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
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.
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.
Created by Tim Tebow and the Tim Tebow Foundation and hosted by Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand, residents of Duvall Homes participated in this incredible international event that took place February 9 in DeLand, Florida, in 16 countries at 537 host churches, where 90,000 VIPs with developmental disabilities were crowned Kings and Queens by 175,000 volunteers! Staff from Duvall Homes participated as well.
View additional images on Instagram at #ImInspiredDeLand #NightToShine and #NTSDeLand. This special night was a memorable global event recommended for anyone who wishes to get involved and be inspired. Be sure to put February 8, 2019, on your calendar.
February 9, 2018 – We may not be Elon Musk headed toward the asteroid belt launched by the Falcon Heavy Super Rocket to the tunes of David Bowie; however, we are absolutely just as excited as Duvall staff make last minute pre-prom preparations for tonight’s Night To Shine Prom at Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand for individuals with developmental disabilities in our community. And, the tunes of Bowie very well may be played!
Thanks to the Tim Tebow Foundation, and Stetson Baptist, residents of Duvall Homes can be part of this very special international event close to home in West Volusia County that will also occur in 16 different countries, at 540 host churches by 175,000 volunteers for 90,000 VIP Kings and Queens!
Direct Support Professional Jolene Hunt (grey shirt) stands with Maggie as Group Home Manager, Sherrie Moore, measures and hems Maggie’s new gown. Sherrie modified several gowns and suits for our VIP Queens and Kings attending tonight’s event, including Jason’s below. Follow images posted throughout the night at #NTSDeLand, and on Duvall Home’s Facebook Page.
Read how residents of Duvall Homes helps out Night To Shine: A Team Effort
January 23, 2018 – Duvall Homes was selected to receive an award totaling $10,000 from the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties @yourunitedway for Hurricane Irma recovery.
The grant is funded through the generosity of the Eli Lilly Foundation, United Worldwide, Parks Dermatology, SunTrust Bank and other corporations to provide relief and recovery after the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
The UnitedwayVFC.org was able to distribute $107,600 to local organizations serving the two-county area in need of recovery associated with damage caused when the hurricane hit the area September 10, 2018.
This essential funding is vital to the repair of several buildings that were affected on the Glenwood campus of Duvall Homes.
December 19, 2017 – Keeping Direct Support Professionals in the Conversation. Recently, Duvall Homes’ CEO, Steven DeVane, met with the Executive Director of Florida’s Center for Nursing, Mary Lou Brunell, to discuss Florida’s healthcare sector and its workforce shortages.
Housed at the University of Central Florida, the HWRI (Healthcare Workforce Research Initiative) provides healthcare occupational data to facilitate research and grant proposals that support a healthier Florida. Comprised of three research centers – Center for Healthcare Providers; Center for Nursing; and Center for Allied Health – the HWRI contributes to better healthcare workforce strategies, and DeVane sits on the committee to represent the voice of DSP (Direct Support Professionals), a profession essential to providing critical care and services to individuals with Developmental Disabilities in our state. To learn more, visit the following web pages:
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.
July 31, 2017 – When Ruby Helton learned that the image of her developmentally disabled son, Jason, would appear this August in one of 16 banners that would adorn Woodland Boulevard (US Hwy 17-92) north and south of New York Avenue downtown DeLand, she was ecstatic. “Oh my, I will be driving down Woodland Blvd. every single day,” said Ruby in her sweet Georgia-native accent. Ruby and her husband moved to DeLand from Georgia seven years ago specifically for Jason. “Duvall Homes was the best place we could find for our son that makes him feel like a real person.”
Jason wears a helmet, because like so many individuals with a developmental disability, he also suffers from a seizure disorder. This however, does not curtail the goal setting and -achieving set by Jason and his personal Direct Support Professionals in his supportive housing nor reduce the educational, cultural and social opportunities organized by his team at Duvall’s Adult Day Training (ADT).
“We aim to provide daily experiences that produce opportunities of learning at various levels on the cognitive spectrum,” said Shirley Zonnevylle, Duvall’s ADT Director. Many experiences have a lasting positive impact on the participants’ lives and their families, while other experiences offer valued moments of curiosity and joy, which the images on the boulevard banners so clearly depict.
Banner images also include one resident, Meg, smiling after endorsing her check following fulfilled obligations for MBI. Other banners show residents holding art they have personally created (or discovered through #DeLandRocks) and young music students from Stetson University with residents who they performed for, or worked with, through their Instruments of Healing group.
“That’s me! I did that painting!” announced Shirley T., an ADT community participant, as she pointed at an image of herself holding a painted vase of colorful flowers. When asked what she thought about being on a very large 7′ banner that will hang downtown DeLand, she smiled and said, “I’m happy… my painting is in that room over there.”
Duvall Homes will celebrate its third annual Inspiration Gala fundraiser, presented by Reames Employee Benefits Solutions, September 29, 2017, at the Sanborn Center, with the focus of honoring those inspirational experiences. The evening will also pay special tribute to businesses and individuals who support and sponsor the empowerment of those in Duvall’s care, including this year’s special honoree, John Olivari of Olivari & Associates, CPA.
Maureen Kemp, Kemp Realty Group Broker, and her husband Chris are the 2017 Gala entertainment sponsors, which will be Johnny Wild & the Delights. “I was first introduced to Duvall through the Keyettes Club at DeLand High School more than 30 years ago and am proud to support them today.” said Kemp
People are always amazed when they discover what the developmentally disabled are capable of doing, including community service and earning a paycheck, and these banners shine light on just a fraction of the inspiring stories of those who quietly live, and struggle, in the background, unknowing to the average person.
While the government does provide funding toward housing and training for developmentally disabled, not surprisingly, there remains a persistent gap between actual costs and what Medicaid Waiver covers. “Coupled with federal mandates tied to licensing and certifications, there remains additional costs for insurance, group home operations and special need vehicles. So we are dependent on the generosity of the members of our community to help us minimize this gap,” said Elizabeth Bhimjee, Chief Marketing & Development Officer. “Our Inspiration Gala has become an essential event to help us with those financial challenges.”
The installation of these symbolic banners is yet another milestone in Duvall Homes’ enduring 72-year history that began in the single-family home of Thelma and Alanson Duvall and their Down syndrome son, which has now grown to 16 group homes. Learn more about Duvall Homes and its 2017 Inspiration Gala, an RSVP ticketed event, at ImInspired.org. Members of the public are encouraged to comment what inspires them about the banners and Duvall Homes.
July 24, 2017 – Bright Expectations (BE) is Florida’s site dedicated to helping Florida residents with unique abilities find the support, resources, and inspiration they and their families need to break barriers, defy lowered expectations, and achieve the brightest futures they can imagine.
Florida, and Duvall Homes, cares about its residents with unique abilities and strives to help each one succeed.
The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts, and through its new website, BrightExpectations.com, you find stories, information and resources to help you as you start this journey.