Three Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who work at Benedictine have received special recognition from the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration for their outstanding work as Direct Support Professionals. Alexandra Bank, Dawn Callahan, and Sharon Walbert were selected as award recipients after being nominated by the families of individuals they support.
Award recipients across Maryland were invited to Baltimore’s Camden Yards on Thursday, September 23, to receive special recognition at an Orioles game. A special ceremony was also held at Heritage Hall on Benedictine’s Ridgely campus on Thursday, September 30. Representatives of the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration awarded Certificates of Recognition to Bank, Callahan, and Walbert. Also invited were the individuals who nominated each awardee, as well as members of Benedictine staff, including direct supervisors, department directors, and three members of Executive Leadership. All attendees were required to wear masks and remain socially distanced.
DSPs serve as the face of Benedictine to the students and adults served by the organization, as well as to their families, employers, and the community. DSPs provide a broad range of individualized support to people of all ages, including assisting in the classroom; providing employment supports; teaching students and adults to navigate all aspects of daily life; providing transportation to school, work, medical appointments, and recreational activities; and assisting in financial matters. DSPs also help supported individuals to stay connected to family, friends, and the community.
Alexandra Bank was nominated by Anne McCormick for her work with McCormick’s adult son, Benjamin. McCormick commended Bank for her success in helping Benjamin hone his daily living skills, thereby boosting his confidence and his ability to contribute to his household.
“In three years’ time, Ms. Bank has encouraged and taught our son to do his own wash, including folding, set and clear the lunch and dinner table, put dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on, clean the kitchen and his own room, and cook!” wrote Mrs. McCormick. “His self-esteem has soared while in her care.”
Dawn Callahan was nominated by Don and Lorna Reid, parents of Alison Reid, an adult resident with whom Callahan works as a one-on-one DSP. The Reids nominated Callahan for her assistance in facilitating Alison’s participation in community-based activities, workplace assignments, recreational activities, and arts and crafts projects.
“Dawn Callahan has been and continues to be the driving force that has helped Alison be a part of community activities and she shares in the success and happiness [Alison] has achieved,” wrote Lorna Reid. “She has gone above and beyond in her efforts to assist our daughter and others with disabilities.”
Sharon Walbert was nominated by Sandy Bishins, mother of Dan Caplan, an adult resident of the group home where Walbert works as Lead House Counselor. Earlier this year, she was also nominated for Benedictine’s Sister Jeannette Award, an honor that is bestowed each year upon exemplary employees who exhibit the organization’s three core values of Dignity of Work, Hospitality, and Compassionate Caring.
“Sharon is a very compassionate person. She goes above and beyond doing anything she can to help everybody,” said Walbert’s coworker, Robyn Carter. “She has a special touch, and she’s really a great person.”
Benedictine wishes to thank Alexandra Bank, Dawn Callahan, and Sharon Walbert, and all the exceptional employees who demonstrate incredible dedication and compassion on a daily basis. If you wish to support Benedictine’s community and mission, please visit www.benschool.org and click “Donate.”
About Benedictine: Benedictine is one of the most comprehensive providers of services for children and adults with developmental & intellectual disabilities and autism. We offer a year-round educational program and 365-day residential program for students ages 5-21. Our students come from throughout Maryland, as well as adjoining states. Benedictine’s adult program provides community living, meaningful day services, and employment opportunities on the Eastern Shore and Annapolis. Benedictine’s mission is to help each individual achieve their full potential. Our mission and values of Hospitality, Dignity of Work, and Compassionate Caring are rooted in our founding by the Sisters of St. Benedictine. Today, Benedictine is a non-denominational organization, but we continue to honor and celebrate these values.