(The following unsolicited letter was recently received from Beverly of Bangor, Maine. OHI provides services to people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. While Beverly shares so eloquently her experiences with one of our mental health services, she nonetheless is "singing the praises" of the entire Direct Support Professional workforce. She couldn't have chosen a more appropriate time to share her story and experiences than during National Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week. This is shared with her permission and at her request.)
To Whom It May Concern:
It has taken me quite some time to gather my thoughts and be able to write the positive experiences I've had with the support I have received from OHI.
Prior to signing up for Daily Living Services, I was experiencing great sadness, loss of hope and anxiety about even leaving my house. I had become a prisoner in my own home, and didn't know where to turn.
My journey has not been easy; many years ago I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C; I have undergone a liver transplant which has recently begun to fail due to the progression of my disease. I'm currently going to Boston every month for experimental treatment, with the hopes that it will slow down the rapid progression. You can only imagine the fear I live with on a daily basis. I fear for my life; I fear for my children and family; sometimes, I fear the next day. This put me in hiding, isolated from the world because I was afraid I would only become more ill.
With a leap of faith I contacted OHI, because I had nowhere else to go. I've had extremely poor luck when it comes to services, so I wasn't sure this was going to be what I needed and hoped for. A young lady met with me to begin Daily Living Services. She was quite at first, but very nice. Her name is Holly (Lavoie). As I mentioned before, I was leery, but she gained my trust first by showing up on time. Secondly she was always smiling and treated me like a person. Finally, the support she provided to me was more than I ever expected or hoped for. Over time, we have developed a wonderful working relationship.
My life has made such a dramatic positive change since OHI came into my life. Everyone has been so helpful; the teamwork is incredible from what I've observed. When one person is not available, another person will step up and help. I feel like I can now focus on the positive things in my life. Not having to worry about the day-to-day struggles I face and being able to focus on the great things that lie ahead is something I have not been able to do for so long.
I look forward to seeing each and every staff person that comes into my home. Everyone has respected my living space, and more importantly, they respect me as a person. In particular, Holly has been fabulous. I want her efforts, professionalism, support and kindness to be recognized. It is rare when you get the opportunity to meet and work with such a wonderful person, and I feel blessed. She is (a) rare gem in my eyes, a genuinely nice person; a person who touches the hearts of many and I will be forever grateful.
I want my story to be shared. I want people to know about the supports I receive from OHI, and how happy I am with Holly. Words cannot express what all of this has meant to me, but this is an attempt to do so.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.
(THANK YOU, Beverly, for so eloquently putting into words, and sharing your story and feelings about the amazing work of the Direct Support Professional workforce, and Holly in particular. You, too, are amazing!)