Submitted by: Paula Nerone, Merakey Allegheny Valley School

Pauline Seibert has served as Direct Support Professional for 42 years, and is employed at Merakey Allegheny Valley School (Merakey AVS), a human service organization headquartered in Coraopolis, PA. Merakey AVS ‘provides homes and a full range of services to individuals with all levels of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).’

Most of the people who Pauline supports were children when she started as a Direct Support Professional, but are now adults. The majority of people do not communicate using words and have significant physical disabilities. Pauline has been a strong advocate for them, empowering them to make choices and have experiences based on their own personal dreams and desires.

Through a tireless work ethic, Pauline has a deep dedication to her responsibilities as a Direct Support Professional. Even though her workday officially starts at 7:00 am, she arrives at 6:15 am so she can get started. When asked about her commitment to her work, Pauline shares that “this is her job” and her signature was a contract to do it.

She strives to make strong connections with those she supports, as well as her colleagues at work. She starts out each day with an upbeat “good morning” greeting, as she likes to begin each day with a positive attitude.

One woman, who receives supports from Pauline, was able to learn the days of the week. While at face-value this may not seem noteworthy, the woman learned them by anticipating Pauline’s arrival to work each day!

She embodies NADSP’s Code of Ethics and upholds the highest standards involving dignity and respect, always treating and interacting with people receiving services as her equals. Pauline makes sure the thoughts, feelings and opinions of people receiving services are heard, understand and acted upon. Pauline always ensures people are directly involved in conversations concerning their lives and the supports they receive. When people do not appear to be clear about what is being discussed, Pauline will take all of the time needed to explain and clarify the information to the person.

Recognizing the impact of community, Pauline makes it a priority to provide supports for people to be involved. She works to identify activities, events, and other happenings around town that people would like to participate in. She then puts it all into action, helping people experience what is going on in the world around them.

Every day, Pauline makes a huge imprint on the lives of the people she supports and anyone she encounters. This is just who Ms. Pauline Seibert is, and we’re very grateful for her dedication to being a Direct Support Professional!

This article is part of a campaign during the 2019 National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are demonstrating excellence through the use of NADSP’s Code of Ethics/Competency Areas and/or CQL’s Personal Outcome Measures®. This campaign was developed through a partnership between The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership, and The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).