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TVS celebrates Direct Support Professionals for National Recognition Week

TVS celebrates Direct Support Professionals for National Recognition Week

“Our DSPs at TVS are life changers,” said Brooke Wilson, INTERACT Supervisor. “They are the heart and soul of all our programs.”

In honor of Direct Support Professionals (DSP) week, Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) has planned a Superhero themed pizza party for their DSP, as well as, other Superhero themed gifts and recognitions.

DSP week is a way to nationally recognize all direct support workforce supporting people with disabilities. A DSP is defined by Wilson as, “a person who truly cares, commits themselves, and values their job or purpose. They have the best job ever walking alongside the most amazing folks as they explore, grow, and change the world – one day at a time.”

You might have seen TVS DSPs volunteering with participants at the local animal shelter or participating in a Rotary Club sponsored 5K or even a DSP supporting a client working at a local business.

“TVS always recognizes the DSPs year-round,” said Wilson. “But this week is a way to celebrate each individual DSP with the recognition of all the extraordinary, unique gifts and talents that they bring to our participants and each other.”

TVS currently staffs almost 30 DSPs that provides supports to two separate day programs (INTERACT and Life Skills), two residential group homes, individuals living home in their own homes, and numerous individuals with jobs in our community.

It is hard to describe a job that does not fit into a box, however, DSPs at TVS are a little bit of everything including; teachers, nurse assistants, chauffeurs, Zen Masters, exercise instructors, and more. “The most important duty of a DSP is safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of the participants,” said Carla Hill, TVS Programs Manager. “Followed by ensuring that each participant is living their best life, whatever that means to each individual.”

TVS DSPs have a willingness to be challenged, a heart for all individuals, and have their own talents worth sharing. Hill says, “When they find that talent, it is a spark of magic and you can see how meaningful it all is. They bring their own unique talents to our team.”

“Every day I get to see the excitement and enthusiasm that our DSPs bring to their jobs to assist individuals,” said Hill. “They build relationships with individuals and share in the experiences and exposures that may not be an opportunity without the support of our awesome DSPs.”

TVS DSPs are engaged with people 24/7. “They are a very significant part of the lives of the people we support,” said Hill. “The most challenging part of the job is keeping a tough boundary with a therapeutic verses friend relationship.  With a huge heart, I thank all our DSPs for what they do to ensure that TVS participants are treated with respect and dignity.”

Highlighting all their dedicated and hard work Program Manager Suzanne Byers said, “we work hard to make sure our DSPs are well-trained and focused on person-centered services.”

Byers continues, “We recognize it is a difficult job as a manager or a supervisor and we want to do everything we can to support staff so they can support participants. Without DSPs individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and their families would struggle to find the supports they need.” 

Currently there is a DSP workforce crisis. There is a high demand for services with no workers to fill the spots and limited recognition for those working in those jobs. “We continue to promote Direct Support Professionals as a recognized career,” said Byers.

If you see a TVS DSP out in the community stop and let them know how appreciated they are.

Read the Press Release from the Transylvania Times here. 

 

TVS sponsors Cornhole Tournament!

TVS sponsors Cornhole Tournament!

TVS was proud to sponsor the first annual cornhole tournament with the Rotary Club of Brevard. TVS hosted the event on Saturday, June 11 and had eight teams in the competition. Six of the teams were composed of INTERACT participants and Direct Support Professionals and the other two teams were TVS employees. 

The TVS teams included The Cornadoes, The Blue Devils, The Fireballs, Super Women, Thundercats, Rein Free, J & K, and The Replacements.

It was beautiful weather for the double elimination tournament. Food was catered by Hawg Wild BBQ before the final match started. Walking away with trophies was TVS employee team, J & K, James Gardin and Kyle Leahy.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support the Brevard Rotary and TVS INTERACT participants, we hope to do it again!

‘No Limits’ Artists Show at TCArts

‘No Limits’ Artists Show at TCArts

TVS ‘No Limits’ artists opens their first art show of 2022 at the Transylvania County Art Council (TC Arts). The exhibit titled, “Across the Land” features drawings, paintings, crafts, and furniture.

The opening reception was held on Thursday, February 24 and will remain open to the public through March 19.

The community is invited to visit TC Arts during gallery hours, Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. TC Arts is located at 349 S. Caldwell St, Brevard.

