DSP's Making a Difference: Josefina Fernandez
As part of DSP Recognition Week, Florida ARF and FADSP are pleased to recognize direct support professionals (DSPs) who are making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they serve. Josefina Fernandez is one of those DSPs.
Josefina has been a Direct Support Professional at the Miami Cerebral Palsy Lifelong Learning Program where she supports students in the Creative Breakthrough Art Studio. She is a creative person who through her creativity promotes and brings out the talents of the people that she supports. Josefina assists students in the classroom by providing one on one support with the handling of materials as well as teaching them basic skills of the many ways the materials are used. More importantly, she truly focuses on the students’ talents and needs by putting them in charge of choosing the direction for their work and life. As a result, the students in the classroom have created their own art work through various art mediums that have enabled them to express themselves, display their art work in the local community, and to sell their work. Through the support of Josefina, the students have been empowered to explore, create and to express themselves through their art work. Josefina takes great pride in what they are able to do and is a huge cheerleader in sharing their work with others, which has brought great joy and a sense of accomplishment to the students.
Josefina meets each person and knows how to provide identified supports to ensure their success and participation in everyday activities. Whenever a student is going through a tough time, Josefina is there to listen and give emotional support to that student. Josefina is also there to provide support and guidance through the most difficult times and advocates to appropriate parties to provide further support.
Josefina always does the right thing and is highly ethical. If she makes a mistake, she recognizes the error and corrects it without affecting the team. Josefina holds herself accountable and operates with the up-most honesty. The students trust Josefina and she protects and ensures the confidentiality of their information.
Josefina has excellent work ethics and respect is something that goes hand in hand with that quality. She always demonstrates respect by allowing the people she supports to lead and direct their daily routine and she encourages them to do so. She is there to support what the students want to do based on the personal choices they make.
The individuals supported by Josefina look up to her and are always seeking her out. She has strong bonds with the individuals she supports as well as with their natural supports. She also shares the accomplishments of the individuals with their natural supports. Josefina’s philosophy is nothing is impossible and that is her approach when interacting with the individuals she supports. She is patient, allows the individuals to make their own decision and to proceed with as much independence as possible. This is evident by the work that has been accomplished with their art.
Josefina's performance and contribution to the people she supports often get highlighted in the agency’s newsletter. She has been nominated for employee of the quarter and is always recognized by her peers for work well done.
Thank you, Josefina, for your continued service to the individuals served at Miami Cerebral Palsy Residential Services!