The key components of the work done by a DSP revolve around Advocacy, Relationships and Creativity. Keystone’s Patricia Sipe, who nominated Jerome ‘Jerry’ Williams for Pennsylvania DSP of the Year, says “He has a natural gift for relating to others and has creatively supported the individuals he serves, no matter what obstacles or challenges they face.”
Jerome has been a DSP for 37 years, and for 24 of those he has doubled as a full-time certified art teacher. He also supports individuals in the Home and Community-Based Services program. “Although he was also a full-time teacher for 24 years, Jerry made himself available 24/7 for the people he supports,” explains Ms. Sipe. “At times, he would go from teaching school to spending all night in the emergency room with someone. When a woman he supports developed cancer, he supported and assisted her through her difficult and serious mental and medical issues, and the necessary aftercare.”
He and a woman that he supported developed a strong bond, so strong that she asked him to give her away at her wedding. He did just that, driving from Harrisburg to Philadelphia on his own personal time.
Several years ago he began supporting a young man with many challenges. Jerry saw the goodness in him and knew he wanted a new way of life. He and Jerry created Hoops 4 Hoops, a non-profit sports outreach program geared for young men in Harrisburg. “It took several years of hard work and dedication, but Hoops 4 Hoops is now a successful and well-known program, complete with a Board of Directors,” says Sipe. “It offers an array of civic and community-based activities, services, and supports to young adults in the city of Harrisburg.”