September 24, 2018 – We just picked up two beautifully handcrafted Adirondack Chairs with matching foot rests from DeLand High School‘s Bulldog Carpentry. Duvall staff are grateful because these chairs will be part of our 2018 Inspiration Gala Silent Auction this Friday, September 28. We have paired them with a gift card from Lowe’s Home Improvement should one wish to have them painted.
Because of our community support, Duvall Homes is able to continue providing the best programs and services that empower people with special needs in our care.
A very special thank you to DHS teachers Mr. Rick Hervey and Mr. Scott Hamilton, and to three helpful students. We didn’t have photo releases secured to include them with these awesome chairs; however, they did make an impact: Marc is a DHS senior who has his sights on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach Campus; Michael is a freshman looking to join the U.S. Marine Corps; and Zavion is a sophomore who hopes to go to college in Chicago as he wants to play a role in helping reduce crime in the city where he lost some family members. Wow! All this learned from loading chairs they made for Duvall Homes.
September 21, 2018 – Thank you Father Lopez Catholic High School students for your community service. For the second year in a row, FLCHS students helped clean our 16 seven-foot Duvall banners.
The two-sided pole banners collected dirt and debris while on display in downtown DeLand last August. Close to 20,000 vehicles (FDOT) and pedestrians passed the banners each day along Woodland Blvd. and were able to view images of empowerment of those we serve.
Next week, the banners will be repurposed at Duvall’s 2018 Inspiration Gala so that family and friends can enjoy the sparkling smiles again.
Thank you to banner sponsors Reames Employee Benefits Solutions, Inc., Florida Hospital and Florida Public Utilities.
September 19, 2018 – “A rock star – that’s how I feel. What job can you go to every day and feel like you’re a rock star on stage?” Those are the words Larry Hopper from DeLand said at his retirement party last Friday after working 25 years for Duvall Homes – the nonprofit organization in DeLand that has been providing residential supportive care and training for people with developmental disabilities since 1945.
Originally from New York, Hopper first came to work for Duvall as a Resident Assistant in 1990. The personal caregiver position is now referred to as Direct Support Professional (DSP). DSPs provide non-medical care and services to people with special needs in their home and in the community. After working at Duvall for a respectable 11 years, Hopper left in 2001 to run a small engraving and decal business. Three years later, facing the typical stresses that come with owning a business, he decided to return to the job that gave him the most satisfaction. Hopper worked 14 more years for Duvall.
“The moment you walk in the door, residents cheer your name out loud. You feel like a rock star!” said Hopper with his large, infectious smile. “And they notice every single detail about you. ‘I like your shirt Larry. Did you get a haircut?’ Where else do you get that kind of daily welcome?”
Larry is going to be missed by many – by the Duvall residents for sure, but also by fellow DSPs and Group Home Managers. He’s part of a shrinking workforce, and an aging generation that didn’t think twice about taking on a challenging job to benefit someone else in the community.
“The DSPs at Duvall are our front line. We depend on them to provide the very best care for our residents, as well as keep our group homes clean, organized and safe,” said Sherrie Moore, Group Home Manager. Moore is one of seven supervisors who help manage Duvall’s 15 group homes and 62 DSPs. Maintaining residential care plans for close to 100 residents makes the DSP position an integral role in Duvall’s Support Team. DSPs ensure the health and welfare of the residents are priority one. “They help to keep the whole team on the same page with respect to the record keeping and progress of each individual,” added Moore.
“Larry is only one of several DSPs who have worked at Duvall for more than 20 years,” said CEO Steven DeVane. “DSP Phyllis Griffith, who retired not too long ago, dedicated more than 30 years of her life to Duvall. It can be a challenge to find younger folks to make that same commitment the way past generations did. This has become a crisis not just for Duvall Homes, but for providers like us across the state of Florida, and the nation.” DeVane has worked continuously with state legislators for the past two years to temporarily modify hiring mandates because age, experience and other criteria practically stifled all hiring. Things are looking much brighter now because of his advocacy.
DeVane and his executive staff know full well that the probability of a new hire remaining with Duvall for 25 years, like Larry, is pretty low. What they can promise is that young hires, who make even a short-term commitment to work for Duvall, will receive valuable training and priceless experience that develops the life skills of critical thinking, effective communication and self-awareness, while building patience, compassion and character.
“New hires at Duvall Homes develop skills that may not be developed in other jobs,” said Christina Negri, Duvall Homes’ Director of Human Resources. “Being a DSP for a minimum of one-to-two years can be a fantastic stepping stone; it can lead to work in other healthcare or customer-service related fields.”
