LEAP celebrates Direct Support Professionals week

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LEAP managers Sarah Judd and Kim Levensalor serve hot dogs Thursday at a celebration to honor and recognize Direct Support Professionals. (Dee Menear/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

FARMINGTON — The Board of Directors and management team of Life Enrichment Advancing People hosted a celebration Thursday in recognition of National Direct Support Professionals week.

LEAP is a local, private nonprofit devoted to supporting people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities in western and central Maine. The organization employs more than 150 DSPs who provide around-the-clock services to clients in dozens of locations throughout western Maine.

“Direct Support Professionals assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to develop skills towards independence and normal lives in homes and communities of their preference,” Executive Director Darryl Wood explained.

The celebration was attended by DSPs, families, friends, and supported individuals.

“I want to thank each and everyone of you for your tireless dedication,” Wood said as he welcomed guests.

In addition to an afternoon of music, food and games; LEAP recognized the following employees for 20 years of service: Marge Taylor; Joyce Daggett; Kathy Purington, DSP; Kathy Downing, DSP; Maureen O’Brien; Megan Goodine; Darryl Wood; Larry Manning, DSP; Jane Shaw; Judith Wilde, DSP; Judy Tyler, DSP; Brandy Dustin, DSP; and Lynn Lee, DSP.

These employees were honored with a stone on the LEAP employee recognition pathway.

“LEAP honors DSP’s who treat people with dignity and respect while coaching, teaching and guiding for personalized skills development designed to help people become more independent,” Wood said.

The event was held at LEAP’s Oliver House and Stone Soup Gardens. The scenic venue is reasonably accessible to people of all abilities, Wood said.

dmenear@thefranklinjournal.com