Nurses Week Spotlight: Miranda Desmond and Brittany Calhoun

In Maiden, NC, an RHA Health Services team of dedicated professionals shape the lives of those they serve every day. This Nurses Week, Miranda Desmond, RN, and Brittany Calhoun, LPN, two nurses with unique journeys, share their stories of passion and purpose working at RHA. 

Having been an IDD Nurse at RHA for three years, Miranda remains deeply connected to her work and the individuals she supports. She purposefully journeyed back to serving the IDD population after starting a family and found a role that allows her to provide compassionate care. “Here at RHA, you always have that opportunity to make someone smile, make their day,” Miranda remarks.   

One of Miranda’s most recent, rewarding experiences has been building a top-notch nursing department in Maiden, NC. Her valued team includes Pam, Cassie, Brittany, and Savannah. Miranda says, “I couldn’t ask for a better team. They’re more than just nurses and clerks. They’re amazing people too.” As a unit, they are constantly in collaboration to come up with a plan to help best support the health and safety of all the people supported. 

“When I applied at RHA, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I didn’t technically know what IDD stood for,” admits Brittany. “Now, these individuals are practically family to me, and I absolutely love it.” Beyond addressing their disabilities, Brittany focuses on nurturing the individuals she serves abilities and fostering a sense of self-reliance. 

Joshua Correll, a person served at RHA Health Services in Maiden, NC, shares his gratitude for the nursing team’s support. “I like to see my buddy, Brittany. The nurses are nice. They make sure I’m fed. A long time ago, I hurt my knee. They had to wrap it in an ace bandage,” shares Joshua. 

For Brittany, every day presents an opportunity to infuse love and compassion into the lives of the individuals enrolled in the Maiden Day Program. She reflects, “I’ve personally grown as a nurse. I remember being shy and, in my shell, and this [role] helped me come out of my shell and made me a more confident nurse.”  

Miranda and Brittany’s ongoing journey at RHA Health Services serves as an inspiration for aspiring IDD nurses. Their unwavering dedication to nursing excellence beyond Nurses Week continues to enrich the Maiden community, leaving a lasting impact on those they serve. 

To learn more about nursing opportunities at RHA Health Services, visit rhajobs.com. 

Julie McNeil Nominated for Marion Lindblad-Goldberg Award

Julie McNeil, M.S. has been nominated for the prestigious Marion Lindblad-Goldberg Award, recognizing her exemplary work improving the lives of families through ecosystemic structural family therapy as a Mental Health Professional with RHA Health Services. The award, named in honor of Dr. Marion Lindblad-Goldberg, celebrates professionals in Pennsylvania who embody her visionary approach to family therapy.

A driving force behind Julie’s success is her dedication to her own growth and development. Rachel Fritz, RHA Behavioral Health Team Leader, testified, “Julie is very much able to stay slow in the face of the pressure. She doesn’t allow a family’s intensity to affect her direction and treatment in that moment. She really worked on that.”

In her ecosystem and with the families that she works, Julie remains open to guidance and direction and is willing to enact change in herself for the betterment of the families. “I have worked with Julie for over three years. She always works to improve, and she always is moving forward. She takes criticism with positivity and turns it into something to work on.” said Lisa Freese, RHA Mental Health Worker.

Throughout her career, Julie has demonstrated a commitment to meeting families where they are, understanding their unique challenges, and guiding them towards lasting change. “Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had this passion to help people. Whether it’s a friend, family, or someone off the street, I’ve always wanted to be there to help them. Being honored by my peers is such an honor. I can’t even begin to describe what it means to me,” said Julie McNeil.

Julie’s nomination for the Marion Lindblad-Goldberg Award is a testament to her profound impact. RHA Health Services is proud to have Julie McNeil on our team and support her work in the Mental Health community. 

To learn more about Julie McNeil and ecosystemic structural family therapy, visit pcfttc.com.

From Clinician to NC Behavioral Health Director – Rachel Kilgore Shares What It’s Like to Work for RHA

Rachel Kilgore, Behavioral Health Director for the Concord and Lexington offices in North Carolina, began her career at RHA providing direct support. Nearly nine years and four positions later, Kilgore interviews and hires candidates to fill a wide variety of Behavioral Health positions in her offices. We interviewed her to learn more about her career path and the available jobs at RHA. 

