Updated: Jan 26
Ricky Johnson with a person he supports
Our stories have all mentioned how amazing and kindhearted direct support professionals are. However, now during this COVID-19 pandemic, these caregivers are going above and beyond in caring for their individuals.
When COVID-19 first hit the United States, the Arc of Griffin discontinued their day service, to keep as many people as healthy as they could. This was a big blow to direct support professionals and individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities because it entirely changed their routine. Before coronavirus, individuals and DSPs would mostly use the Arc’s center as a meeting place before the day’s activities. Activities would range from bowling, going out to eat, attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies in their area, and even training for a 5K. These activities are so important because it gets the individuals into their community. Without these activities and not being in the community, this sector of the population is traditionally forgotten about, especially now.
Even though DSPs are no longer seeing individuals daily, they are still checking in and making sure they have everything they need. One of the DSPs at the Arc of Griffin is Ricky Johnson. Every day Ricky has called all of the people he supports and talked to them. However, he could not reach one gentleman. So, Ricky got in his car and drove to the man’s house. When he got there, it turned out that the phone had disconnected, and Ricky fixed it so they could continue talking daily. Ricky is just one example of the hard work DSPs put in and how much love they pour into their job.
Now more than ever the campaign of They Deserve More is important. These direct support professionals are putting the health of themselves, their families, and the individuals they support in danger because they cannot afford to miss a day of work and many do not even have health insurance. During these hard times please keep these caregivers in mind and remember that even in this uncertainty they still put the people they support above all else. Go out and be more like Ricky and spread hope and happiness.