Submitted By: Lucy Klym, Board President & Founder, Help Over Hurdles
Help Over Hurdles is an organization dedicated to helping direct support professionals (DSPs) receive financial assistance when a crisis arises, which would prevent DSPs from bringing their very best to the work they do. From assisting with a rent payment to car repair, Help Over Hurdles offers short term assistance to relieve the stressful hurdle of a bill, DSPs leaving an industry they love, and/or risk financial exploitation toward people they support. Help Over Hurdles wants DSPs to thrive, but we know that financial burdens can prevent DSPs from seeing this as a career.
Help Over Hurdles assists DSPs across the State of Indiana. From assisting a DSP with paying their rent to helping a family buy groceries, Help Over Hurdles does not want to keep money within the nonprofit. We want it to help DSPs directly in a quick manner. We know the financial hurdle will not be long lasting, but if it keeps a DSP from leaving their career, then it fulfills the mission.
The Impact Of The Organization
Help Over Hurdles has shown that DSPs need financial support to address sustainability of the profession. Financial literacy and planning is one of our future goals. One particular organization that has partnered with Help Over Hurdles, Opportunities for Positive Growth, Inc., has seen a decrease in allegations of exploitation since this option became available.
One exciting partnership Help Over Hurdles has developed is with Gibson Insurance. In 2022, Gibson offered to host an event at Top Golf in Fishers, Indiana. Through their network of partner organizations, Gibson spread the message of Help Over Hurdles, and shared the work that DSPs provide every day. Through this event, Gibson donated back to Help Over Hurdles based on the number of golfers who joined. It was an amazing event, and it has been repeated twice. Many people walked away with a knowledge of DSPs as a career, had fun, and donated to a wonderful cause.
Steps To Implement A Similar Initiative
An organization could replicate our efforts by building a financial assistance program within their organization. The goal should be sustainability of DSPs with a level of compassion and support that recognizes the impact their strength has on fulfilling the mission of the organization.
We know that when DSPs are consistently in the lives of people supported, quality of life outcomes grow. Keeping the financial assistance process easy, anonymous, and quick provides the greatest impact.
Here are some of the specific steps that Help Over Hurdles has taken in getting established and carrying out its work:
- Solidified the mission of helping DSPs
- Built an application on our website with quick response
- DSP submits application for financial assistance
- Help Over Hurdles verifies employment
- Help Over Hurdles verifies bill
- Help Over Hurdles pays bill directly (typically rent, car repair, groceries)
- DSP shares appreciation (100% of the time)
The biggest challenge Help Over Hurdles faced was in helping people know what a DSP does to raise money in support. To fundraise for the professionals rather than the mission, adds a communication piece. This is why the partnership with Gibson has been so helpful. It has allowed an educational partnership outside of the main human service industry, which furthers understanding and the opportunity to assist more DSPs with increased funds.
About Help Over Hurdles
Help Over Hurdles is a non-profit that responds to the needs of Direct Support Professionals with compassion, advocacy, and financial assistance. Our objectives are to provide education on financial stability, to help eliminate allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and mistreatment toward people served as a result of direct support provider stress, and to provide resources for DSPs to work toward long-term sustainability.
A key to success for Help Over Hurdles is to ensure ongoing education is offered regarding successful support models, so Help Over Hurdles does not become a path of repeated assistance, but an avenue to recognizing that help through the organization is a road to stability and strengthening the profession as a whole. You can learn more about Help Over Hurdles by visiting the organization’s website: http://www.helpoverhurdles.com/
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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.
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