The qualifications for, and benefits of, being a Direct Support Professional are being messaged on various hiring platforms to reach high school grads, age 21 and over, who are looking for work or looking to change their career. But, digital and print ads, social media posts and career fairs are not enough. Duvall Homes depends on parents, grandparents, teachers, guidance counsellors and other community mentors to instill the life-long value in making a short-term commitment to care for people with developmental disabilities. This way we can all be a part of retaining a crucial workforce for a population that depends on it.
While preparing for their fourth annual Inspiration Gala fundraiser, September 28, Duvall Homes continues to accept applications for Direct Support Professionals and other support specialist positions at their Opportunities Enrichment Day Training Center. For more information, visit DuvallHomes.org/Careers or contact Christina Negri at email@example.com or 386.734.2874 x127. #TheDuvallDifference Apply on Indeed.
September 18, 2018 – Thank you to our generous silent auction donors who help to provide both fun and funding to this year’s Gala. When the highest bidder wins, Duvall Homes wins!
Get your holiday shopping done early. Pair travel with a sporting or cultural event and win even bigger. You must have a Gala ticket to participate. Fore more information, visit DuvallHomes.org/Inspiration-Gala.
September 10, 2018 – A Huge Thank You: This week is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week. Fellow staff, residents and families value the vital contributions DSPs make to the Duvall Support Team and to our community.
“Our DSPs are simply awesome,” said Duvall Group Home Manager Christine E. “We depend on them to keep our group homes organized and running smoothly so that our residents are comfortable and safe every single day.”
DSPs and other specialists are instrumental Duvall Support Team members in empowering those in our care. They each are trained experts who deliver programming and services focused on developing personal life skills that strengthen independence and self-pride for those with special needs.
We are most fortunate to have such caring, selfless employees, like Sanjuana pictured here, who has cared for individuals like Lyle for close to 12 years at Duvall Homes.
“I’m proud of the work I do,” said Sanjuana. “If I could share with others one thing, it would be not to underestimate what those in our care are capable of doing… Much more than you think.” Thank you Sanjuana! And to our all of our DSPs.
September 7, 2018 – As we enter the peak of hurricane season, we are once again reminded of the generosity and care of our families and community. Together, they helped to provide the much-needed support to obtain and install automatic generators at our group homes this past year.
“Thanks to our parents, families and community, we now have peace of mind that we can maintain power for refrigeration, laundry and lighting. Maintaining our group homes at a comfortable temperature can help us avoid serious problems,” said Marsha Shankleton, Duvall’s Chief Operating Officer.
We also send an extended thank you to the dedicated staff at Duvall Homes. Our professionally trained team of caregivers ensures that each of Duvall’s Group Homes maintains a heightened level of disaster preparedness throughout the year due to the fragility of those in our care. #TheDuvallDifference
Join the community in being part of this exciting celebration before ticket prices go up Friday, September 7; the event will sell out. Watch video to learn about the live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, fine dining and inspiring program or go to DuvallHomes.org/Inspiration-Gala.
Other places you’ll find Duvall stories this month are inside Aging Tree‘s Legacy, a great resource for seniors; the West Volusia Beacon’s 50 Something tab; in the PennySaver’s* Fun & Sun section, announcing Duvall’s Bargain Store Sidewalk Sale on September 8; and displayed along Woodland Blvd. in the historic downtown business district of DeLand in the form of 16 seven-foot long two-sided banners. [Banners: Jennifer’s Smile | Justin’s Smile]
The staff and residents of Duvall send a sincere thank you Volusia County news outlets, including My News 13,Hometown News and Volusia Parent Magazine, who support the Duvall Homes 501c3 steadfast mission of empowering people with developmental disabilities through their provision of in-kind advertising and news coverage. We depend on it, and place great value in your recognition of the need to inform the public of the programs and services we provide to the community and the greater Central Florida region.
August 1 2018 – Duvall Homes‘ Board of Regents and Reames Employee Benefits Solutions presents the 2018 Inspiration Gala
Duvall Homes’ fourth annual Inspiration Gala fundraiser on September 28, 2018, at the Wayne G. Sanborn Center in DeLand, FL, presented by Reames Employee Benefits Solutions, is going to have, yet again, a few amazing surprises this year. Last year’s event sold out, so be sure to mark your calendars and get your table/tickets soon to get inspired!
Duvall Homes hosted its first fundraising Gala in 2015 attended by 170 who helped raise a historic $60K. In 2016, we branded it our “Inspiration Gala” and in 2017, with a silent auction and 200 attendees, we raised close to $90K and were able to provide funding for programming, materials and community initiatives at our Opportunities Enrichment Center as well as provide our 16 group homes with generators following the great needs Hurricane Irma surfaced. This year, we have additional needs and new goals, and hope for another successful event with your support.