 

Why did you apply to work for RHA? 

I love the values, the mission, the core of this company; I love the fact that we treat the people we serve like they are a part of our RHA family.   

During your time working here, have you experienced any opportunities for career advancement? 

One of the things I value most about RHA is the opportunity for growth. I began my career at RHA in Wilmington as a clinician in a facility-based crisis center. I have worked in four different positions, moving from direct support to leadership. This November, I will celebrate 9 years working with RHA, and I’m really proud of that accomplishment. 

What inspires you about your work in Behavioral Health services? 

I’m inspired by seeing the difference we make in individuals’ lives. If RHA’s services did not exist, many people we support would likely be hospitalized, institutionalized, or struggle in some way to find quality of life. We make a huge impact, and I just love being a part of it. My career is rewarding because I get to see and experience the positive outcomes of the individuals we serve. 

Tell me about a favorite memory you have working for RHA. 

While working in Wilmington, one individual consistently came in and out of the facility-based crisis center. Essentially, inpatient detox had become a recurring part of her addiction process. After several admissions, I sat down with her to have a conversation. I asked her about her goals and what she envisioned for her life. She told me that she didn’t care for herself because she didn’t feel like anyone else cared about her. Through further conversation and discussing some treatment options, she decided to explore our Substance Use Intensive Outpatient Program. She successfully graduated! I remember being at the graduation in tears (because that’s just who I am), and I asked her how she was able to successfully graduate from the program. She said that when I, a person who did not know her, showed her empathy and care, she began to want more for her life and to take better care of herself

How would you describe RHA’s work culture and environment? 

RHA allows us the opportunity to expand our wings, learn, grow, and develop. In each office I’ve worked in, I’ve I felt that the culture is that of a work family, not just a workplace. 

Since you are involved in the interview and hiring process, what qualities do you look for in potential candidates? 

I look for people who are honest, trustworthy, and can work both independently and within groups.
Since we rely on every team member to be committed to providing quality services, I look for people who are passionate about the work that we do at RHA. We work with people, so it’s important that potential candidates have a passion and a drive for Behavioral Health services. 

What kinds of jobs are available in Behavioral Health services? 

We are looking to hire many positions! We have open positions for associate professionals, which are entry-level positions for people with bachelor’s degrees. We also have open positions for qualified professionals, which require either a bachelor’s degree in the human service field and two years of experience or a bachelor’s degree in another field and four years of experience. We are always seeking licensed clinicians. We are also always seeking peer support specialists, who are people with first-hand recovery experience willing to help others in recovery. 

Why should someone consider applying to work in Behavioral Health services with RHA? 

RHA is a growing, passionate company. Because we thrive by retaining our employees, RHA offers opportunities for career advancement and incentives for continuing education. Honestly, I have stayed at RHA for almost nine years because I have fun here! I’m loyal to RHA because I believe in this company. I tell anyone who will listen how much I love my job and the people I work with. 

Are you or someone you know seeking a fulfilling opportunity to provide mental health and substance use services? Visit rhajobs.com to explore RHA’s open jobs and apply today! 

RHA Health Services Announces New President and Chief Operating Officer

 

Jennifer Lineberger Promoted to RHA’s President

Please join us in extending congratulations to Jennifer Lineberger, who has been appointed as the President of RHA effective March 1, 2024. Jennifer started as a direct support staff before embarking on her career at RHA in 1998, progressing through various roles such as Administrator, VP, and RHA’s Chief Operating Officer since 2009.

As Jennifer assumes the role of President, she brings with her a remarkable blend of business acumen, integrity-driven leadership with a touch of wit, and a steadfast commitment to keeping people at the center of all we do. With these guiding principles, Jennifer is dedicated to fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and collaboration.

Jennifer’s leadership has fostered growth for others, and she is committed to nurturing talent and empowering individuals within our organization to reach their full potential.

The organization is honored to have Jennifer leading the way, and we are confident that under her leadership, we will continue to achieve remarkable success and make a positive impact in the industry.

 

RHA Welcomes Robert Ham As Chief Operating Officer- IDD Services

We are delighted to announce the newest addition to our RHA family, Robert Ham. With a rich background in various facets of supporting individuals with IDD, Robert brings a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for making a difference.

