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April 2, 2020 | thestate.com

 

On support staff

thestate.com

thestate.com - Former Gov. Nikki Haley (left) and Community Options CEO Robert Stack (right) pose with a resident in one of Columbia nonprofit’s group homes for people with disabilities. Now more than ever we need to support the selfless support staff workers who ensure the safety of local people with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of Community Options)

All of us have a plan on how to keep ourselves and the people we love safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But what about the people who cannot make such plans?

What about the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are living in group homes across our state? They are vulnerable, and they need support.

A few years ago Nikki Haley, our former governor and ambassador to the United Nations, visited one of our group homes in Columbia. She came away so impressed by the selfless commitment of the staff members who provide caring support for the group home members.

A direct support professional is an essential employee who does not have the option of safely working from home. They are paid little more than a minimum wage, yet they work around the clock in group homes to ensure the safety of people with disabilities (many of whom struggle to comprehend the changes taking place around them).

Community Options manages this 24-hour care regardless of the global circumstances, and we want to recognize the heroism of our direct support professionals. Over the next 10 weeks all gifts to Community Options will go toward increasing the pay of a direct support professional on the front lines.

To donate, go here.

Please help us help them to help others.

Robert Stack, Columbia

Stack is the CEO of Community Options.