September 12-18, 2021 marks another DSP Recognition Week — an annual opportunity to honor our DSPs and acknowledge the lengths they will go to help people with disabilities live fulfilled, independent lives.
After an extra challenging year (to say the least), you might be looking for some ways to celebrate beyond the usual pizza and cake. Look no further! We’ve scoured the internet and rounded up a list of seven amazing DSP appreciation ideas from providers who hit it out of the park.
Image credit: PSU
Taco bar set up with food and decorations. A sign in the background reads, “Taco ‘bout a great team.”
Nothing wrong with a pizza party, of course! But, why not spice things up a bit? That’s what PSU did last year. The Ohio agency, which provides employment and community services, put together a taco bar — complete with festive decorations and puns like “Taco ‘bout a great team” and “chip chip hooray for our DSPs”. From the photos PSU shared, it’s obvious this celebration was “the taco the town”!
Image credit: Delaware Gazette
Superintendent Kristine Hodge and Director of Programs and Services Tina Overtuf hold signs that say “Thank You” and “Thanks a Melon”. DSP Morgan Jolliff of The Alpha Group drives through to pick up lunch.
Talk about eating and running! The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD) passed out bag lunches to busy DSPs. Any DSP in the community could stop by to grab a meal. The bags said “Proud to be a DSP” and were filled with delicious treats, as well as a card with special offers from downtown Delaware, Ohio businesses. We love this idea because it’s easy to implement and perfect for DSPs on the go.
Every year, the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board (DDRB) of St. Charles County, Missouri, hosts an awards ceremony to recognize exceptional DSPs. Providers can nominate DSPs who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve. The ceremony, which is held during DSP Recognition Week, is complete with a dinner banquet for nominees and award recipients.
Image credit: Cardinal Services
“In recognition of DSP Week, Lane has this message to share. #DSPRW19”
Cardinal Services of Indiana kicked off their weeklong celebration with doughnut deliveries to all their locations. But our favorite part of their celebration was that they recorded videos of participants explaining what their DSPs mean to them. Then they shared the videos to their social media channels. It’s a fun alternative to a traditional thank you card, and anyone can implement this idea — all you need is a smartphone!
Image credit: The Arc Madison Cortland
“Happy DSP Week to all of our Direct Support Professionals! Thank you for everything you do, and for being the backbone of The Arc Madison Cortland. We love creating this video with you throughout the week, and hope you enjoy! Don’t forget to share… #DSPWeek2020”
Throughout DSP Recognition Week last year, The Arc Madison Cortland in New York recorded videos of DSPs going about their daily activities. They also interviewed staff about why they became a DSP and what it was like working during a pandemic. At the end of the week, they shared this video to their social media channels. We think this is an awesome way to highlight the important work DSPs are doing in the community.
Image credit: The Nemasket Group
“DSP Recognition Week…our first car wash customer. We are grateful to all our amazing staff.”
If you’re looking for some good clean fun for DSP Appreciation Week, a car wash is always a big hit! The Nemasket Group of Massachusetts put together a car wash for their staff. DSPs could stop by and get their car washed for free. This is a great way to thank them for all their hard work throughout the year — all it takes is a little elbow grease!
This year’s celebration is September 12-18, but DSPs should be recognized for their contribution the other 51 weeks as well. One way to do this is by advocating for the rights of DSPs. Last year, KenCrest President and CEO Marian Baldini wrote an op-ed for the Pennsylvania Capital Star titled, “Let’s come together to give direct service providers the support they need — and deserve.” In the article, Baldini calls on providers, government, individuals with disabilities, and families to work together to find creative solutions to the DSP crisis.
Of course, these are just a few of the ways providers have celebrated our amazing DSPs. We’d love to see how you’re celebrating DSP Recognition Week this year. Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and so we can feature your idea!