From his humble beginnings as a DSP to his leadership roles overseeing IDD supports in different states, his journey reflects a deep commitment to serving others. Robert’s approach to leadership, rooted in building strong teams, fostering trust, and promoting transparent communication, perfectly aligns with RHA’s core values.

On a personal note, Robert holds a BBA in Accounting and an MBA, and is a retired CPA licensed in TX. Together with his wife Jenny, they enjoy music, travel, and spending time with family and friends. While Jenny is deeply involved in dog agility competitions with their dog Tango, Tango hasn’t quite developed the same passion yet!

Having been acquainted with RHA for many years, Robert has long admired our organization’s dedication to quality and excellence in IDD support services. With Robert joining our team, we are confident that we will continue to uphold these standards and make a positive impact in the lives of the individuals we support.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Robert as he embarks on this new journey with RHA on March 4, 2024.

Kristen Irwin, RN, MSN: In the Spotlight

Here at RHA Health Services, we employ a diverse staff of compassionate, knowledgeable people that change lives across many states. Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Kristen Irwin, a dedicated nurse with over 8 years of experience working at RHA who just received her master’s degree with a Capstone Certificate of Excellence. With her compassionate demeanor and wealth of knowledge, Kristen offers us a unique insight into the world of nursing – a role that stays at the heart of RHA’s healthcare system.  

Q: How did you decide to enter the field of nursing?  

Kristen Irwin: Before I entered the healthcare space, I was working in retail. I knew I always wanted to go into healthcare because I’ve always had the heart and the passion to help other people and an interest in the medical aspect of life and science.  

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your journey into nursing at RHA?  

Kristen: My first year with RHA, I was working in one of our medical residential homes in Knoxville, Tennessee, where they had nurses on staff 24/7 to support two individuals there. The people supported were where I found my calling. IDD became my passion and my career. Many of the other employees that worked in the home had been there for a while, and that really stood out to me. My supervisor in the beginning was a home manager and she was wonderful and willing to do whatever was needed to support me.  

Q: What is your role at RHA Health Services today?  

Kristen: When I earned my RN degree, I transitioned from working as an LPN at the medical residential home to a role at the Knoxville, Tennessee, clinical team office. It was an exciting transition for me as I had never been in a clinical team role or worked in an office setting before. The people that I supported in the medical residential home were sad to see me leave, but they told me that they were proud of me.   

It was really rewarding to be able to continue to advocate for them. Though I wasn’t providing direct care to them daily, I was able to learn how the clinical team works to help advocate for them from a corporate level. Overall, it was an exceptionally smooth transition and I had ample support.   

Q: What advice would you offer to aspiring nurses or those considering a career in healthcare?  

Kristen: If you are considering becoming a healthcare provider with RHA, know that you can change somebody’s life every day. You will be supported. There’s a wonderful team here and you will feel like you’re a part of a family. The culture speaks for itself, and our people’s lives are better because of RHA.  

Closing Thoughts: Embracing the Heart of Nursing  

Kristen’s insights remind us that nursing is not merely a job, but a deeply meaningful calling rooted in the desire to care for others during their most vulnerable moments. In the face of challenges both old and new, nurses embody resilience, empathy, and dedication. RHA Health Services are proud to employ healthcare providers, like Kristen Irwin. We are grateful for their unwavering dedication to healing, comfort, and care.  

 To learn more about the growth opportunities available at RHA Health Services, visit RHAJobs.com today.

RHA Implements Accessible Technology in Everyday Life

RHA Health Services is committed to learning about, exploring, and cultivating the use of technology in everyday life. RHA’s office in Memphis, TN, recently implemented focus groups and a technology table at their location.

We reached out to TN Senior Vice President Margaret Gartlgruber to learn more:
“RHA Memphis is in the process of becoming accredited with SHIFT, an online education and accreditation platform that is advancing and standardizing Technology First best practices and programming. As a component of our accreditation process, several RHA Enabling Technology Committee members facilitated a focus group comprised of people supported, direct support staff, and clinical staff of the Memphis Unit. The focus group helped us identify key questions regarding Enabling Technology as a component of RHA’s person-centered support model. We had a productive and engaging discussion that will help us shape how we approach the implementation, training, and monitoring of enabling technology in our service delivery system.”

