DSP's Making a Difference: Heidi Popp
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. Heidi Popp is one of those DSPs.
Heidi Popp has been working for Brevard Achievement Center for 22 years. She truly embodies the traits of someone who Makes A Difference: compassionate, creative, solution-oriented, committed, and caring about the participants at BAC. Heidi provides the same level of enthusiastic support for the artists in her classes as she did when she began her career. As she has steadily grown in her career, she has maintained her commitment to BAC participants and finds new ways to help them meet their goals as a way of life.
Her dedication to providing an excellent educational experience never wavers as seen in her attendance and superior work ethic. She exudes care and empathy for not only the individuals served but also for her fellow teammates, allowing her to quietly lead by example. Heidi inspires BAC’s entire staff to push harder for better outcomes for all individuals served.
Heidi’s charisma, knowledge, and compassion stretch beyond basic customer service. She is committed to bringing art experiences to life with well-executed lessons that are engaging and fun, which are cornerstones of BAC’s Arts Program. She leads her classes by example, never fearing if a project turns out less than perfect; she helps participants learn that there is "beauty in the trying" in every creative undertaking.
Heidi has shown the ability to adjust to new circumstances, including creating easy-to-follow virtual lessons for participants to use at home during COVID-19 closures. Her attitude of making the best of the situation comes shining through in her video lessons. She has inspired so many participants from afar. Within the structure of her lessons, Heidi provides a significant amount of latitude and choice to each student artist. Participants are provided creative outlet options that aid them in becoming stronger self-advocates as they explore new mediums and techniques; they can then self-direct where they may wish to learn more or fine-tune particular skill sets.
Heidi is proactive in finding solutions to meet the unique learning styles of each of the nearly 70 artists she supports in their personal development goals, from seeking community artist supports to providing pro-bono lessons or acting as a Visiting Artist Teacher. She has also secured technology to assist with advanced teaching tools for more self-directed learners. Heidi never allows her own limited knowledge or skill in a particular medium to be a barrier to her students but finds the way forward to obtaining the help she needs so participants can meet their personal growth goals.
During her long-career, Heidi has been awarded several recognitions from her peers for her excellence in service provision. The most significant of these was the BAC "Peggy Boggess" Award, which at the time of presentation was the highest honor offered to BAC staff. The peer-nominated award honored Heidi's positive, can-do attitude during a very complicated, stressful program redesign as the BAC team worked to redesign its Art Program from the ground up. The current program success owes much to Heidi's personal vision, hard work, and effort.
Thank you, Heidi for your continued service to the individuals served at Brevard Achievement Center!