Randall Donner
Randall Donner, Communications Senior Professional

ANCOR Honors Mosaic Direct Support Professionals

Being in the spotlight is not something direct support professionals (DSPs) seek. In fact, most would probably prefer to fade into the background and have the person they support be the center of attention. 

But when you win a national award for doing your job really, really well, you should get at least a little attention. Here’s to Mosaic’s 2021 award-winning DSPs – Jonelle Brown, Michelle Vry, Theresa Vaughn and Emily Yadon.

These four were honored by ANCOR, the American Network of Community Options and Resources, which annually recognizes one DSP in each state as the Direct Support Professional of the Year. This year, ANCOR added six special category winners as well. Mosaic DSPs were named DSP of the Year in three states, and one was named a special category winner in another. The virtual award ceremony was held June 14.

It’s the stories that help others understand what makes a DSP special. They are connectors, advocates, friends, cheerleaders and more in people’s lives, and they make a dramatic difference.

Jonelle – DSP of the Year in Delaware – knows how important family and friends are to the people she supports. One person she supports had lost touch with family as people grew older and died. She had been close to her brother as a child; they loved to play and spend time together at home and at school. Over the years they lost touch. Learning this, Jonelle spoke with her about reconnecting with her brother. It had been years since the two had contact, but Jonelle searched and found the brother’s contact information and set up a meeting. The brother’s health concerns made travel impossible, but on the woman’s 80th birthday, Jonelle set up a virtual meeting with her brother. Both were ecstatic as they laughed and cried tears of joy. 

Michelle – the DSP of the Year in Iowa – is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of the two men she supports. When building her new home, the needs of the men was her first priority. Michelle and her husband, Alan, built an elevator so both men, one in a wheelchair and one who struggles with balance, could go to the basement and do so safely. All doorways were made wider, they added an extra toilet and sink to the plan and they put elevated ceilings in one room to hold a full track system that carries one of the men on a lift into the shower area. Everything was done to increase the men’s independence and comfort.

Theresa – the DSP of the Year in Nebraska – also knows the importance of being connected to family members and friends in the community. She has driven someone she supports six hours out of state to connect with family members. She makes sure people are connected and active in a church if they choose to be and helps them find an active role to play in the faith community. Theresa is always on the lookout for opportunities for people to meet others and create new relationships.

Emily – who works in Kansas – was recognized as a Community Connector. During the pandemic, she set up Zoom accounts for the people she supports and frequently helped them connect online with family and friends. She also helped them connect online with new people, such as helping people participate in a weekly online workout group where they actively engage and participate.

Congratulations to these four national ANCOR winners. Their day-to-day actions show putting others first is not only a win for that person, but is a win for everyone – sometimes you even get an award for it.

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