The Technology table, coordinated and implemented by Assistive Technology Professional Bruce Jones and Chief Information Officer Denise Redfearn, is a prototype to be reproduced in other locations. Available technology included Echo Dot, Echo Microwave, Echo Show 8, Echo Wall Clock, Nest, Ring doorbell, lighted water temperature indicators, voice-controlled patio lights, and smart plugs. RHA aims to implement progressive and accessible technology to enhance the lives of the people we serve. As we learn of new technology that furthers our mission, we look forward to offering even more options. The Technology table is a fantastic opportunity to display and demonstrate the benefits of our current technology.

“The table demonstrates our available technology to persons supported, staff, and other stakeholders,” said Gartlgruber. “We want to ensure that everyone becomes familiar with and excited about the possibilities of Enabling Technology!”

Thank you, RHA Memphis, for leading the way and representing RHA’s mission to implement accessible technology in everyday life!

RHA Presents at CIT International Conference in Detroit!

RHA team members presented best practices for crisis intervention training in the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities at the 2023 Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) International Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

The annual CIT International Conference, hosted by CIT International, is intended to promote the effective practice and implementation of the CIT program.

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families, and other partners to improve community responses to mental health crises.

“It was a [good] opportunity to learn how different states and first responder services are joining forces with mental health and behavioral health professionals to provide the best support needed when dealing with an individual in a mental health or addiction crisis,” said Sherry Bridges with RHA.

Sherry was one of three team members at RHA who presented at the conference in a panel titled Crisis Intervention Training: Working with the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Community.

“Being my first CIT conference, it was eye opening… there is a lot of work to be done to bring awareness to how to properly meet the needs of the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing communities.  It is very important that we attend conferences like this to bring exposure to the current lack of services and supports, but also to be a part of the solution by providing training and bringing awareness to the issue,” said Sherry.

Tommy Moses Jr., one of the other presenters at the event, echoed Sherry’s thoughts: “It was great to see so many caring people… that already provide support and resources for their community, and were interested in increasing their knowledge and expertise in order to provide a better quality of support.”

RHA Health Services Provides Personalized Care Through Alternative Family Living

RHA is pleased to offer high-quality Alternative Family Living (AFL) services throughout North Carolina.

Alternative Family Living (AFL) is an innovative model of care, providing support and care for disabled adults and children who require help with day-to-day activities and whose needs can be met by an individual or family in a natural home setting. We asked Beverly Williams, an AFL Services Provider, some questions about her experience providing this unique form of care from her home.

Describe your role with RHA and overall industry experience.

Beverly: I am an AFL Services Provider with RHA Health Services in Fayetteville, NC. I provide a loving, safe, secure, and nurturing environment in my home for an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities. RHA took what I brought to their company and enhanced my skills and knowledge through their continuous education and hands-on classes. In the healthcare field, education never ends! Before working with RHA, I was certified and trained to care for individuals with G-tubes, urinary catheters, colostomies, and tracheotomies, equipping me to care for the individual I support. The nurses at RHA provide continuous training so I can continue to meet the individual’s healthcare needs.

How and why did you become involved as an AFL provider?

Beverly: I saw the importance of quality care when my ailing parents required assistance taking care of themselves. When they passed away, a fire was ignited in me to care for someone else. It turned out to be my true passion.

What does your daily life look like as an AFL provider?

Beverly: We start our day ensuring ADLs (activities of daily living) are taken care of. Then, I incorporate our daily activities. For example, I like working in my flower garden, and the individual I support likes being with me. We also plan daily activities of her choice, such as going to Walmart, going to the park, or watching Lifetime movies together.

Tell us what inspires you about your work with RHA.

Beverly: I am inspired when I see someone thriving and progressing to their fullest potential. No matter how small an accomplishment may seem, it is a very big accomplishment for them.

Tell us about a time you made a difference in someone’s life through your work.

Beverly: When I cared for my parents in my home, I provided not only physical but emotional stability. When that stability is provided for a person, it improves their quality of life and, in most cases, prolongs their life.

What would you say to someone considering becoming an AFL provider?

