Direct Support Professionals Week 2021

COURTESY PHOTOS Above: Shawn Fernholz and Clayton Werdel Below: Karen Koel and DJ Titus; Mabel Andrews and Lisa Warner

HURON — Sept. 12-18 is recognized as Direct Support Professionals Week.
The Center for Independence would like to recognize the efforts of the dedicated and well-trained Direct Support Professionals committed to helping everyone create friendships and to live the life they choose.  DSP’s act as a bridge to the community for individuals with disabilities.   The most important part of a DSP’s job is to help people make and keep connections with their families, friends, co-workers, and others in the community.  

Shawn Fernholz and Clayton Werdel
Shawn Fernholz is a residential instructor at Blachford House in Miller and has worked there 17 years.  “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the smiles on someone’s face when they accomplish something. I like the variety of my job-doing different things every day. I like getting out with others and doing things in the community-not having to sit in front of a desk everyday.”

Clayton says about Shawn, “Shawn takes me on a lot of different activities. I like going places with her. She helps me take care of my candy business and takes me to my work.She helps me get to my medical appointments. She is a good worker and takes good care of me.”

Karen Koel and DJ Titus
Karen  Koel is a residential instructor in the community and has worked with the CFI for eight years. One of the people she works with DJ Titus. Karen said that some of the things she and DJ like to do together include playing cards and going out to McDonald’s to get a coffee and a breakfast treat.  

She also said, “The most rewarding part of my job is when I teach someone something and they get it or improve on whatever I am teaching them. I also like the relationships I build with people. I am really close with a couple of people since I’ve worked with them since I first started here.”  

When asked about Karen, DJ said, “She is very free-spirited and open-minded and I like that. She is almost like my second mom.”

Mabel Andrews and Lisa Warner
Mabel Andrews works in Lake Preston and has worked there for two years. When asked what the most rewarding part of her job is, she says, “I love the smiles the guys give you, it is so rewarding. Not everyone is verbal but you can see how happy they are in their faces and you can get to know them through their expressions.”  

When asked what she does with Lisa she said, “We like going to the movies and going out together to get her nails done.”

Lisa Warner says about Mabel, “I’ve known Mabel for a long time — she worked with me when I was in school. I really like working with Mabel because she is funny and nice.”

During this week, designated as National Direct Support Professionals week, the Center will be recognizing and showing appreciation to the DSP’s we employ.  

In gratitude, the Center invites you to help us recognize their skills and efforts. 


COURTESY PHOTOS Above: Shawn Fernholz and Clayton Werdel Below: Karen Koel and DJ Titus; Mabel Andrews and Lisa Warner


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