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Damon Postell: Supporting Lenin To Find His Voice

Submitted By: Le’Grayce Brown & Joanne Cropper | The Center for Family Support

At The Center for Family Support (CFS), we have so many valuable and dedicated Direct Support Professionals, that it is an honor to recognize them for their greatness. One remarkable story we would like to share, is that of DSP Damon Postell. Damon has been a conscientious worker for 12 years, during which time his efforts and dedication to the people we support have been well noted. Damon was also previously recognized as Employee of the Month (nominated 4 times in total).

Damon has had the pleasure of working with and getting to know Lenin. Lenin used to be a man of few words. He was not very comfortable expressing himself, especially not out loud and/or publicly. Lenin had difficulties with interacting and socializing with others, yet as per his Personal Outcome Measures® interview findings, this was one of his biggest desires. With that information, we were able to understand outcomes and strategies to enhance his quality of life.

Lenin had a desire to increase his socialization skills, thus opening his world to a multitude of new opportunities. Damon suggested Lenin should join CFS Self-Advocacy group, which focused on people exercising their rights and being comfortable speaking up for themselves. Lenin took full advantage and excelled in the area of speaking up. He had become quite comfortable in expressing himself, his wants and his rights.

Despite his timid nature in speaking and verbalizing his feelings, thoughts and emotions, Damon also discovered that Lenin is a profound writer and poet. Once it was discovered that he writes poetry, Damon worked with Lenin to enhance and develop his passion for the art, facilitating Lenin’s personal growth and development. Lenin worked on valued outcomes such as increasing his socialization, increasing his participation in self advocacy and in the community.

Once he became more verbally expressive, it was further discovered that Lenin had an ultimate desire to perform his work, for an audience. Damon put forth real time and effort in supporting Lenin. Damon created a forum in the residence and eventually within the agency, for Lenin to share his poetry, enhancing his self-confidence in public speaking; thus supporting Lenin’s potential. Damon would search the internet to find local resources and opportunities for Lenin to perform his Spoken Word poetry, like Community Centers, Arts & Performance Centers, etc. Damon helped Lenin to connect to a community of other poets and artists, with whom he communicates and shares ideas with, connecting him to a whole new network of natural supports.

Today, Lenin is like a local celebrity in his neighborhood. As he travels throughout his community, he is well-known and very social with his neighbors. He is known in the community for his spoken word and volunteer performances. He currently attends (and often performs at) the local weekly Poetry Slam Café in the city. Damon takes so much pride in having supported Lenin to explore this personal goal of being a Spoken Word performer, and CFS takes pride in recognizing Damon for his dedication and innovative work.

2016 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week

This article is part of a campaign during the 2016 DSP Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are helping people achieve their individually-defined outcomes, through the use of Personal Outcome Measures®. This campaign was developed through a partnership between CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership and The National Alliance For Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).