Beverly: I would tell them they must be genuinely interested in helping others, because being an AFL Services Provider demands dedication and passion. They must possess patience and be committed to the calling. If you have those qualities, being an AFL Services Provider will be very rewarding for you and the person you serve.

Are you interested in becoming an AFL Provider or learning more about these services? Visit our website to learn more: rhahealthservices.org/disability-services/disability-services-in-north-carolina/

Employees Find Recovery Support at the Workplace Where Humans Bloom

As the place Where Humans Bloom, RHA strives to create a supportive environment for not only the people seeking our services, but employees providing them. Many of RHA’s Behavioral Health services employ Certified Peer Support Specialists (CPSSs) with personal recovery experience. We reached out to Krista Engels, Behavioral Health Regional Director in Asheville, NC, to learn more about Peer Support and how RHA encourages CPSSs in their recovery journeys.

Who are Certified Peer Support Specialists (CPSSs) and what services do they provide?

CPSSs are individuals who share their personal recovery journeys to inspire people seeking services through RHA. In Western North Carolina, they provide various groups and individual sessions through the Peer Living Room (PLR). The PLR is open to everyone in the community; a person does not have to be receiving support services from RHA to access the space. Groups are offered twice daily, and individual sessions are offered as needed. CPSSs also offer case management and assistance accessing community resources, shelter, food, employment, and more.

What is unique about Peer Support Services (as compared to other mental health/substance use services)?

Peer Support Services facilitate reciprocal relationships between CPSSs and people served that are defined by their commitment to help each other move towards what they want and away from what they do not want. CPSSs share their own stories to help others consider how their beliefs and assumptions have influenced their reality, understanding, and life choices. Peer Support Services foster intentional, active, mutual engagement throughout recovery.

What qualifications and qualities does RHA look for in CPSS?

A CPSS must self-identify as an individual in recovery from a mental health/substance use disorder, complete certification training in recovery support skills, and adhere to a code of ethics. Recertification is required every two years. The ideal CPSS can cultivate relationships and build trust, and demonstrates respect, empathy, and the ability to share mutual experiences.

How does RHA support CPSSs in their recovery?

RHA ensures Peer Support work is recovery-based, person-centered, voluntary, relationship-focused, and trauma-informed. We support CPSSs through validation, encouragement, empowerment, and by highlighting their individual strengths as people in recovery. RHA is committed to providing opportunities for continued education, ongoing internal training, supervision, and CPSS support groups.

Describe a time CPSSs made a positive impact in the life of a person served by RHA.

CPSSs worked alongside an individual who was actively using substances for decades, lost contact with family and friends, and had multiple DUIs, inpatient placements, and monthly detox hospitalizations. He was participating in Substance Use Intensive Outpatient Treatment and accessed the PLR at the recommendation of his clinical team. While receiving encouragement and support from CPSSs at the PLR, he attended outpatient treatment 3 hours/day, 3 days/week for 15 weeks. He stayed committed to sobriety and was placed in a local recovery home after graduating treatment. He has since maintained his recovery, reconnected with family and friends, and obtained employment. When he needs connection and support, he continues to seek out Peer Support via the PLR.

If you or someone you know could benefit from compassionate, mutual support during recovery, Certified Peer Support Specialists are here to help. Visit rhahealthservices.org/behavioral-health-services/ to find Peer Support and other Behavioral Health services near you.

RHA Health Services Celebrates Direct Support Professionals for DSP Week 2023!

We’re celebrating Direct Support Professional Week (September 10-16, 2023) by highlighting our outstanding DSPs.

RHA’s marketing team recently reached out to administrators in Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee with a simple request: help us identify DSPs who are blooming at RHA. They identified over fifty DSPs who are going above and beyond to provide quality care to the people we support.

Below are some of their stories, words of wisdom, advice, and more.


 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP has the heart to take care of and assist others. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a DSP?
I enjoy the opportunity to make a difference in someone‘s life. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
While staying at the NC Start East Center, a person I supported improved their health by learning coping skills, exercising, and eating healthy meals. 

What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Understand the population we serve and why it’s important that DSPs create positive experiences for them. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP understands all that is required to fulfill their duties and obligations. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a DSP?
I enjoy gaining knowledge and understanding. I am thankful for my training in medical care and the people I’ve met and formed friendships with. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memory was feeling respected by my coworkers when I was named DSP of the Year. I’ve also loved watching the progress made by the people I’ve supported throughout my 13 years with RHA. 