Florida is ranked 49th out of 50 states with respect to funding received for people with developmental disabilities. As a result, we greatly depend on our annual Inspiration Gala fundraiser, with silent auction, to help supplement our services and programs. Without provider services that Duvall offers, the health, safety and well-being of individuals with developmental disabilities are at risk in our region. Outside of the expense of medical care and room and board for our residents, Duvall Homes faces the constant challenge of providing enhanced and/or new programs and services that both meet federal mandates and improve the lives of the developmentally disabled. Furnishings for group homes, durable medical equipment, vehicles equipped for special needs, and materials to strengthen our day training program are just a few of the requirements we work to find funding for every day. Duvall’s annual Inspiration Gala has become a relied upon vehicle to help toward this end.
Sponsored by Florida Public Utilities, BeatleBeat a group of four talented musicians that recreate the look, style and sound of the most famous rock and roll band in the world – The Beatles – will be the main attraction at Duvall’s 2018 Inspiration Gala. [Watch Come Together to get excited.]
BeatleBeat is comprised of world class musicians who are all veterans of The Cast of Beatlemania, Legends in Concert and Disney’s British Invasion band at EPCOT. Over the years, they have performed for thousands of people all over the world. And now, in a private setting, BeatleBeat will perform just for you – our community of Duvall supporters.
Guests will also enjoy distinctive passed hors d’oeuvres sponsored by Florida Hospitals DeLand and Fish Memorial, cocktails and a seated dinner by Orlando’s award-winning Puff ‘N Stuff. An inspiring program will fill the evening, highlighted by Duvall achievements over the past year and a special tribute for guest honoree Rob Walsh of the County of Volusia. Returning for the second year will be our featured a 3O+ items silent auction, with gift certificates for hotel stays and Carribbean getaways, tickets to sporting events and Florida attractions, gift baskets, fine wine and inspiring limited edition works of art created at Duvall, to name just a few!
The 2018 Inspiration Gala is going to be a very special night filled with lasting experiences and many memorable inspiring moments. Learn more about Duvall Homes’ RSVP ticketed fundraiser event by visiting DuvallHomes.org/Inspiration-Gala or by reaching out to us. Share Gala Memo.
July 24, 2018 – “We moved here from Georgia because it offered the best residential care and day training we could find for our son,” said Ruby Helton, mother of Jason who moved to Duvall Homes in 2010.
The Heltons discovered the Duvall difference when they first brought Jason to DeLand, Florida, eight years ago. They recognized that Duvall seeks to provide the highest quality of life and greatest level of independence for each resident by creating an individualized plan that includes opportunities for personal growth.
Jason, like all residents of Duvall, are provided with social experiences in the group home and community, which are key to living a life of independence and dignity that is nurturing and fulfilling. Several organizations, like the National Institute of Health, report that social connections help protect health and lengthen life. Whether with family, friends, housemates, neighbors or members within your community, getting involved with others influences our wellbeing.
Being socially active in Duvall’s day training program provides additional opportunities for collective engagement. Participants are presented with varying circumstances to develop life skills and vocational skills at our Opportunities Enrichment Center.
Parents and guardians like the Heltons have turned to Duvall Homes since 1945 as they plan ahead for their own care and that of their dependent with special needs – both who are living longer.
Learn more about the programs and services offered to people with developmental disabilities of varying abilities, by contacting Administrative Assistant, Lisa Herring, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 386.734.2874 x119. Lisa will put you in touch with the right support specialist to answer all of your questions so that you can discover more about #TheDuvallDifference and our 73-year-old legacy.
For state funding eligibility, contact Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities at APD.MyFlorida.org.
July 2, 2018 – Duvall Homes has provided residential supportive care and day training
services that empowers people who live with a developmental disability since 1945.
Today, and every day, we celebrate our families and guardians, direct support professionals and trained specialists, and our community of volunteers and sponsors, who together make up a team that defines The Duvall Difference. Because of you, we’re able to empower others to learn new skills and to earn a paycheck. Because of you, we can make a difference and an impact on the life of others in our care.
In the coming weeks and months, please join us in sharing inspiring expressions of The Duvall Difference. Your stories help families to plan ahead and others to get involved.
Learn about the programs, life-skills development and vocational training services available for adults with developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsey and other disabilities at DuvallHomes.org/Programs-Services.
