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Honoring those whose hearts make a difference in kids’ lives

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 12:26 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - At care facilities nationwide, they’re marking Direct Support Professional Week, celebrating those who make it their lives work to help others live their lives.

One such facility is LifeScape here in Sioux Falls where the work being done daily is making lives better not only for their residents but for their residents’ families.

To care day in and day out for those who can’t always care for themselves takes not only training and patience but it also takes the kind of heart not everyone in the world possesses.

“She’s in a residential program and she gets her schooling,” says Vicki Menor.

Vicki Menor’s 17-year-old daughter Lydia is in LifeScape’s residential program. She learns here while she lives here. Vicki says Lydia is an introvert but that something about this program and the people who care for her has been able to help turn that around something Vicki wasn’t sure was possible.

“I think having her here and around a lot of different people, other children, other adults. I think has been very good for her,” says Vicki.

“They want to make sure that their son or daughter is safe and then also has a life that matters,” says LifeScape CEO Steve Watkins.

Watkins says their direct support professionals are more than workers at a job, they’re professionals whose work becomes personal.

“They truly become part of the family that supports that individual,” says Watkins.

“We would be lost without them,” says Angela Palmer

Seven years ago, Angela brought her son Levi to LifeScape. He was just shy of 5 years old. He was hurting himself 100 times a day. School was more of a chance to give Angela a break instead of an opportunity for Levi to learn.  Now, he’s in school at LifeScape and there has been a dramatic drop in the self-harm Levi had been doing to himself

“They try everything they can to support our son to be the best he can and to support the family so we can better support him,” says Angela.

If the adage that you get through life by having faith, hope, and love, needs to be tested, it is at LifesScape. Families have faith the people who work here can help their child, they hope that progress will lead to a better life. All of it is bound together by the hearts of these direct support professionals who know what it is to love a child under trying circumstances, every day.

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