Recognizing the work of Direct Support Professionals

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:40 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Every day, there are people working in our community to support and enrich the lives of those living with disabilities.

The week of September 10th-16th is set aside to recognize the work of those “Direct Support Professionals” like Rebecca Lange.

Lange works as the Lead DSP at Hawthorne Hall, an apartment location that supports adults with disabilities. She also has worked in Direct Care at Lifescape since 2015.

As a Direct Support Professional, she gets to interact with the many people who benefit from the services offered by Lifescape.

“We’re just here to do what we can, we try to do our best to make sure that they have a meaningful life and have their days mean something and be important to them,” said Lange.

Each day for Rebecca is different but each day, her goal remains the same.

“You see these people in and out,” she said. “You’re with them on their really good days and their bad days. And you try to do your best to make their bad days better and their best days even better. And I think that’s one of my favorite things about the job.”

Out of 3,500 Direct Support Professionals statewide, Rebecca was recently highlighted for her work and how passionate she is about the job she does every day.

She’s been named South Dakota’s t Direct Support Professional of the Year for 2023 by the National Disability Provider Association, ANCOR, the American Network of Community Options and Resources.

In addition to her work with Lifescape and Hawthorne Hall, Rebecca also volunteers for an organization called “Lunch Is Served.”

“She is an asset to Lunch Is Served,” said Junker. “She has done virtually every job that there is at Lunch Is Served.”

Every Wednesday for the last two-and-a-half years, Rebecca and Doug, who lives at Hawthorne Hall, help pack lunches for the non-profit organization.

“She is very helpful, always has a smile, great attitude and she and Doug make a great team,” said Kathy Junker, the Executive Director of Lunch Is Served.

For Rebecca, it’s getting to work alongside people like Doug that makes her job so meaningful and gives her the purpose to come back each and every day.

“I work in a home with 17 individuals and I love working with all of them. Everyone has a different personality, they all keep you on your toes. But at the end of the day it’s a great job to have,” she said.

More information about Direct Support Professionals can be found here: