Day Hab Without Walls, (DHWOW) staff members represent the future of community-based services. As our field moves toward complete societal inclusion for people receiving services, DHWOW provides opportunities for increased independence and exciting experiences all throughout New York City.

Sara Soriano thanks Direct Support staff from AHRC NYC’s Day Services programs.

This model is both highly rewarding and uniquely challenging for employees. Directors and Supervisors from DHWOW wanted to recognize the passion and dedication of these workers as Direct Support Professionals Appreciation Week approached. Thus, the DHWOW Awards were created.

Initially [the award ceremony] was Community Support Supervisor (CSS) Kimeisha Thomas’ suggestion when we were discussing ideas for team building,” Sarah Soriano, Director, DHWOW, said. “Then all of the DHWOW leadership team worked together to develop it into a reality.”

Sarah said that categories were developed by Community Support Professionals and then fully formulated through group discussion and meetings. “A week was given for all DHWOW staff (CSPs, CSS, and Admins) to submit for nominations via email and two weeks were open for all staff to vote online,” Sarah explained.

The result was a fun-filled, humorous, and uplifting afternoon! Held on Thursday, September 8th, at Manhattan Day Habilitation, 20 awards were given out, along with music and refreshments.

And the Award Goes to…

Awards were provided to these professionals for attributes including resourcefulness, leadership, creativity, thoughtfulness, teamwork, dedication, communication skills, and professionalism.

The Community Support Professionals and Community Support Supervisors that were honored for their work to support people with disabilities included:

  • Peter Doherty, CSP, Bronx
  • Vladimir Bozic, CSP, Manhattan
  • Edgar Rodriguez, CSS, Brooklyn
  • John Joseph, CSP, Manhattan
  • Bianca Rivera, CSP, Brooklyn
  • Lashonda Young, CSP, Queens
  • Jessica Taveras, CSP, Manhattan
  • Charisse Henry, CSP, Bronx
  • David Valand, CSP, Brooklyn
  • Marquita Johnson, CSP, Bronx
  • Lisa Palmer, CSP, Queens
  • Melanie Freeman, CSP, Manhattan
  • Fulani Nuyenzikazi, CSP, Bronx
  • Krystle Cruz, CSP, Bronx
  • James Pedroza, CSP, Queens
  • Lanasia Allen, CSP, Queens
  • Holli Flack, CSP, Manhattan
  • Josiah Wells, CSP, Brooklyn
  • Nicholas Sparacino, CSP, Queens

A special award was also given to Sarah Soriano. Because she is DHWOW’s Woman of Many Hats, she received several different headpieces with various labels: Team Builder, Director, and Supervisor, all in one!