June 15, 2018 – Florida’s active aging residents are familiar with the longstanding fact that Florida continues to lead the nation as the number one retirement state. We know it’s for the balmy weather and beaches, recreation, cost of living, healthcare options…, but did you know many retire here because it’s easier to care for their aging child or sibling with a development disability?
“For decades we’ve had families retire to Central Florida from other states for our residential care and day training services,” said Steven DeVane, Duvall Homes’ CEO. Aging caregivers have turned to Duvall Homes since 1945 as they plan ahead for their own care and their aging dependent with special needs – both who are living longer.
Planning Ahead Produces The Best Results: Read about a caring father who recently planned ahead and chose Duvall Homes in our 2018 Spring Newsletter in The Duvall Difference on pages 8 and 9 here. #TheDuvallDifference
June 4, 2018 – Thank you to Pastor Walter Laseter and the gracious congregation of Weirsdale Presbyterian Church for their hospitality this past Sunday and for their years of dedicated support toward the mission of Duvall Homes.
We would also like to extend a thank you to Mission Coordinator Brian Farley, who was instrumental in arranging the invitation for our visit.
Members of the Presbyterian Church and community were apprised of how Duvall Homes transitioned from the single Duvall House that Thelma and Alanson Duvall formed in 1945 to today’s operation of 16 residential care group homes throughout the County of Volusia. Highlights of the short presentation covered current programming and services offered in Duvall’s Opportunities Enrichment Center, including contract work, which will soon take place in our newly renovated Vocational Training Center.
Many were surprised to learn of the critical need for trained Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) across Florida – the lowest DSP-funded state in the U.S. – to help care for the daily comfort, safety and empowerment of people with I/DDs, 24/7. Before changing legislation and government mandates took hold, members of Weirsdale Presbyterian were part of the contingency of volunteers who for years selflessly gave of their time to support and build, create with and watch over many individuals who resided at Duvall.
During the service, everyone was elevated by the sounds of Ellen Laseter, Dr. Laseter’s wife, on the piano, who performed, among other heartfelt hymns, The Old Rugged Cross. A surprise barbershop performance took place at the end of the service as Pastor Laseter’s newly formed quartet practiced for their choir-replacement summer schedule.
It was a delightful visit to Weirsdale; however, due the small size of Duvall’s administrative staff, it can be challenging to make all of the visits we wish we could make in and outside of the county. One thing we are always happy to do, is to share words of gratitude for the impact people have made on the hundreds of lives of individuals with developmental disabilities living in our state.
If you are an organization who has supported Duvall Homes this year, or in years past, and have a company newsletter, please let us know as we’d love to share inspiring stories and images with you and your members or employees.
May 25, 2018 – Inside Duvall Homes’ 2018 Spring Newsletter, you’ll once again be connected with the inspiring stories that bind our community together. Stories like Building Opportunities That Impact Our Community give insight to the tangible benefits that result when business partners get involved with the work we do.
Articles like The Duvall Difference provide an overview of the services and personal care Duvall residents receive from Direct Support Professionals and their Support Team every single day and of a father’s discovery of these services after putting the future care of his son above all else.
We also like to highlight community news and events in each issue. Our Spring Fling; service from high school and college students; the retiring of an employee after 37 years; and the Tim Tebow Foundation‘s very special Night To Shine event are just some of the newsworthy events that took place this past quarter.
Many of our friends, families and business partners have just received Duvall’s 2018 Spring Newsletter in the mail. You can enjoy it too by clicking on the cover to flip through the digital version.
Please share the many heartwarming stories with your own family, friends and colleagues. You’d be surprised who can benefit from the many different perspectives shared. Let us know what inspires you most about this issue at ImInspired.org. #TheDuvallDifference
May 23, 2018 – Inside this month’s issue of the Daytona Chamber’s business publication, Evolve, readers are presented with defined perspectives and proven business practices with respect to embracing a diverse workforce. As a proud member of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2011, Duvall Homes is honored to have contributed to its Diversity in Business May 2018 issue to include the people we serve in our community.
In the article How Rich is Your Diversity? (pages 32 to 35) by Lisa Habermehl, Duvall’s Director of Marketing, experiences and values are shared by business leaders in the County of Volusia, and beyond, who engage with, employ and contract people with developmental disabilities.
Decades ago, a diverse workforce meant a workforce with varying ethnicity. Today, a diverse workforce is an inclusive labor pool varied in ethnicity, gender, age and abilities, and diversity in business includes diversity in a businesses’ workforce, leadership team and its customer or client base. Successful businesses that choose to remain current and continue to grow understand the many benefits of business diversity and inclusion.