Easter Seals' Direct Support professional recognized for advocacy

Easter Seals' Jamie Kelly, winner of the Advocate/Peer Award, center, is shown with Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services; and keynote speaker for the DSP event Lt. Gov. Matt Denn. SOURCE SUBMITTED
September 26, 2013

Easter Seals Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore employee Jamie Kelly of Dover was recently recognized as one of the top three Direct Support professionals in the state for her superlative work supporting people with disabilities. Kelly, who works at the day program for adults with intellectual disabilities in Dover, was nominated by a coworker and her supervisor.

"In my opinion, Jamie steps outside of her job description on a daily basis and works to ensure the most opportunities possible for the participants she supports,” one of her peers said.

Kelly and her fellow honorees were selected by an independent committee brought together in celebration of National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week at an annual event sponsored by the Delaware Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Direct Support professionals are the people who work as direct care workers, in-home support workers, and personal attendants to ensure people with disabilities are able to live more independently and in community settings.

Kelly received the Advocate/Peer Award which recognizes a DSP who persistently pursues what is best for the individuals he or she supports, in a polite yet steadfast manner.

“Jamie often takes on projects that are not a routine part of her job description. She is very creative and researches to develop enjoyable group participation opportunities for individuals in the facility and community that benefit each participant’s personal growth,” said Diane Schilling, Kelly’s supervisor and Developmental Disability coordinator. She also added that Kelly recently helped advocate for a piano for the program participants and arranged to have it tuned so participants can begin to play it.

Easter Seals offers a range of services, including children’s therapies, assistive technology, recreational camping, day programs for adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, and respite services for caregivers. To learn more about how Easter Seals helps children and adults with disabilities, call 1-800-677-3800 or visit