New Hope of Indiana Awards First Direct Support Professional of the Year Award

12 Jun New Hope of Indiana Awards First Direct Support Professional of the Year Award

New Hope of Indiana has announced the first-ever winner of the Lynn Feldman and Kathe Rae Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year Award. Jonel Foreste has worked for nearly 20 years as a DSP for the nonprofit organization that serves Hoosiers with developmental disabilities.

This announcement comes at a time when DSPs have proven to be especially vital supports. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these caregivers continued working around the clock to serve our most vulnerable neighbors.

“Jonel embodies everything we could ask a DSP to be,” said New Hope CEO Allison Wharry. “He strives every day to make the individuals he works with feel comfortable, valued, important and loved. He finds joy and pride in his work. Not only does he care for our clients, he goes the extra mile to care for his coworkers.”

In the years that New Hope was a part of St. Vincent Health, associates were able to apply for emergency loans. When New Hope separated from St. Vincent in 2014, its associates were no longer eligible for this program, but Jonel saw that his coworkers were often in need and could benefit from an emergency fund. He advocated for a new assistance program with New Hope’s leaders and was an integral part in implementing the Associate Financial Assistance (AFA) Program. In July 2018, AFA began serving associates in need by providing interest-free emergency loans. Today, Jonel sits on the committee which oversees the AFA Program.

The award is named for Lynn Feldman and Kathe Rae, two longtime New Hope employees who retired in 2019.

See the award presentation.

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