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DSP Week: Three Citizens Group Homes Awarded Citation from Nassau County Legislator

Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week: A Series

Meet the multi-faceted DSPs that make up Citizens Options Unlimited

Citizens staff pose for a photo with their award during DSP Week

On September 5th, three Citizens Options Unlimited group homes received citations from Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitten for their excellency and commitment to strengthening Long Island’s community. The awards were presented by DeRiggi-Whitten to each staff member from our three group homes on the Nassau North shore: Red Spring Lane, William Street, and Pickwick. The event was hosted at The View in Glen Cove.

This was the perfect time to recognize the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and other staff who make up these tremendous group homes as DSP Recognition Week begins September 10th.

Residential Manager Christine Basile makes a speech at the event.

“DSPs are our most invaluable resource,” Christine Basile, Residential Manager at Red Spring Lane, said. “They’re more than just Direct Support Professionals, they’re teachers, nurses, comforters, cooks, house cleaners, and the list goes on and on.”

The event was organized by Christine Basile who coincidentally bumped into DeRiggi-Whitten while out in town with the people she supports.

“We would like to thank Deila DeRiggi-Whitten,” Christine Basile said. “You’re downtown during the weekends and you see our folks, you see our staff, and it’s evident to you and all the people in our community that the people we support are a part of our community and are accepted by our community.”

In attendance were Glen Cove Deputy Mayor Donna McNaughton, Town of Babylon Councilman DuWayne Gregory, family of people supported by our agency, Glen Cove Councilwoman Marsha Silverman, and local press.

The celebration was marked by several guest speakers, including Jonathan Drexler, who lives at William Street; Jim Badke, father of Amanda Badke who has lived at Pickwick for 14 years; and Michelle Laser, mother of Arielle Laser who has lived at Red Spring Lane for 10 years and has been with Citizens for 12.

Resident Jonathan Drexler also spoke at the event

“I thank you all for what you do for everyone in my house,” Jonathan Drexler said. “I’m so grateful for everything that you do for us each day, such as driving, cooking, medication, and supervision.”

Jim Badke, father of Amanda Badke, spoke at the event.

“I really do want to thank you all and I am speaking on behalf of virtually all parents who are in this situation,” Jim Badke said. “Sometimes, I’ll go into my daughter’s house and think, ‘How do these people do this job?’, and then I think of all the qualities that make a person good at their job…You need to be persistent, resilient, understanding, cool under pressure, and last but not least, compassionate.”

Michelle Laser, mother of Arielle Laser, gave a speech at the event.

“I’m here today with my husband Howard and daughter Madeleine, who is a special needs attorney because she knows it takes a village,” Michelle Laser, LCSW, said. “Picture this: You find out your first-born has autism, then a seizure disorder and diabetes, and you and your husband work full time and you have limited family support. You need help, so you turn to a wonderful agency like Citizens Options Unlimited, and fast forward through many trials and tribulations and you find angels like the ones at Red Spring Lane. And we thank you for the care you give our daughter every day. Through people like you, we have created a village.”

Spring Lane staff including DSPs post for a photo with their citation.

Congratulations to Red Spring Lane’s Christine Basile, Residential Manager, Ibukunoluwa Ajiborisha, DSP; Ashia Foster, DSP; Judith Francois, DSP; Martine Jerome, DSP; Gregory Leville, DSP; and Guerdy Pierre, DSP.

Pickwick staff including DSPs post for a photo with their citation.

Congratulations to Pickwick’s Pamela Iliou, Assistant Residential Manager; Sarah Gonzalez, DSP; Margrette Jean Pierre, DSP; and Minata Kabre, DSP.

William Street staff including DSPs post for a photo with their citation.

Congratulations to William Street’s Sherry Qualls, Residential Manager; Brianna Brito, DSP; Bryan Jenkins, DSP; Ronald Jules, DSP; Joane Medacier, DSP; and Kimberly Sinclair, DSP.



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