Celebrating DSP Week

Posted on September 11th, 2020 at 1:53 PM

As we celebrate Direct Support Professionals Week during Sept. 13-19, we want to commend all of the dedicated women who work with adults with disabilities to help them achieve their dreams.  Our DSPs are working in our residential group homes, day programs and at job sites across the region to support adults in all of their day-to-day activities and accomplishments.  They work closely with the adults, some of whom are our most vulnerable citizens, to build meaningful relationships and fulfilling lives.  They are truly our heroes, and we asked them to share what they love most about their work.

Although I hesitate to call it my "job," as it is often not like work--I love my job! The rewards with which I am blessed by the individuals with whom I serve far outweigh the "work."
- CLeve Cooke, Habilitation Aide Pittsburgh

I enjoy being a direct service professional because learning and growing with the people I work with brings joy to me and lights up my day. I enjoy spreading that joy and making it possible to be happy. I love to do as much as possible to get as much out of life as we can. With much love to all of you!
- Jasmine Kyes-Lucero, RSP Millcrest Erie

A man and a woman standing in front of a pile of sticks in the woodsI love my job in so many ways. To see the faces of determined, dedicated, caring, kind hearted and amazing smiles that impact not only me, but others in the community. Individuals with disabilities are the most hard-working people, I know!
Thank you,
- Kristy Engstrom, Community Employment Specialist, Bollinger Campus


I have been with Barber for almost a year and the half now. I work primarily in Fawn Valley and Beall. During this period, I have become so attached to the residents. Most of them are not vocal but the few who are always tell me how their day was spent, and how exciting it was. It makes me feel I am family which I believe I am. I have a few pictures given to me by one of the residents.  Seeing how they appreciate me makes me want to be there for them always. I am glad to be part of their life because they are part of my life and need love like everyone else.
- Leonard Ngimuh, RSP 3rd Fawn Valley, Pittsburgh

What I like about being a DSP is that I’m able to help my individual to remember the fun things they used to do and allow them to teach me something I never knew. As I said when I first got hired “I LOVE WHAT I DO AND WHO I DO IT FOR. IF I CAN PUT A SMILE ON ONE OF MY CLIENT’S FACES THEN MY JOB HAS BEEN DONE. But I have to say I love working for this company and it’s a blessing being a part of such a wonderful community and thank you for all that y’all do for us at the Barber National Institute.
- Shanti Singleton, RSP West Girard, Philadelphia

I love that I'm able to work with, and through, some of the obstacles with the clients, taking for granted, what I easily can do, independently. Finding ways to adapt to new ways, new things being learned together. I have never loved a job so much.
- Steffani Sorge, CSP Girard

I love working with the different individuals. I love spending time with them, introducing new things, trying to find ways in which to get them to interact with me. Helping them gain more independence by showing/teaching them how to do different tasks. Each client has special qualities about them. Each client has something to offer and to teach others (their peers/staff that they are around). I love being in the residential setting because I get to interact and do more things with them. The clients have become part of my family. It is not just a job. I enjoy coming to work. I enjoy the work that I do. It is an important position. I take my job very seriously, it is not just about getting a paycheck.
- Amy Hartley, RSP, Rolling Green Pittsburgh

Working as support for Barber’s consumers is very gratifying. To bring a sense of normalization to their lives means the world to me, especially in this very tough time. Live Love Life
- John P. Brooks, proud staff member from Girard site

A woman with a black mask and brass-studded fake mouse earsWorking with my clients is such an awesome feeling! The unconditional feeling of gratitude that they show me guarantees that I chose the right career path! 
- Angela Potter, RSP Hillcrest, Pittsburgh



Working with our population is very rewarding when a new skill is learned. When one of the individuals that I have been working with to teach a skill or concept finally "gets it." The “oh yea” is wonderful. The sense of accomplishment is both mine and theirs. The happiness at becoming more independent is so satisfying for them and a treasure to see.
- Laura Delinski, Associate Instructor at Small Group Employment, Erie

A woman with short brown hair smiling at the cameraI’ve been employed at BNI for 18 years and I can honestly say I love everything about my job. Having the privilege to take care of and spend time with those that are unable to take care of themselves and bring smiles to their faces everyday makes my job very rewarding.
- Nichole Spanggard, RSP Hampshire, Erie


A woman with long, curly brown hair smiling at the cameraThe reason I like working at the Barber National Institute and with my clients: I'm providing care and support to someone who needs it the most and I am helping them to become more independent and to be confident in their own abilities. Every day is a chance to do something different and make a difference in my clients’ lives.
- Kellie R. Clark, RSP Marion Erie

Working at the Barber National Institute has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me. Seeing the excitement on the faces of the adults when they grasped a concept that was presented made it all worthwhile. Serving and sharing my gifts with the adults and helping them learn a new skill brings a lot of joy to me and hopefully is making their dreams come true.
- Sister Kevin, Assoc. Instructor, Small Group Employment, Erie

I enjoy coming to work and seeing the smiling faces and hearing about their lives. Even if you are having a bad day, when you walk into the door and are greeted by the consumers your problems don't seem so bad. The great thing about my job is the love that they have for you and their co-workers. The bond that you make over the years (with the consumers) is always with you.
- Chris Connick, CSP Erie

I am dedicated to my work at BNI because I LOVE what I do.  I enjoy the clients, they teach me new things daily, and mostly to be grateful for little things in life.
- Karen Ewing, RSP 3rd Parkside, Erie

I enjoy the closeness that we have come to know. My consumer has grown so much since I started working with her.
- Barb Fulkman, CSP Bollinger

A woman with long, straight brown hair smiling at the cameraI love working with my clients. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I can make them feel special and help them to meet their goals at the same time.
- Sharon Chernyak, Habilitation aide, Pittsburgh

I have worked for BNI for six years and I love my job more and more every day! The individuals are the reason I love my job.  Their smiles and happiness mean the world to me.
- Frances Pavach, Res. Manager Hampshire, Erie

An older woman with very short brown hair smiling at the cameraI am dedicated to the work I do because of the fulfillment and joy it gives me to see my people enjoy our program. To see my people work and achieve their goals and learn new skills while having fun! To know that I am helping make a difference in someone’s life.
- Vicki McLaughlin, Community Support Professional, Bollinger Campus

To me it's not a job. I love what I do; not only am I teaching them but they're teaching me too. They just go along with the day and it's the littlest things in life that make them happy.
- Sally Penalvert, at CSP at 12th and Marshall

I love what I do because the individuals I have the honor of working with are so sincere and enjoyable to be around. They help me see the world in a new light.
- Marikay Zimmer, CSP in Girard