National Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week begins this Sunday, September 13 and extends through Saturday, September 19. This annual event honors, celebrates and raises awareness about the incredible work DSPs across the nation are doing to support people with disabilities. And since this group has stepped up to the plate to provide the extra care needed during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to show them just how much we value and appreciate their hard work this week – and into the future.
ANCOR has put together a list of creative and safe ideas to help agencies make the most of the week-long event. Some of the activities include collecting quick thank-you video messages from individuals you support, their families and other team members. Send them out to your DSPs throughout the week or create a video montage and play it at your next team meeting.
Goody bags are a simple, yet thoughtful way to show you care. You could even consider filling the bags with items to relieve stress during this chaotic time like face masks, essential oils, rejuvenating tea and candles. I’ve also heard many organizations have begun putting together to-go baskets with essential items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. to save our busier-than-ever DSPs from that last-minute trip to the store. Some are even offering to-go meals for employees and their families to spare them the hassle of putting dinner on the table after a long shift.
Since the weather hasn’t turned just yet for most of the country, you could host an outdoor barbecue and let employees relax, socialize and have some fun - at a socially safe distance, of course. Organize a raffle and auction off prizes like gift cards, company swag and a free PTO day.
One of the most COVID-friendly routes you could take would be going virtual with your celebrations. Find a time that works best for everyone. You could even arrange to have some goodies delivered to employees’ homes to enjoy during the video call. For an added element of fun, host a virtual raffle or awards banquet.
Finally, go social with your celebration! ANCOR compiled a comprehensive list of copy-and-paste posts to help you easily promote DSP Week and share your appreciation for your employees’ hard work with the world. You can also highlight individual team members across your channels throughout the week – sharing their photo with some fun facts like how long they’ve been with your organization, one of their hobbies, or something as simple as their favorite thing about being a DSP.
As you can see, there are plenty of safe and fun ways to celebrate your staff and I can’t wait to see them all unfold throughout #DSPRW2020.
We really can't say it enough: thank you for everything that you and your staff are doing in the fight against COVID-19.