DSP's Making a Difference: Gwendolyn Dickerson
As part of DSP Recognition Week, FADSP is pleased to recognize direct support professionals (DSPs) who are making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they serve. Gwendolyn Dickerson is one of those DSPs.
Gwendolyn Dickerson has been a Florida Mentor employee for two years. Gwen started her career as a DSP full-time on the midnight shift. As a midnight staff person it is often rare that they are able to stand out because they are often not seen by many people. In Gwen's case the care she delivers to the residents was obvious to everyone that followed her. She was always able to spend the extra time with each resident fixing hair, applying makeup, helping with clothing selections for the day that were always matched, neat and pressed. Her attention to detail both in the residents’ personal appearance and possessions is outstanding.
Gwen also encourages the residents to take part in activities in their home and in the community. She assisted several residents in taking part in the Downs Syndrome walk in conjunction with the local Arc program. This walk was organized to recognize and assist those individuals that have this disability, and to help bring awareness to the community of persons with intellectual disabilities.
Gwen helped organize and volunteered her time to assist four residents to attend the first annual Tim Tebow Night to Shine Prom. With Gwen's help she assisted with dressing, primping, and transportation that helped the residents enjoy a wonderful night of dancing, eating, and laughing with peers and friends. The residents who attended the party have lasting experiences and are full of smiles whenever they talk about the evening. Gwen's personality, enthusiasm, and overall caring spirit make her an excellent choice for this recognition.
Gwen is often selected by her supervisors to assist with new hire orientation and training. She is able to work with new staff to best assist the residents who live at Eagles Watch. She does this by teaching new staff how to help residents be as independent as their abilities allow. In her interactions with the residents, she teaches new staff that a resident’s disability is only a small part of their being, and that they are part of the diversity that makes up the community.
Gwen's ability to relate to the residents on a personal level encourages and supports both their physical and emotional well-being. She helps them deal with their emotions that they cannot express because they are unable to communicate verbally. She does this through compassion and her ability to provide the resident with empathy during their times of struggle and disappointments, but most important she helps them celebrate their times of their personal growth and goal achievements.
Gwen displays integrity by the relationships she has formed with both her peers and her supervisors. She is often trusted to problem solve and make things happen in her supervisor’s absence. She has a positive attitude that encourages her peers to seek her assistance when they have questions or concerns.
Thank you Gwen for your continued service to the individuals served at Florida Mentor!