NADSP E-Badge Earner of the Month: Kelsey Wells

by | Jan 4, 2024 | News

Congratulations to Kelsey Wells who has been selected as the January 2024 NADSP E-Badge Academy Earner of the Month. We are recognizing Kelsey Wells for her excellent ‘Representation’ E-Badge submission. This badge represents a Frontline Supervisor’s skill in ensuring that media and printed information displayed within and disseminated by organization positively reflects the different cultures, languages, and literacy levels of individuals and families supported by organization. This badge is part of the Cultural Awareness and Responsiveness National Frontline Supervisor Competency.

Kelsey works as a Day Habilitation Supervisor at Link Associates in West Des Moines, Iowa. The mission of Link Associates is to provide people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to achieve their personal goals. To learn more about Link Associates, click here. 

Kelsey’s Experiences With The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) recently asked Kelsey about her experiences with the NADSP E-Badge Academy. The questions covered how she carries out her work as a frontline supervisor, the skillsets she demonstrates on a daily basis, the impact that the E-Badge Academy has had on her professional recognition, and how she gets credit for competency.

Describe the story you shared in carrying out that competency:

My story was about representation and how I advocated to help represent person served in the LGBTQ family at our company.  We had many different curriculums our DSPs would teach about healthy relationships, building relationships and all of them represented heterosexual relationships.  I wanted to advocate for the people we serve to know they have allies within their staff and at Link Associates to be their authentic selves.  I worked with multiple staff to help create curriculums about sex education for all sexualities and providing information for people in the LGBTQ family on different resources in the community.  Link Associates has done an amazing job over the last couple years in representing the LGBTQ community a being a more inclusive company.​

Why is this competency so important to DSPs?

This competency is very important for DSPs because they help people, they work with to be seen and heard in the community.  DSPs can amplify the voice for the people they work with, which is so crucial in having the people we serve live their authentic lives.

How have you used this competency in your work?

I have helped advocate in getting more information presented yearly in the monthly June newsletter about all the Pride events available for people to attend.  I have also helped by adding to a curriculum about sex education that also included same sex relationships.

How can other DSPs replicate your practices?

DSPs can advocate and continue having conversations with the people they work with on what their preferences are when it comes to dating.  DSPs can continue advocating and researching different ways to help persons served become a part of their community and help persons served get involved in different events meaningful to them.

How does the NADSP E-Badge Academy benefit your agency?

The NADSP E-Badge Academy provides the knowledge and skills for our DSPs and Frontline Supervisors to ensure they are providing the best quality of services they can.  It allows for staff to reflect and realize that past situations could have been handled differently and to not be repeated.  The E-Badge Academy allows for DSPs and Frontline Supervisors to grow in their professional, but also personal life.

How does NADSP E-Badge Academy benefit the people you support?

The people I support benefit from the NADSP E-Badge Academy because the DSPs and Frontline Supervisors that complete the program have a better understanding of the Code of Ethics, person-centered supports and all the competencies for their role.  Having the knowledge of how to best support the people we work with is very valuable in ensuring persons served are living their best lives.

What does the future hold for your involvement in the NADSP E-Badge Academy?

I would love to become a trainer for the Frontline Supervisor Curriculum.  I am currently working on my E-Badge Frontline Supervisor competencies, and I am one away from finishing them all! I will continue to reference the Code of Ethics and ensure all decisions being made fall within the codes.

How has NADSP E-Badge Academy affected your professional image?

The E-Badge Academy has really opened my eyes to the important role we all have on the lives of the individuals we work with.  In writing my entries to each competency it has made me reflect on 10 years of situations, and if I had been trained on the Code of Ethics sooner in my career, I would have handled many of these past situations with a more person-centered approach. I feel more educated on the competencies and confident that I can bring that knowledge to our DSPs at Link Associates

Additionally, the Frontline Supervisor training has really made me want to become a better supervisor.  I feel more inspired to get the DSPs I supervise involved in learning the DSP competencies and Code of Ethics.

How has NADSP E-Badge Academy given you credit for competency?

The NADSP E-Badge Academy gives me credit for competency by approving the testimonials I submit, which then results in being given the E-badge for that competency.  After meeting the requirements for Frontline Supervisor certifications, I can continue my path to become nationally certified.

Well Wishes from Kelsey’s Agency

“Anyone associated with this industry knows that our supervisors have one of the most stressful and complicated positions. They must always coordinate and manage the member satisfaction, family and guardian trust, employee motivation and relationships, all at the same time. Each of these pieces’ is critical in ensuring those we serve are receiving the best quality life experience possible.  Link Associates is honored to participate in the Frontline Supervisor program, and those we serve, our staff and our organization have all benefited greatly.”

– Linda Dunshee, Executive Director, Link Associates

“Congratulations to you, Kelsey, on being the first from Iowa to be recognized as an E-Badge Earner of the month! We are all so proud of Kelsey, other supervisors at Link Associates, and supervisors with other agencies associated with the Polk County Positive Behavior Support Network that are going through this certification process. We have had a number of supervisors obtain their Frontline Supervisor Certification within the past 5 years, and we’ve seen a lot of growth and development in their roles. Kelsey’s ability to implement what she’s learned from the Frontline Supervisor Competencies as well as the Code of Ethics is very evident in her relentless advocacy for person served she supports.  Amazing Work, Kelsey!”

– Jen Muller, Quality Assurance Administrator, Link Associates

“Kelsey has worked in our Day Program for 10 years. She is a fierce advocate for persons served and is always willing to try new approaches to adapt services to each individual’s needs. After 10 years of service, Kelsey’s ability to meet a person where they are at is completely natural. It is not uncommon to see Kelsey sharing a laugh with those she supports to help turn their day around. We are lucky to have Kelsey at our agency as a Day Program Supervisor and I am thrilled she is being recognized by the NADSP. 

– Claire Sumner, Day Program Administrator, Link Associates

“Polk County Behavioral Health and Disability Services, in partnership with our network of providers, is proud to be one of the first in the nation to implement the Frontline Supervisor training program.  Using a training collaborative effort, we are in our 5th year and have documented both qualitative and quantitative positive outcomes for our providers’ staff and the individuals they support.  This award is one such testament to its success.  Kelsey, we salute the hard work you’ve put in, and our system of care is that much better for it.  Congratulations!”

-Maria Walker, Program Planner, Polk County Behavioral Health and Disability Services, NADSP Board Member

The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The NADSP E-Badge Academy offers Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and Frontline Supervisors (FLSs)  the ability to earn national certification through stackable electronic badges. These badges demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and values that these professionals utilize every day, recognizing the professional development that might otherwise go unacknowledged.  Through the NADSP E-Badge Academy, DSPs and FLSs are acknowledged for the experience and education that they bring to the human services field.

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