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Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week
August 7, 2014

The 2014 Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week is September 7-13. The US Senate has issued a proclamation and at RCPA’s request, Governor Corbett has issued a Pennsylvania proclamation in recognition of direct support works.
In addition, RCPA members that employ direct support professionals (DSPs) in the intellectual, developmental, and other disability service systems are asked to contact local media outlets and county governments to generate coverage of DSP Week. It is critical that community providers remind the public of the important work these staff members provide.

This national advocacy campaign is coordinated by ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources) which has resources and ideas available (www.ancor.org). A variety of DSP celebration ideas to celebrate this week include:

  • Staff appreciation
    • Appreciation Lunch or Barbeque
    • Gifts for DSPs: gift card, hat, t-shirt
    • Ice Cream Social
    • Thank You cakes
    • Car wash for DSPs put on by administrators
    • Invite elected officials to your programs to meet the DSPs
  • Family fun
    • Family Night with games and movies
    • Family photo albums created for DSPs
    • Family Thank You cards for DSPs
    • Walk, Run, or Roll event

To assist members in this recognition, RCPA has developed several templates which may be customized by each agency for use to reach out to the public and media:

  • Request letter for counties – This letter requests that a county or locality designate September 7-13 as DSP Week. The request should be sent along with the proclamation.
  • Reporter/editor pitch email – this email is designed to be sent on August 29 to alert the media that DSP Week is approaching and ask them to consider writing a story about your agency’s DSPs. Members are asked to send the email to any reporter or editor in their regions.
  • Sample Press Release – The press release announcing DSP Week is to be sent on September 2. This release is aimed at smaller publications that cannot assign a reporter to write a story. This includes community newspapers, radio stations, and any other local media outlet.

Members are asked to customize the pitch letter and press release to include agency information and an anecdote that describes the agency’s services and the role of the DSP.  RCPA is also interested in featuring agency recognition activities about DSP staff in future issues of RCPA News. Please share your stories and photos with Linda Drummond (ldrummond@paproviders.org).

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