Sept. 9, 2019 – This week, and every day of the year, alongside Florida’s Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, we wish to acknowledge and thank the hardworking team of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) at Duvall Homes. DSPs work 24/7 caring for the personal needs of each individual we serve with developmental disabilities.
Today, with 16 group homes throughout Volusia County, including a newly constructed group home in West Volusia, Duvall’s dedicated supportive care team has been committed to providing the most comfortable and safe residential services, community engagement and much more, for people with special needs since 1945 – almost 75 years ago!
July 4, 2019 – On this Independence Day, we wish to thank the hard-working support staff of Duvall Homes who work around the clock – 24/7 through every holiday – empowering independence to people with developmental disabilities in our care.
We also wish to thank MBI Direct Mail, Duvall’s Vocational Workshop Partner, for their donation of special utility bags to our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and Day Training Support Specialists. Each bag had letters of appreciation from Duvall’s CEO, Steven DeVane, with ice cream vouchers from Pat and Toni’s Sweet Things tucked inside.
On their way to pick up residents from our Opportunities Enrichment Center, new DSP hire, Arrayma (top left), and Group Home Manager, Sherrie (top right), sported their smashing bags packed with essential work gear. Sherrie was instrumental in providing feedback on the features of the bag prior to its fabrication, which was initiated by Scott Robertson, MBI’s Director of Partnership Development. Robertson joined Duvall’s Board of Regents this past year.
Additional bags were given to team members from Duvall’s Administration, Facilities and Grounds departments. #IndependenceDay #ImInspired #TheDuvallDifference
December 14, 2018 – Rendever is an award-winning tech company out of Boston that is laser focused on improving the lives of others. Their sensory platform, operated by caregivers, helps engage special populations. Watch their video on CBS. So, how does Duvall fit in? Because possible benefits for people with developmental disabilities were recognized, we reached out to the Rendever team. As a result, a plan was set in motion for Duvall to test their virtual reality 360° equipment. And empowerment through VR emerged.
“Our platform was designed to enhance the social experience,” said Rendever CEO, Kyle Rand. “Several people can participate in real time, and form meaningful connections. With caregivers directing the program, participants are able to visit new places and enjoy the selected immersive experiences with ease.”
Rand’s background is in Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. Rendever’s CTO, Tom Neumann’s, is a successful developer of VR applications. Since cofounding Rendever in 2016, Rand and Neumann have embarked on a journey to share their unique platform all over the world.
Discovering A New World
“Some of our participants have attention deficits or processing challenges, ” said Duvall’s Director of Adult Day Training, Shirley Zonnevylle. “The VR headset allowed them to focus on one specific subject and eliminate other visual distractions.”
Rendever continues to expand its reach. Their software is not just in retirement communities and long-term care facilities; they’re in single family homes and even cancer treatment centers. Among other things, Rendever’s platform provides a diversion for pain and anxiety.
Duvall Homes is fortunate to be given the opportunity to sample this innovative VR program, and are grateful to Rand and the Rendever team. While additional time is needed to determine the full benefits for clients of Duvall Homes, one thing is certain. Duvall’s team of Direct Support Professionals, Specialists and clients were able to explore a whole new universe. And, for a time, were taken to parts of the world they would otherwise not have gone.
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.
“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.
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 lives 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.
March 28, 2018 – After giving 37 years of her life caring for people with developmental disabilities, Phyllis Griffith, a devoted Direct Support Professional (DSP), has decided to retire.
“I don’t want to leave. I really don’t,” said Griffith. “It’s only because of my balance do I think it’s best for me to retire now. It’s going to be tough, but this way I can leave feeling good instead of risking a fall or something.”
Griffith has cared for many residents during her time at Duvall, as well as trained a great number of Direct Support Professionals. “I will miss the residents greatly, but I’ll look forward to getting the Duvall newsletter and hearing the latest news, so please don’t forget me.”
Oh, we will not forget you Phyllis. You are the heartbeat of Duvall. People like you have instilled confidence in the hearts of hundreds of families, caregivers and loved ones of those we serve. People like you have contributed to the legacy of empowering people with developmental disabilities in our community for more than 73 years. Thank you Phyllis for your commitment, loyalty and compassion!
Fellow staff and a few family members celebrated with Phyllis over a surprise luncheon in the chapel on the Glenwood campus. Treniece and Artrina, both 10-year DSP veterans, have worked alongside Phyllis caring for the same residents, said they would miss Phyllis and wish her the very best in retirement.
Florida DSPs provide physical care, teach life and job skills and advocate for those in our care so they can live self-determined lives in their own communities. Together, let’s help raise the DSP profile! Share this video with your friends.
Read a detailed article on sustaining the vital DSP Workforce in Florida in the Duvall Homes’ 2017 Spring Newsletter.