What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
It’s hard work, but very fulfilling. Your hard work pays off when you receive love and respect from your people supported, coworkers, and management. I feel blessed to have been hired at RHA. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP always puts people supported first and cares for them to the best of their abilities. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a DSP?
I enjoy just being around all the individuals. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memory as a DSP was taking the kids to the Marbles Museum. Seeing them enjoy the different activities made me happy. 

What would you tell someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Working as a DSP is a fun experience, and all the people supported have been loving. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP loves helping people. They show respect to the people supported and receive respect in return.    

What do you enjoy the most about being a DSP?
I love helping the people we support. It makes me happy when they’re happy! I try to go above and beyond my duties, and I enjoy helping out my peers.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One of my favorite memories was the RHA talent show. The people supported enjoyed it and talked about it for a long time.      

What would you tell someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would tell them it’s a very rewarding, satisfying job. I enjoy it and can’t picture myself doing anything else.   

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
I’m beyond flattered to be nominated again for DSP Week. Every day, I try to be an outstanding DSP by setting an example for others; I give this job my all and hope others will be inspired to do the same. It is humbling to be nominated. I will continue to represent those values and make RHA proud. Kobe Bryant once said, “Rest in the end, not in the middle.”  

What do you enjoy the most about being a DSP?
I enjoy making a difference in people’s everyday lives. I take pride in seeing the people I support make personal progress, obtain employment, improve their health, and find their own voice. It’s important for me to end each day knowing I’ve made a difference that goes beyond my paycheck. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
We make lots of good memories every day! A recent favorite memory is seeing a person I supported get a new job after years of waiting. The look on his face when he got his first paycheck and jumped for joy made the hard work worth it! 

What would you tell someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Make sure you’re here for the right reasons. Show compassion and empathy and try your best to be very patient. Staying Zen will help you overcome anything. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP has compassion and patience. They treat the people they serve with dignity and help provide them with opportunities.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy being a part of people’s milestones and showing them the acceptance they deserve. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One of my coworkers hosted an annual fish fry for staff and the people we support. We would cook each other’s favorite dishes and spend quality time together. 

What would you tell someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would tell someone considering becoming a DSP that the job requires compassion, patience, and relationship-building skills. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP shows empathy and patience and has great communication skills. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a DSP?
I love helping people achieve their goals, whether they are as simple as making a purchase at the grocery store or as complex as planning a beach trip. I love helping them improve their self-confidence and exceed their own expectations.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
Recently, I accompanied three people we support on their very first boat trip. We explored Norris Lake and delivered ice cream to other people on the lake. Taking this trip was a goal they had set for themselves, and they achieved it! I will never forget the smiles on their faces. 

What would you tell someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I highly recommend RHA to anyone considering working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. Its a very rewarding job that helps you develop humility, patience, kindness, and compassion. Serving and being responsible for someone other than yourself allows you to grow and develop your character in ways you don’t get the chance to working other jobs. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP goes above and beyond to provide the best care possible.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy knowing what I do brings joy and happiness to others. You never know what battles a person is fighting and how it affects their quality of life. You never know what can turn someone’s day around! 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One of my favorite memories was running into someone at the grocery store that previously was in our day program. He was pushing shopping carts and was excited to tell me he moved into his own place and was taking college courses.  

