Ever wondered what Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) do? Check out my interview with Kierstin Fuentes about her career as a DSP.
How many years have you been a DSP at the Arc of Monroe?
Kierstin: I have been a DSP for the Arc for almost 2 years.
What are your typical days/hours of work?
Kierstin: My typical hours of work are 7:30am-4pm.
What are your duties as a DSP?
Kierstin: My duties as a DSP are to help the people I support achieve their goals on a daily basis.
What does a typical day look like?
Kierstin: My typical day would look like – Coming into work, making sure that any activities throughout the day are prepped and ready for the group. Making sure the schedule is up on the board so that the people we support can plan out there day. When the people we support arrive to program we help them put away lunches and their belongings, assist in making their daily cup of coffee and then going over the schedule. Then it’s time for group. Depending on the day it could be a craft, a learning worksheet, puzzles or even exercise group. Then lunch. After lunch is afternoon group which could consist of an outing to possibly Wegmans, redemption center or now that the weather is nicer the park. After the outings we assist the people we support in helping to clean up the core room and then gather their belongings. After the people we support head home, then we complete any documentation that needs to be done for the day.
What do you like most about your job?
Kierstin: I think what I like most about being a DSP is the rewarding feeling I get when I watch the people we support achieve their daily goals. When you see someone you support making progress with their goals, it makes you feel great because you had a little part in making sure they did the best they can at working towards their goal.
What would you tell someone that might consider being a DSP at the Arc of Monroe?
Kierstin: I would tell them to do it. I would tell them that working for the Arc is a great opportunity to make a difference on the lives of others, and that working at the Arc you make a lot of friendships that will really last a lifetime.
What strengths do you need to be a DSP at the Arc of Monroe?
Kierstin: I feel as though the strengths you need to be a DSP would definitely have to be patience. This is not an easy job and it’s not for everyone. You need to be able to be patient with the people you support because they may not work at the same pace as us or they may not understand the things that we do and I feel like it takes a special person to be able to understand that and be willing to work with.
Can you share a success story about someone you support?
Kierstin: My success story would have to be working with someone who did not speak a lot of English. The staff in my core room and myself have worked very hard on teaching this person how to communicate in a more appropriate way by speaking English so others could understand him. Now even though it’s still a work on progress I feel like in the short amount of time he has been with us we have made tremendous progress as a team.
What core value do you find most meaningful and how do you live them out at work (camaraderie, integrity, ingenuity, perseverance, excellence, empathy)?
Kierstin: The most meaningful core value to me is camaraderie. Making different friendships with the people we support is a very big part of the job. I feel like you need to get to know every single person you work with in order to be able to work with them every day. Making relationships with the people we support could help them have a better day. Some of the people we support, staff is all they have. They maybe don’t have a family of their own so to them the relationships they make with us is everything.
Apply to be a Direct Support Professional here.
Kierstin Fuentes is a Direct Support Professional at Lambert Campus. She has been with the Arc for just under two years.
Kierstin was interviewed by Alison Cundy, Marketing Associate.