REGION: 5 - Brooklyn
DSP Nomination Name: Kevin Lee
Position: Developmental Assistant II
Years of Service: 10
Kevin Lee was selected by Brooklyn as Direct Support Professional of the Year not only because he is exceptional and professional at his job, but because he is also a staunch advocate for the people he supports.
“Kevin is a fierce advocate for the people he supports at the home where he works,” says Kerline Bolivar, House Manager. “He will go above and beyond to ensure they have needed supports and services.”
As an example of this, Bolivar said Kevin has served as the main point of contact regarding one person with a complex and serious medical condition. He provides updates to team members, liaises with the person’s family, attends appointments and advocates for her needs, ensuring her wishes are always known.
“He is meticulous in his follow up and ensures everyone has the most current and correct information,” Bolivar adds.
Kevin sets an example at the house, she says. He has been the intermediary for everyone to ensure all parties have accurate information. He advocates to hear this person’s wishes, thoughts and concerns, particularly related to her diagnosis.
At an appointment recently, Kevin went to rehab to accompany her with rehab staff, in preparation for her discharge back to his home. Rehab failed to secure transportation. As rehab staff could not go in our agency van, Kevin ended up pushing the person in a wheelchair 10 blocks in Manhattan to ensure she did not miss her appointment.
“He has stayed late to ensure her comfort,” Bolivar says. “Kevin has signed in during his day off – after working a double – so he could participate in a meeting about this person’s supports.”
“His level of commitment and compassion to ensure she is comfortable during her medical crisis is not only admirable as a staff person, but it shows his level of commitment to those he supports, particularly when they need it the most,” she adds.
Kevin advocates to ensure his residents have community inclusion and a safe and welcoming home He is prompt and responsive to ensuring staff are trained and equipped to support the people at the home where he works. Moreover, his commitment to ensuring their voices are heard is paramount.
“He will patiently wait and allow a person to speak their mind and require others to do the same. He ensures that our mission is not simply person-centered, but person directed.”
Kevin is also an example for new staff who are trying to navigate the complexities of encouraging advocacy for those who struggle to communicate.
“Kevin has been a pleasure to have as one of the house supervisors,” says Bolivar. “He takes the initiative when necessary to ensure that all people receive the services that are due to them. He has always been a strong advocate for the people, standing side-by-side and pushing forward for change and positivity for the residents in the home where he works.”
He extends himself to staff at the home, ensuring the daily operations and the needs of the home get completed and the working environment is pleasant, safe and remains as professional as possible.
Kevin sums it up himself when he says, “Seeing the people happy and assisting them to reach their full potential makes me feel like I make a difference in their lives.”