Being a Direct Support Professional (DSP) takes a special kind of person – one that Sam King says must be able to improvise, be flexible, and have resiliency. For the past decade, Sam has demonstrated all of this, all while being dependable and committed to TVS program participants and coworkers.
“Sam is correct about all these traits, and he displays these skills in his work. Nothing is ever unchanging when working with people, and you must be prepared to go with the flow and possibly turn on a dime,” said Program Director Carla Hill. “Sam has definitely developed these abilities in the dynamic environment where we work. He continues sharing his skills and talents to the delight of our participants and his coworkers.”
Before starting at TVS as an DSP in 2011, Sam worked as a DSP at other agencies in Transylvania County. “I really enjoyed the work and appreciated gaining knowledge about each individual’s personality and hobbies,” Sam said.
“Sam has not only been serving TVS but more importantly the participants in our programs,” reflected Carla. “When he first started at TVS, he had training as an EMT and was also active in the Tennessee National Guard. He would be called to serve one weekend a month with his unit in Tennessee and two weeks a year somewhere in the US to keep his skills sharp. You can see why I was excited to bring him on board.”
Sam also volunteered his free time as a first responder in Transylvania County.
Growing up Sam was an active member of the Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout award in 2001. He moved to Brevard from Atlanta, Georgia to attend Brevard College. In 2008, Sam graduated with a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education (WLEE). “I really wanted to bring these experiences here and share my love of the great outdoors with the INTERACT program,” he said. “I enjoy the ‘real world’ experiences that are provided by us going out in the community and doing so many different activities.”
INTERACT Supervisor Jeanette Wayne said, “Sam diligently advocates with participants and strives to enrich their lives with meaningful activities and opportunities. He generously shares his talents and skills, especially in the areas of nature and music.”
Rein, or just playing some cornhole at the Railroad Depot.
“Sam brings a light-hearted humor to all situations,” said INTERACT Activities Coordinator Brooke Wilson. Brook has worked with Sam for the past 7 years.
“He is an advocate for all people and is a good listener for participants and coworkers,” she continues. “Sam has become more like a family member over the years because he genuinely cares about people and living life.”
Another aspect that Sam brings to the INTERACT program is his love of music. He teaches the music club in INTERACT. “I genre-hop and factor in what club members enjoy to help create the classes,” he said.
Currently, Sam has a newer hobby that involves learning new skills with a turn table.
“Sam is a great worker. I enjoy learning about different styles of music from him. Sam is a great friend and always is here to listen to me,” said INTERACT participant Jay.
Looking ahead, Sam has no plans on leaving the beautiful Brevard area or TVS. His reasons for staying include some of the same reasons that brought him here originally; stable pay, mileage payback, in-house insurances, and more growth opportunities.
And with more opportunities comes growth, even if that takes time. “I am currently a level 3 out of 4 DSP,” he explains. “Getting a level 4 certification will take me awhile because being a DSP is a full-time requirement.”
Reflecting back on the last 10 years Sam says, “I enjoy the challenges that come with the job and continuing to learn new skills. We have a great team of DSP’s and we all have our own skills that we bring to the program.”