About the team
DDSOO REGION: 5
DSP Team Name: East 59th Street Day Hab
Worksite: East 59th Street Day Hab, New York City
Number of Members: 36
Nominated by: Dawn Wilson, Deputy Director of State Operations
Why was this team selected for this DSP honor?
The East 59th Steet Day Habilitation Team makes the day program a fun place to be, according to Deputy Director Dawn Wilson. They go out of their way on a daily basis to make the program day engaging and fun. However, she says, it’s the EXTRA that they are being nominated for.
“The team plans amazing outings and celebrations such as a huge multi-cultural exhibition for Black History Month, an interactive lunch for Nutrition Month, a Thanksgiving Feast in a local restaurant, a Holiday Celebration and Luncheon, a Color Picnic, a Summer Festival, a Sip and Paint event, a guided tour of the Bronx Zoo’s special exhibits, a Holiday Decorating Contest, etc.,” Wilson adds. “It is all these extras where the people we serve are centered and incorporated in every step of planning. They enjoy the engagement of the preparation, but then get to enjoy the spoils of their work and effort. The staff foster this and ensure each event is successful and enjoyable for those supported.”
What sets this team apart from others?
Most day programs serve to engage people in goals and activities throughout the day. It is meant to be meaningful, but it is typically staff driven effort that people benefit from.
“The East 59th Street Day Habilitation goes the extra mile in planning incredible interactive events with the people they support,” says Wilson.
The most recent event was a color picnic (which is an Instagram trend) where each classroom voted and decided on a color, associated mascot and then proceeded to choose items to decorate and fill their color picnic basket. Staff had color specific shirts made so people could show their classroom spirit, and shirts showcasing all mascots for the administrative team.
“People donned their special attire, had a lovely barbeque lunch and enjoyed all the colorful snacks they helped curate and arrange. SOO leadership was invited to participate and it was an absolute joy,” Wilson adds.
Additionally, in the winter, the day program put on a celebration for Black History month for the entire DDSO/DDRO/Unions to watch, enjoy and partake. Dance exhibitions, a fashion show, educational skits in full costume with props were all part of the event. Staff worked with people, rehearsing lines and painting sets for weeks. The people we support were able to build pride in their skills and show them to administration, as well as their family, friends and community.
“The event was educational entertainment that was the brainchild of the amazing team of East 59th Street,” Wilson says.
What specifically has the team done to support OPWDD’s mission of helping people with developmental disabilities live richer lives?
Day program is not just a place people go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is a place they look forward to going, a place their ideas are encouraged and enhanced, says Wilson.
“The staff put so much energy and enthusiasm into making the daily events enjoyable. But the elevation of the larger planned events allows people to have something to look forward to and to be part of,” she adds. And not just in the sense of the audience but rather as the star of the event, or the author or the illustrator. The day program provides purpose which can be forgotten when providing services.”
“The East 59th Street Day Habilitation program serves as an example of 'people first' programming through innovation, imaginatio, and excitement,” Wilson concludes.