Frontline Initiative John F. Kennedy Jr. Tribute

Frontline Notes

It never hurts to have friends in high places. For the hundreds of thousands of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) across the nation and indeed across the world, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was one of those friends. His death is a tragedy for his family and friends and a great loss to all those whose lives he touched directly and indirectly through his civic work. This edition of Frontline Initiative is devoted to the memory of John and his contribution to the profession of direct support. 

While much of the impact John had in improving the status and opportunities for DSPs happened through the Kennedy Fellows program in New York, there were other activities of his Reaching Up Foundation, Inc. His influence was felt more broadly through support to publications related to DSP issues (such as this newsletter), through sponsorship of public policy forums, and by bringing his name, his status, and his familiar face to these important issues. 

For those of you who knew John, we hope that these articles reflect at least a little of what you knew to be his many contributions to this field. For those of you who weren’t familiar with his work in this area, we hope you take some time to read these articles and get a better sense of how much he cared about forwarding the cause of the DSP.

When you lose a friend, sometimes you have to become a better friend to yourself. It’s time for DSPs to look beyond their own walls, as Kennedy Fellow Cindy Mowris did, and to take the opportunity to let the world know that the skills, knowledge and attitudes it takes to excel at direct support work are the same attributes that make for better parents, neighbors, and citizens. This is your forum. Let us hear from you.

Our next edition will feature articles about diversity in our typical features and columns format but in an expanded 16 pages. We welcome two new editors, Nicole Lei and John Jendro, with this edition and say good-bye to editor Tom Beers. We wish Tom good luck with his future ventures. We greatly appreciated his efforts and commitment to Frontline Initiative.