To celebrate our Direct Support Professional’s we interviewed some of our great employees! Meet Darlene McNeil, who has dedicated over two decades of her career to Bancroft and all of the people we serve. She currently works at the Bancroft / Voorhees Pediatric Facility- read her interview below!
Darlene is thorough and a pleasure to work with. She is compassionate and loving with our students. She comes up with great ideas and is always willing to jump in anywhere as needed. Darlene enrolled in the DSP certification program.
Q: How many years have you been a DSP at Bancroft?
I have worked at Bancroft for 21 years.
Q: What inspired you to become a DSP?
I have been working at jobs that allow me to support people since my teenage years. It was back then when I realized I liked helping people. Prior to working at Bancroft, I had several jobs. All of these jobs involved servicing people. I learned that you have to be a caring person, with a lot of patience. I guess I could say that previous experience at other jobs inspired me to become a DSP. I started out babysitting for family members, teachers, even my pastor. I worked as a summer enrichment counselor, I worked with young adults as a youth services coordinator, I worked in early intervention at a previous job. Bancroft hired me as a 1:1 aid, as the years passed, I became a Teacher’s assistant. As I said earlier, I love working with people. My job here at Bancroft has allowed me to continue to do just that.
Q: Describe the impact you make on the lives of the individuals and families you’ve met.
I feel the impact I make on the lives of the individuals and families I’ve met has been nothing but positive. Many of the students are non-verbal, I interact with the students everyday. I can pretty much tell how they are feeling, I can tell if they are happy, sad, excited, etc. I can see it in their faces during our interactions, I can see it when their eyes light up, I can see it in their smiles, and the sounds they make when they are excited. I feel the family members appreciate what Bancroft is doing for their loved one. I have had family members thank me for what I am doing.
Q: What are some of the important lessons you have learned throughout your career?
There is one thing that I’ve learned as a child that has stuck with me throughout the years, and I carry that with me wherever I go. I have learned that you should treat others the way you expect them to treat you. You should respect yourself. You should respect others regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, etc., I added disability to the list since I started working at Bancroft. When I was growing up I did not know anyone with a disability, then I started working at Bancroft. It was challenging at first because I did not know what to expect. I learned that our students have the ability to learn, they just learn differently. I’ve learned and continue to learn with the help of all the training and experience that Bancroft has provided me.
Q: What is the biggest advice you have for new DSP’s?
Ask questions if you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be attentive to the individual you are working with as well as those around you. Be patient and allow the individual time to process what you are saying to them. Be supportive to your co-workers and teammates. Watch your attendance.