Frontline Initiative DSP Recognition

Direct Care Certificate:
NHR Salutes its Graduates


Jerilynne Smith is the Human Resources Coordinator at New Horizons Resources, Inc.

Congratulations to New Horizon’s latest graduates: Stacey Alexander, Sonia Grant, Alfonso Johnson, Brooke McNally, Winsome Hope Badroe, and Barbara Delventura! Extra congratulations to Stacey as she is also the first person in New York State to achieve journeyworker status by completing the Direct Support Professional (DSP) apprenticeship program through New Horizons. New Horizons is a member of the Mid-Hudson Coalition, which is discussed in other articles in this issue of Frontline Initiative.

On May 29, 2007 New Horizons Resources (NHR) honored recent graduates Stacey, Sonia, Alfonso, and Brooke by celebrating at the River Station in Poughkeepsie, New York (see photo above). Hope and Barbara were honored at later dates. NHR is proud to increase wages for employees with these educational achievements to recognize their hard work and newly acquired training. Currently, the hourly differential for DSPs who obtain Direct Care Certificate I is $0.33 and the Direct Care Certificate II is an additional $0.34, leading to a total of $0.67. Apprentices who attain journeyworker status earn an additional $1.39 per hour.

Although finding a balance between school and work can be difficult, our graduates had nothing but good things to say about the certificate program as a whole. “It was hard work, but it gave me better insight into the individuals we work with… It shifts the focus to them and enables you to help them better,” says graduate Sonia Grant. Graduates also expressed appreciation for NHR’s support during the process. NHR offered many types of support from flexible scheduling to motivating employees to continually better themselves. In addition, NHR covers the cost of tuition. Graduate Alfonso Johnson cites individuals in the agency as part of his motivation. There are other employees whom he, “looks up to as inspiration – they encourage me to keep striving.” The program offers employees the opportunity to advance in the field of human services and a sense of personal satisfaction. Mr. Johnson says that helping others makes him feel complete and gives him a Agency Perspective sense of accomplishment. He is also motivated by his children: “They see me doing good and they want to do good.” 

Barbara says that she has learned so much in her eight years with New Horizons and that is due, in part, to this certificate program. She recommends the experience to everyone and believes the advantages are worth the time commitment and effort. “It really expands your growth in the field because you learn so much that you might not otherwise be exposed to in your day-to-day job,” she said. “The courses take you to another level.”

Stacey Alexander, who earned the Direct Care Certificate I and II and journeyworker status simultaneously, says, “My college education only enhances my appreciation of the DSP.”

Well, your achievements (and the achievements of ALL of our Direct Support Professionals!) only enhance New Horizons’ appreciation of YOU. Dedicated employees, such as these graduates, serve as an inspiration for the rest of the agency. Please congratulate Stacey, Sonia, Alfonso, and Brooke on their accomplishments and for serving as role models of NHR’s Unifying Principles (Learning)!