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2009 DSP of the Year

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2009 DSP of the Year

March 24, 2009

Darlene RiccoDarlene Ricco, Dungarvin Nevada, LLC, Carson City, NV

It baffles people to hear Darlene Ricco say, “I hope I make a difference in someone’s life in a positive way.” Making a difference IS Darlene’s way of life. She is the consummate DSP for improving the quality of life for all people, especially people with developmental disabilities.

Darlene excels at community integration. It is a personal goal to use her community resources and her personal contacts to generate awareness of the needs of people with disabilities. She frequently arranges opportunities with community organizations and coordinates participation with other groups. Involvement in parades, dances, bowling, karaoke and tea clubs are fun favorites of her individuals. Recognizing that there is more to living a full life, Darlene and her individuals take community inclusion to a higher level by volunteering at the Railroad Museum, advocating for theWild Horse Rescue Program, rallying against budget cuts and demonstrating support for greater accessibility in the community.

Darlene believes that society lacks knowledge and understanding of the barriers people with disabilities must overcome. “How will they know if no one tells them?” she maintains. Acknowledging that accomplishments have been made, Darlene believes “We are still not where we should be.” She is actively in the forefront in her community to ensure public entities are in compliance with the ADA. She has been featured on a local radio show to discuss supports needed in the community.

Through her actions and attitudes, Darlene strives to help people enjoy their lives. In turn, she enjoys learning about life from them and is honored when they seek her out for support and assistance. A demonstrated leader in the community with 12-years of experience as a DSP, Darlene excels as a guiding force by enhancing the quality of life for those who require supports and enriching the lives of those who do not.

Pansy WilsonPansy Wilson, Salem Villages MRDD, Inc., Gainesville, FL

A valued team member for more than two years, Pansy passed away Christmas morning. Her colleagues and individuals mourn her loss and miss her kindheartedness, gentle spirit and amazing courage and strength.

Pansy never missed an opportunity to teach compassion, respect and caring. She fought her personal battles privately, never giving in to her cancer. Rather she focused outward, reveling in her work. Community inclusion meant everything to her and her individuals, as did family.

When an individual lost both her parents, she discovered she had a brother she never knew.Working with Pansy, the family effectively prepared for an at-home visit. In her own car, Pansy drove the individual 250 miles to successfully reunite the family, all the while braving hotel errors, mechanical failures and delays in returning.

During her last days, Pansy prepared her individuals for her death. She made certain they understood how important they were to her and how she would always be alive in their hearts.

ANCOR salutes Pansy Wilson.

ANCOR Advocacy Award

Direct Support Professionals Alliance of New York State
Amy Sheak, Barbara del Ventura, Darrell Griffin, Elizabeth Armstrong, Lysa Hitchens, Ellington Crowe, JaQuuad Hemingway, Joseph McCrea, Michael Tuggey, Sean Delaney, Theresa Laws, Peaches Conquest, CynthiaWallace and Wil Parker

Albany, NY

Fourteen trailblazing DSPs put their hopes, dreams and words into action when they created The Direct Support Professionals Alliance of New York State (DSPANYS). The objectives of the DSPANYS envision a society that recognizes and respects the abilities and value of individuals with disabilities and the people who provide direct supports and services to them. The DSPANYS represents 65,000 DSPs in New York who provide supports to 140,000 individuals. In a very short time, this remarkable group of DSPs has accomplished what has never been done before. They provided testimony to New York legislators, met with the Governor’s office to promote DSP issues and have begun to participate on many statewide committees. ANCOR celebrates the DSPANYS, a pioneering group of visionaries.

2009 NAC Direct Professional Recognition Awards

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