Dear Venture Together Family,
Happy Fall! It was a busy summer at Venture Together—our ‘Camp Venture’ season was a huge success, due in part to the remarkable renovations funded by the Venture Foundation, that have transformed our North Campus into a true recreation destination. Our DSP Recruitment & Retention Project has been active holding job fairs and attending local events, not only fulfilling its mandate to hire quality staff for our programs but re-introducing Venture Together to the Rockland County community.
As exciting as our summer was, at Venture Together, September is our favorite month. Sweater weather, leaf peeping, and pumpkin spice lattes are great, but for us, September means Direct Support Professionals Month. DSP Month allows us to formally acknowledge and celebrate the hard-working and dedicated staff that are the lifeblood of our agency.
Throughout the month, we’ll be honoring our DSP staff by featuring some of them in profiles about their lives and careers with Venture, we’ll have gift cards and Venture Together “swag” for everyone, and we’ll announce our DSP of the Year (as nominated by their peers).
Our Executive Team has also been on its periodic “Listening Tour”, visiting all our Residential and Day Programs. I love this opportunity to sit down and hear what’s going on in our programs. Listening to our staff’s feedback (both positive and constructive) provides a wonderful opportunity for me to learn what we need to do to keep Venture Together growing, improving and thriving. From staff comments, I believe what sets Venture apart from other agencies is family and a sense of belonging. The responsibility of our Board of Directors and Executive Team is to create the “conditions of satisfaction” that engage and encourage these feelings.
In support of DSP month, one story has stayed with me over these last few years. Early in March 2020, Bader House became the first with Covid-19 cases among our residents. At the time, there was much confusion and conflicting information about the virus and how it was transmitted and people were understandably scared. With little consideration for their own safety, DSPs Stephen Allen and Ray Senat stepped up and worked that first long weekend alone, when we were unable to secure other staff to relieve them.
When I spoke to Stephen afterwards, asking if he was concerned about himself or his own family, he told me “We’re all family here. It’s just what you would do for your own family.”
Stephen is a hero. Ray is a hero. All of our DSPs—who do work that is sometimes difficult, sometimes messy, sometimes emotionally draining—are heroes. The kind of people who will put others above themselves, who will dedicate their careers to the care of vulnerable individuals—they are heroes.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank our DSPs. We value and rely on your heroic and steadfast service in support of the individuals in our care.