Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Waste not, want not....

Today I had the great honor of facilitating the final session of six regional New York State OPWDD DSP Dialogues in Happauge, Long Island.  Since July of this year, Joe Macbeth, Executive Director NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals)and Assistant Executive Director at NYSACRA (New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies) and myself have toured New York State and talked with DSPs. 

NYS OPWDD, under the thoughtful direction of Commissioner Courtney Burke, has created this forum for the front-line workforce to share opinions, views, thoughts and suggestions to the leadership of the state for the sake of improving services and supports to people with developmental disabilities.

One theme that struck me today as the DSPs discussed their viewpoints was the issue of waste.  In our system Direct Support Professionals are constantly on the receiving end of directives to save money or they are told that there is "no money" for things.  Several DSPs shared that in their opinion they see lots of wasteful spending.  One of the participants in today's session said that she would love to see staff members be conscious of the use and misuse of lighting and electricity. She made the connection that if in all the homes of her agency, let alone the state and country, had conscientious DSPs and staff members observing energy awareness and energy savings, the result over a long-term would be awesome. She indicated that perhaps if wasteful behavior was monitored and people took responsibility for the consumption  of energy, products, food and so forth, that there would be more funds to do good and meaningful "things" with the people supported.

This may seem obvious to the reader but in actuality many DSPs in the room today felt very much in agreement with this issue and were of the mind that to waste not is to want not.  Furthermore, it is the job of the DSP to be aware of the consumption of resources and materials used in the day to day support of people with disabilities.  This will allow for the funding to continue for important things and not be wasted on items that can be controlled. This connects to the skill standard and DSP Competency of Organizational Participation.  The competent DSP will be aware and informed about the utility policy of an organization in which they are employed. This shall include understanding the impact of energy savings and conservation on the organization and the people supported.

More agency administrators and policy makers need to listen to the wisdom of DSPs!!!  They get it!!

1 comment:

  1. Of course, there are many ways to save money; at our company, we have a competition every year to see who can come up with the best solution to save the most money every year. Each year someone comes up a winner, of course, but there are always new and great suggestions. I'm lucky to work for a company that not only listens to its employees but encourages them to think. We're the frontline, we're the eyes and ears, the reporters and the ones to see firsthand not overall- the root- of a lot of things that may not be seen or understood elsewhere.
    It is also then our duty to teach, pass along to our individuals how to do this also. Turning off lights or televisions when they leave the room, or air conditioners, etc, just as we would do in our own homes. Explain why this is a new necessity, and how it will benefit them. It will catch on a lot faster that way. :)