Dear Editor:

Sept. 8-14, 2019 is National Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week, a time for our community to honor the more than 25,000 dedicated, innovative professionals who support more than 93,000 individuals in Maryland with differing abilities.

Direct Support Professionals work daily to improve the lives of people with differing abilities in many ways. They help them learn life skills, involve them in community activities, assist them on the job and help them engage socially to build meaningful relationships. They are the core of the services provided by agencies like The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) and their efforts impact not only those they support, but the families of those individuals. My daughter has received support for 12 years and has built a strong bond with her DSP who helps bring her a richer community life experience each day.

As chair of the Foundation Board of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, I see the meaningful time spent hiring and training individuals for their role as a DSP. The job comes with a number of responsibilities, but those who do the work help those they support live, work and thrive in the community.

The work of DSPs is vital. As budget discussions around the Kirwan funding for education needs build, tell your legislators the next phase of the process needs to include funding for Supports and those with differing abilities. For more information, call Sara Garbarino at The Arc NCR at 410-837-7177.

Respectfully,

Kathy Proctor

Churchville

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