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would tell them working for RHA is a pleasure and a very rewarding career choice. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
I truly love what I do and being able to provide the people I support with what they need. I can’t see myself doing anything else. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives – helping them live the lives I would want for myself or my family.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
In Colorado Springs in the early 90s, when I first started working with this population, they weren’t well accepted by the community. I would take the people I supported to the same places over and over, and I remember feeling the community begin to welcome us. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I feel being a DSP is an easy job when you have the heart for it. I have worked other jobs but didn’t feel as fulfilled as I do working as a DSP. I guess it’s my calling. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP has a lot of patience and understanding. They help the people they support be as independent as possible and make sure they receive the care they need.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
The most enjoyable part of being a DSP is watching the people we support become more independent, and seeing the excitement and happiness they experience when they learn something new. I also enjoy celebrating their birthdays. The excitement it brings just melts my heart. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memories come from watching the people I support achieve their personal goals. I love watching them volunteer with Meals on Wheels, helping others in the community. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would tell them it’s very rewarding to be able to show love and care to the people we support. You have to be devoted. You will create a lot of great memories and have an amazing time working here. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
It is an honor to be recognized as an outstanding DSP. To be able to help others in need is a great job! 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy being able to help others reach their goals and seeing them smile every day. I’m thankful for the great support team I have in my coworkers and manager.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
I cherish the memories of grocery shopping, taking van rides, and just going different places with the people we support. Seeing them help with washing their own clothes is also a joy. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would tell them you must have the heart to help others in need. If you are understanding and caring, and have love and patience, then this job is for you. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
Being recognized as an outstanding DSP makes me feel proud of my work. I love being of service to the people we support at RHA. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy taking care of the people we support, making sure their needs are met, and making a difference in their lives. It means a lot to know they trust me. When I receive the smiles, the hugs, and the “I Love You’s,” how could I not enjoy being a DSP? 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
I still think about one of my first memories as a DSP. I was helping a person get ready for bed and had to use the lift. I knew she needed to trust me first, so I reminded her that I would take good care of her. I asked her to trust me, and she agreed. When I laid her down in her bed, she had the biggest smile on her face. I’ll never forget that moment when she knew she could trust me. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing the people I support can depend on me. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Always remember: safety first. Get to know the people you support. Don’t take anything personally – the people we support have good and bad days, like anyone else. You may face challenges as a DSP, but anything worth having is worth fighting for. This job isn’t for everyone, but if you’re compassionate, empathetic, and patient: Welcome to my world! Come find your niche supporting people.  

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP listens to the people they serve, ensures they are advocated for, and supports them in meeting their own needs. I try to be an outstanding DSP by loving and valuing what I do. It is not just a job; it is a chance to help others and be a part of a supportive community. I truly value all the people I support and am so happy to know my work makes a difference in their lives. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy working with people with different backgrounds, needs, and experiences. We all learn from each other. My experience as a caregiver and mother helps me know how to fight for opportunities to improve the lives of the people I support. As a DSP, I enjoy being a team player, bringing out the best in the people I serve, and being part of a community that fosters positive discussions and engagement.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
A child I supported hit me on the back of the head while I was driving. After safely stopping the car, I tried several techniques to understand his frustration. The child could not communicate with words. I asked yes or no questions, maintained eye contact, used flash cards, watched his body language, encouraged him to gesture and point, and used sign language. With patience, I understood that he had dropped his toy on the floor. After I gave it back to him, he hugged me and smiled. This is one of my favorite memories because I was able to utilize and improve my communication skills and the child did as well.  

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Without a doubt, I recommend RHA as a place to work. RHA is a company dedicated to employee and client satisfaction and morale, supervisors are knowledgeable and caring, and RHA has great benefits. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP is helpful, dependable, and a team player. I’m proud and pleased to be considered “outstanding” in this field. It shows that my work and efforts don’t go unnoticed. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy supporting people and witnessing their achievements, progression, and growth. It’s so rewarding to be a part of that process. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memories come from the relationships, laughs, accomplishments, and sometimes even failures. They are just some of the many steps unique to each individual’s progress. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
This job is fulfilling. Be genuine, compassionate, considerate, have integrity, and be willing to learn. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
To be nominated as an outstanding DSP is such a privilege and honor. An outstanding DSP provides the people we support with the care they need to succeed and grow.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy creating meaningful memories with my coworkers and the people we support. As time passes, my team has felt like my family, and there’s nothing better than a family-like work environment.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One of my favorite memories is the Spring Fling. The Spring Fling takes place in the community and gives the people we support an opportunity to meet others outside of RHA and to have some fun while doing it.  

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would say go for it! RHA offers great benefits and supports not only the people we serve, but their employees.  

