It was a warm evening in September when I started my job at United Helpers as a Direct Support Professional. Direct Support Professionals are known to care and support individuals with Developmental Disabilities. I remember my first day of work. The nerves consumed me while I began to meet all of these new people. The evening was easy to remember because of the very warm and welcoming support the staff pushed on me without even knowing my name. Where I used to work, it wasn't exactly the same. More like, "Oh, he's working?" or "I guess we are stuck with a newbie". Ever since this day, I have grown to love my job and the people I support more and more, if possible.
For those who do not know, United Helpers is a non-profitable organization that contains developmental disability services, home support services, mental health services, and senior living services along with many other wonderful programs to support individuals with their needs in the surrounding areas. United Helpers- Mosaic in the Potsdam/Norwood locations is where I work. There are three residential houses along with a very successful Day Rehabilitation Program that individuals within the residential houses and community members attend to increase their independence and their social interactions while assisting their needs.
In this type of work, the need for help continues to increase. It is hard to explain to someone why they should consider becoming a Direct Support Professional through United Helpers, but I feel that I could persuade some readers to think a little more in depth about it. The gift of giving is something that the company I work for thrives to provide for themselves. For example, a recent Christmas party for our section of Mosaic was thrown for the staff. As a Christmas bonus, staff received a Mosaic fleece sweater, a 75$ Visa gift card and a wonderful letter from the CEO of the company wishing us a very Merry Christmas.
Although this is very wonderful, something that is even more magical while working during the holiday season is to watch and admire the faces of the individuals we support while they open their Christmas presents from their loved ones. A lot of people are very particular when it comes to certain items they expect under the Christmas tree, but it is the opposite for our people. Every gift is like a million dollars to them and you can tell by their ear-to-ear smiles.
Some people may ask “What about when it is not a holiday season?” and this is a great question. This type of work can be difficult at times, but it rewards you as well. Every day you go into work, you get to tell yourself that you are helping people live their lives, supporting them, and increasing their ability to maybe help others in the future. Every day you leave work, you find yourself saying that they helped you at the same time.
Most people do not recognize the gifts this job could give to the people we support, their families, the company and ourselves when being able to help others live extraordinary lives.
Let's start recognizing!