OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services ( DHS) Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) held its 28th Governor’s Conference on Developmental Disabilities recently in Norman. During the awards ceremony, DHS recognized A New Leaf, Inc.’s Direct Support Worker David Pitts with an “Award of Excellence” in direct support services.
Pitts is the only agency male worker at A New Leaf Inc. approved to work in a co-ed home. He can provide total care, knows sign language, and is extremely successful working with clients with unmet needs.
The nomination form says Pitts was selected because “he does everything in his power to ensure that individuals are involved in the community and are able to interact with their peers. Singlehandedly, David has organized caravans to ensure that individuals (even those he does not serve) make it to events, ceremonies, parties and dances. He has dedicated his life to making sure that individuals with developmental disabilities in the Tulsa community are able to live the lives they desire despite their disability.”
A direct support service professional is someone who works as a direct care worker for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. These workers can include habilitation training specialists, job coaches and group home staff, as well as habilitation aides, workshop staff, and agency companions or as specialized foster parents.
The criteria for winning an Award of Excellence focuses on a nominee’s tenure, experience, relationship to the individual(s) and the families they support, leadership, advocacy and their success in supporting people to be included in the community.
“Our award winners say they absolutely cherish the people they serve,” said JoAnne Goin, director, DDS. “They’re practical, determined and compassionate folk who treat their individuals like dear friends and family, all the while encouraging and teaching them how to become more independent members in the communities where they work and live.”