The article below is a personal acocunt, written by Johanna Milian-Vargas, Higher Education Support Professional, at AHRC New York City’s Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program at Hostos Community College.

Throughout my years as a Direct Support Professional, (DSP) I have mentored these young bright adults with special needs and even with everything that I have taught them, I feel that I have learned more from them. It is a good feeling to see the growth of these individuals, to see how they have become independent in different aspects. They travel by themselves to different places around New York City. They have found employment and become productive people in our society.

This week I had a conversation with a student that I have provided services to for the last four years. He expressed that he is so excited because he is getting his first paycheck this week. He’s planning to save money and buy a plasma T.V. for his room and also buy nice clothes for winter. Those are the little things that make me feel tremendously proud and motivate me to continue working in this field.

Personally, being in this field has taught me to be a better mother and help me find patience with my own kids. Every morning when I wake up, I feel grateful for the opportunity that life has given me to work and grow in this field.