew they could because someone truly needs them.

But, depending upon the level of personal need, direct support may also involve less glamorous tasks like cleaning and scrubbing kitchens and bathrooms, helping people use the toilet and shower and, for those Mosaic supports who are incontinent, changing clothes and undergarments several times a day.

So when I asked DSPs about those less inviting tasks, they deflected the question like skilled politicians and chose, instead, to talk about what they love: People.

Specifically, the people they serve who have diverse, and often multiple, needs.

It became clear I misunderstood their work. For many of the DSPs I’ve spoken with, the work is not a job, not about tasks to be completed and support to be given.

It is their life’s vocation.

Their days are about meeting people where they are in life and empowering them with opportunities. That’s worthy of recognition.

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