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP works to increase the quality of life of the people they support. They create an environment where people can blossom and reach their full potential in their homes and communities 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy interacting with the people I support. Coaching them to achieve their personal goals is gratifying on many levels. I also enjoy putting smiles on their faces. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
On an outing to the park, I observed the people I support smiling and laughing as ducks approached them. They fed the ducks some oats and frozen veggies. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
My one piece of advice for someone considering becoming a DSP is to evaluate their capacity for caring. The key to success as a DSP is to genuinely care for the people we serve. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP is caring, passionate, patient, and advocates for the people they support. They have knowledge and understanding of intellectual and developmental disabilities. They go the extra mile to help the people they support as well as their peers. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy helping people improve their quality of life, enhance their skills, and reach their goals. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memories are celebrating holidays and birthdays. I love seeing the excitement it brings to the people we support. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
This is a very rewarding job. Come join us if you are caring, passionate, patient, and are willing to learn about the people we support. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
It’s a privilege and an honor to be recognized as an outstanding DSP. The recognition reinforces my resolve to do my very best to serve the people we support. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy providing the necessary skills and assistance for the people we support to become independent and improve their quality of life. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memories come from learning from the people I support every day. I’ve learned from them the attitude of love, humility, and gratitude. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
The Scripture says if you serve your fellow man, you’re serving God. Nothing is more fulfilling and rewarding for me than serving those who need our voices, skills, and assistance. If you are loving, patient, and tolerant, RHA is the place for you. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
To be nominated means a lot to me; it tells me I’m doing my job well and I’m appreciated. 

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I love supporting people as they work hard to meet their goals. I enjoy seeing how they get excited about learning and having fun.    

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One of my favorite memories is the talent show. I love watching the people we serve entertain each other and have fun. It’s so sweet and enjoyable.  

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I love my job. We not only help the people we serve, but we also help one another. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
It means a lot to me to be recognized for the work that we do.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I enjoy making a difference in the lives of the people I serve. They make a difference in my life too, because I’ve learned a lot from them 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memories come from seeing people in the community that we used to support. They recognize me like they never left. That lets me know I did my job well. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Come join our team! Have an open mind because every day is different. We are all here to learn from each other. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
An outstanding DSP provides the best support possible, physically, mentally, or emotionally.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
Im honestly passionate about my work. I enjoy advocating for those that cannot advocate for themselves. I enjoy helping people reach goals that some may believe are unreachable. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One of my favorite memories was taking the people we support to Zumba. They had so much fun, and it warmed my heart to see the joy on their faces. 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
RHA is one of the best companies I’ve worked for in this field. My time here has been enjoyable. My team is supportive and hardworking, which makes everything run smoothly. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
I try to be an outstanding DSP by coming to work with a smile on my face, ready to make a positive impact in the lives of the people we support and my coworkers. When I’m helping people with their personal hygiene, feeding them, cleaning their wheelchairs, etc., I try to give it my all, even if I’m the last person to clock out. One of my favorite scriptures is Galatians 6:9, ‘‘And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.’’ It means do not get tired of doing the right thing because at some point (usually when you least expect it) you will receive a reward if you don’t give up.   

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
As someone with a disability, many people helped me get to where I am today. I enjoy being a part of someone else’s journey to becoming the best version of themself. I believe a disability is a different ability.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
My favorite memories are witnessing the people we support meet their personal goals; for example, one person progressed from being a twoman lift to a stand and pivot. I also love seeing their excitement when their families visit

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
I would tell them to have compassion, patience, empathy, be eager to learn, and be a team player. Being a DSP is not the prettiest job, but knowing you are making a difference is very rewarding. 

 

What does it mean to you to be an outstanding DSP?
I’m grateful for those who see me that way. I come to work, do my best, and I have fun while doing my job.  

What do you enjoy most about being a DSP?
I love supporting our individuals.  

What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a DSP?
One favorite memory was taking a person I supported to the park for the first time. I was so excited when I found out she knew how to swing! Another favorite memory was helping a few people make a poster for Nurses Week. They did an awesome job making the poster! 

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a DSP with RHA?
Ask yourself if you have empathy, compassion, love, understanding, and dedication for the individuals you would support. 


Thank you to the DSPs who participated in this feature, as well as all of the incredible DSPs working each day to help the people we support live life to its fullest potential! It is because of you that RHA continues to be a place #WhereHumansBloom.

If this article has inspired you, or you know someone who may be a good fit in a Direct Support role, please visit rhajobs.com to view available positions near you.