The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Sep. 16, 2021

DD Board honors direct support providers

Independent staff and submitted information

The Van Wert County Board of Developmental Disabilities (VWCBDD) honors direct support providers (DSPs) serving Van Wert County for the work they do to support people with disabilities. The week of September 12-18 is National Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition week. 

Direct Support Provider Jennifer Burker (right) watches as client Terry Bowen completes a task. photo provided

“We are celebrating their hearts and the work they do to help people with disabilities to be supported and connected and included in the community,” said VWCBDD Service and Support Administrator Paula Miller. 

DSPs are individuals who work directly with people that have physical or intellectual disabilities. Their primary purpose is to assist those who need support to lead self-directed lives in their communities. 

“I enjoy getting to do fun activities with the individuals and spending quality time with them,” said Jennifer Burker, a DSP at Thomas Edison Center. “Seeing them smile after making a craft or winning a game always makes my day better, I love my job as a DSP.” 

Direct support professionals may assist with a wide array of needs, including, but not limited to, household tasks, shopping, personal care, and community inclusion activities. Options for becoming a DSP include either working for a local agency or becoming independently certified through the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Those interested can learn more about a DSP career at

“I like that I can make a positive impact in the individuals’ daily lives,” said Shree Clouser, a DSP for Mercer Residential Services. “I’m a caregiver by nature so this job allows me to help others. It also is a privilege that our clients allow us to be part of their lives.” 

Many DSP agencies are experiencing a staffing shortage crisis. People who are looking for employment that is rewarding and enriches the lives of others are encouraged to become DSPs. For more information on the role of a DSP or where to begin, contact Superintendent Jim Stripe at 419.238.6131.

POSTED: 09/12/21 at 10:55 pm. FILED UNDER: News