“You be you — don’t ever change!” That is the encouragement Jennifer Davis has been giving to Kevin Miller for years. “She helped me become the person I am,” Kevin says. “There’s nobody like her. She cares about people and goes all out for us, even when she’s not at work.”
Kevin was in what he described as “a challenging situation” before Jennifer helped him to move into a supportive apartment, where he has reached new heights of happiness and independence. She has been a key part of Lifetime Assistance’s Direct Support team for 28 years; advocating for individuals’ rights, championing their accomplishments, and elevating the level of service provided in the field of Developmental Disabilities.
Her loving dedication is being recognized by the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, as she has been named Direct Support Professional of the Year. “I’ve learned so much through the people I work with. They are the joy in my life. To see them thriving – it humbles me,” says Jennifer. DSP of the Year nominees must stand out and go above and beyond to provide exemplary service in the profession. In her glowing nomination, Social Worker Jennifer Everett lists the seemingly endless ways her colleague has changed lives at Lifetime Assistance. “Jennifer’s caring and compassion are demonstrated in her daily interactions with people. She has graciously taken on extra duties when the department needs her, and she participates fully while providing support.”
Kevin agrees that Jennifer goes above and beyond. Recently she took him to the hospital to visit a friend after her shift. “She went out of her way on a Sunday to make sure I could see my friend. That’s just the kind of person she is. She is there for people 100%,” Kevin said.
“I know very few people as patient as she is, yet she has the ability to push people forward. Jennifer has an amazing work ethic and encourages the people she supports to do their best even if it’s out of their comfort zone,” adds Everett. Her work with the Powers That Be Self Advocacy Group and Kiwanis Aktion Club have inspired both the people she serves and her co-workers, as does her daily work with people like Kevin.
“She’s a role model for a lot of people,” Kevin exclaims, “and nobody deserves this award more!”