Special to the Elk River Star News, May 22, 2018
Elk River’s Elizabeth Lobb felt there was more she could do with her life. She had worked in nursing homes and family foster settings, but neither felt like her true calling, and she was still searching for the right fit. She found it last year, as a residential program coordinator for four individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Now, just 13 months after she arrived, her work in her current house in Crystal is being recognized at the national level.
On April 17, Lobb was honored in New Orleans by the American Network of Community Options and Resources as Minnesota’s DSP of the Year.
A direct support professional, or DSP, is someone who works for providers of community-based services to people with disabilities and helps those organizations fulfill their mission. Lobb works for Dungarvin Minnesota, which has been a provider since 1976, and currently provides services to 1,100 individuals throughout the state.
When Lobb began working in her current house last year, she had to earn the respect and trust of the four men, aged 25-39, who live there. She took on the task with a positive, honest approach.
“I told them, ‘I’m going to treat you like I’ve always treated people,’” Lobb said. “‘I’m going to get to know who you are as a person. Just because you live in a group home doesn’t mean you don’t have a purpose.’”