Friday, July 6, 2018

Everyone deserves to live an independent and self-reliant life by Lorraine Glowcak

As we enter adulthood, we look forward to being self-reliant and independent, living in our own homes and being active contributing members in our community. The same can be said of adults who face developmental disabilities. However, there are many barriers that these individuals face regarding self-sufficiency. That’s where the non-profit organization, Port Resources, comes in to assist adults with developmental challenges to live on their own and be a part of the community in which they live.

Based in South Portland, Port Resources offers the opportunity for those facing challenges to live meaningful and full lives and has done so for more than 30 years. The organization has 22 well-maintained group homes and supervised apartments in Southern Maine, two of which are in Windham.

To provide and offer support, Port Resource hires and trains Direct Support Professionals (DSP) to meet the various needs of their clients. These needs vary greatly and can include community activities and integration, assistance with activities of daily living, life skill building, medication administration, behavior management and personal care. 

“For those who are looking for a significant way to be of service to others and to give back in some meaningful way, the DSP position is the perfect job,” stated Derek Schenk, recruiter at Port Resources. “There are plenty of opportunities to help people and provide service – from life coaching to full hands on assistance.”

Port Resource also collaborates with other organizations within the arts, cultural, educational and recreational communities, allowing the client opportunities for community inclusion. 

“Our clients are just like everyone else. They love to work outside the home, they enjoy volunteering at various events and organizations and like going to the movies. The DSP helps them do this – and more - to lead fulfilling and happy lives.”

Although there are many possibilities for a DSP to enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities, organizations like Port Resource are facing great challenges to meet the needs of their clients and to continue to help them lead a full life.

Everyone deserves a self-reliant life. Port Resources work on a legislative level to make that happen

“There is a work force shortage due to the lack of funding,” Schenk explained. “The issues include low reimbursement funding to cover DSP pay and beneļ¬ts, supervisors and program management, home supplies, home maintenance, insurance, program transportation, representative payee services, and all administrative costs.”

How can organizations like Port Resources properly serve the people they support and give them the quality and consistency of life they deserve if funding for their clients is limited?

There may be a bright light on the horizon. Maine Bill LD 967, "An Act To Ensure Access to Community for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism" which was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services on March 9, 2017 is being recommended for approval and is expected to pass in the next legislative session. Port Resource appreciates the legislators work on this issue. Although it was vetoed by the governor, they look forward to a possible overturn next week.

As a result, things may be looking up for Port Resources and their employees. But the clients are the ones who benefit the most once this legislation is passed. They get to live self-directed and high-quality lives, just like every other adult.

“The DSP positions are fun, and meaningful” Schenk said. “You get to help clients live a good life. And for those who enjoy having a week off without interruption (especially during the summer months) our live-in positions are on a week on and week off basis.”

According to their website, Port Resources offers training and certification classes for health professionals including certified nursing assistant certification and direct support certification and continuing education classes are offered.

They provide a variety of benefits including: health, dental, short and long-term disability, life insurance, 403b match, a wellness program including Weight Watchers discounts, as well as excellent paid training and paid time off.

To learn more about Port Resources, visit their website at www.portresources,org. To inquire about a position with Port Resources, contact Schenk at 828-0048 x-136.

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