 

Click here to read the Transylvania Times article

Carla Hill celebrates 15 years at TVS

Carla Hill celebrates 15 years at TVS

“When I first contacted Carla Hill 15 years ago, I wanted her recommendation on who to hire for a new position being created at TVS. I didn’t dream that I could hire her, so the next best thing was her top recommendation,” said former TVS CEO Nancy Stricker. “I thought I had won the lottery when she called me back expressing interest in the job.”

It was a transition period at TVS in 2006. The new job position as Program Manager was created to help transition from state funding to Medicaid funding to support services.

“There were new rules and regulations, and I knew Carla would (and did) lead us through that time in our growth,” said Nancy. She laughed saying, “No matter what changes came, I knew Carla could read it, understand it and explain it to me, thus keeping me from going to jail.”

After 15 years, Carla continues growing and expanding the programs at TVS as the Program Director. When first hired, Carla was in charge of the Life Skills program, the INTERACT program (previously known as ADVP) with individuals working under the 14C contract, and Employment Services. All of these were significantly smaller and have evolved into the programs we have today.

Since being hired, TVS programs have expanded to include two residential facilities in 2010 and branched out into local high schools with the Pre-Employment Transitions Services (Pre-ETS) program in 2019.

Employment Services has developed to support 50 individuals at any given time. One individual has been receiving support of 15 years and another has been successfully employed for 20 years after receiving services from Employment Specialists.

“Carla’s communication and willingness to adjust to VR requirements has helped build a fantastic working relationship,” said Lenora Mathis, Regional CRP Specialist at the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. “She is a great partner to work with and we are lucky to have such a strong leader who knows how to get things done.”

Lenora has been working with Carla over the last 15 years. She said, “As Carla learned about services, she was patient, diligent and always made sure everything she and her staff did for clients was very high quality. Her effectiveness in her job is obvious in the performance of TVS’ VR contract.”

As TVS programs have grown, so has Carla. “I am introverted but I feel like I’ve had to force myself outside of that to be more comfortable,” she said. “I am not good with on-the-spot responses but I have learned that taking my time is important because I need to consider everyone that would be impacted; including individuals served and staff.”

Reflecting on her favorite memories, Carla talks about breaking down the stigma associated with 14C and the growth of the Employment Services within the community. 

“What has been extremely meaningful to me, has been reinventing what we now call INTERACT,” said Carla. “It is all about thinking about the individuals you support, and making sure they are part of the plan.”

Prior to working at TVS, Carla worked in the field of mental health for her entire career. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Master Degree in Social Work and moved around to California and Indiana before relocating back to North Carolina with her two children. 

Carla has a love of theatre, and when she is not working you might find her performing or watching a theatrical performance. She also enjoys walking, hiking and working out at the local CrossFit.

“Carla is a beast at CrossFit and is always motivated to push herself and others at the gym and in her personal life,” said Employment Specialist Megan Pilley. “Carla is always there to support me, whether it is at the gym or in my personal and work life.”

Looking ahead, Carla plans to continue attending webinars to stay up-to-date with rules and regulations and to continue serving more people. She says, “The rest of my career here, I will continue being a ‘servant leader’ and will continue to encourage and help DSP’s and Employment Specialists grow and develop new skills. I want to be a support resource for anyone that needs it.”

 

Celebrating NADSP membership during DSP week

Celebrating NADSP membership during DSP week

Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) has been a member of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) since 2019. Our membership to the NADSP reflects value in TVS Direct Support Professionals (DSP) as professionals in the field. It is important to maintain a connection with an organization that promotes DSPs.

With National DSP Week coming to an end, TVS wants to give thanks to the hardworking DSPs that keep our Programs and Services thriving. We celebrate DSPs with this special week, but we honor and appreciate them year-round working at the heart of the TVS mission.

“It was important for us to affiliate with an organization that legitimizes the profession, speaks to its significance, and offers accessible information that provides training, support, and standards for this field.  DSPs are not Personal Care Aides, as the current Department of Labor – Standard of Occupational Classification has them classified,” said Program Director Carla Hill. “DSPs are hired to support the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life through the provision of person-centered supports, to make informed decisions, and to support individuals to live the meaningful lives that they choose.”  

The NADSP values the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life through the provision of person-centered supports; with a mission to elevate the status of DSPs by improving practice standards, promoting system reform, and advancing their knowledge, skills and values.

The NADSP provides a code of ethics that sets expectations for DSPs. This is a core of competencies that lists the skill requirements and standardizes of the professional field.

Through this membership, TVS DSPs are also able to participate in trainings and webinars that are specific to working with individuals who live with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Learn more about the NADSP at https://nadsp.org/.