Find One

Our industry has an issue concerning hiring Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). We need to hire at least 300 people to help us accomplish the important work of providing children and adults with everyday lives and meaningful opportunities. We face various challenges to achieve this goal; we need new ideas and to think and act differently.

I know what most of you are thinking: this job does not pay enough. This job is not something you think you’re capable of doing. And you would be right; this job doesn’t pay well on one account. But in case, that is, it does pay off in rewards of the spirit and the joy in the impact.

Rest assured, we are advocating to raise the pay because Direct Services are something anybody can accomplish if we think outside of the box. So, let’s get to thinking.

Here is one idea for adults: Daysharing.

What if a person from the community could be matched according to mutual interests? Then they’d establish lifelong friendships. Daysharing is an excellent program that matches KenCrest clients with individuals from our communities who have a mutual interest. It allows them to meet in person or virtually to pursue that interest. Any individuals interested in Daysharing are trained remotely and paid an hourly rate.

Here is an example of what a Daysharing partnership looks like:

Larry is a retired software engineer who volunteers three times a week at the local shelter walking dogs. He sees his mission as helping these dogs get adopted. Larry believes in inclusion; he had a brother with an intellectual disability who passed away years ago. So, when a KenCrest staffer contacted Larry’s church about Daysharing, he immediately signed up.

He passed the screening, took the online training to become a Daysharing provider, and John became his partner. John is a KenCrest client in one of our homes; he loves dogs but is not up for caring for one full-time.

At first, the group home staff dropped John off at the shelter once a week, but now Larry picks up John from his home and brings him to the shelter. They walk the dogs and spend time together as friends.

Daysharing providers are given an hourly rate for their time, and Larry is no different. But, while some Daysharers use the money to pay bills, Larry uses it to pay for coffee and muffins for himself and John.

When asked why Larry does this, he says it is like being with his brother again, and it feels good to do something that benefits the community. When we asked John, he said he thinks Larry is funny and he’s like a brother to him. The dogs are a plus!

There are currently 1800 KenCrest employees, and we need 300 Larrys. We ought to be able to figure that out. Here are some options:

  1. Read about a true Daysharing experience that has blossomed into something wonderful on the KenCrest blog: Two Pennsylvania Friends Reconnect Through Day Sharing
  2. Take the Daysharing information to your place of worship or community groups.
  3. Invite Jen Cooper to speak at an organization where you enjoy fellowship or fun.
  4. Ask a retiree you know if they have some time to spare, and be clear about the benefits.
  5. Tell stories about the people we support, emphasize the everyday connections and the joys of gardening, taking walks, bowling, etc.

There are enough people to do the work; we have to do it. Our work will make you rich in caring relationships, rich in happiness from impacting someone else’s life, and rich in loving your neighbor.

It is true, what they say, that you can’t take money with you when you go, but while you are here, you are indeed rich.