Archive for September, 2008

An Update from the Executive Director

Posted by on September 29th, 2008 at 3:45 am | Comments Off on An Update from the Executive Director
Leonila Vega

Leonila Vega

The following speech was given by Direct Care Alliance  Executive Director Leonila Vega at a celebration of the opening of the DCA’s Manhattan office on September 11, 2008.

Good evening, members of the board and friends. I want to thank you for making time to join us as we celebrate an important milestone in the journey of the Direct Care Alliance.

We were incorporated in 2006 with a goal to develop worker voices, develop coalitions, and become an independent organization. I want to thank our host, the Institute on Immigrant Concerns, for welcoming us into this, our new home. As a young organization, we are nurturing a movement designed to improve the quality of care for elders and persons with disabilities by improving the job of the direct care worker.

Much is owed to our friends and supporters. In that regard, I want to thank Lisa Hackett of the Community Resource Exchange for the invaluable assistance that ensured a successful transition from our home at PHI to this, our new home. I also want to Thank Donna Kelsh at the Institute for Immigrant Concerns for the warm welcome we have received. But in particular, I want to thank PHI for nurturing the Direct Care Alliance.

PHI’s vision brought to reality an urgently needed organization because PHI recognized that the millions of direct care workers who are the crucial link to the health, safety, independence, and quality of life for millions of elders and persons with disabilities, needed an organization of their own. They needed an organization that would advocate for direct care workers as its primary constituency, one that would provide leadership training, and gather elders, persons with disabilities, and employers into state coalitions and a national coalition that work together to improve the direct care worker’s job and thereby ensure an ample, well trained direct care workforce. Thank you, Steven Dawson.

Our mission is to improve the quality of care and supports that elders and persons with disabilities receive by improving the direct care job.

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The DCA Invests in Your Future — and Its Own

Posted by on September 22nd, 2008 at 8:55 am | 2 Comments »

crowd-1-at-91108-openingcrop1The event was called “Investing in Your Future,” but the Direct Care Alliance’s September 11 reception was a reminder of how much the DCA has done lately to brighten its own future.

Although the organization was founded about a decade ago, a new focus on supporting direct-care worker associations and empowering individual direct-care worker leaders has given it fresh momentum over the past few months.

In a speech to the attendees, DCA Executive Director Leonila Vega said the new momentum started with the DCA’s national conference in 2007, which brought together representatives of 18 direct-care worker associations for an intensive learning experience. That excitement was built on this spring by the first session of the Voices Institute, which Vega called “a great place for workers to learn to advocate for themselves.”

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What I Learned at the Voices Institute

Posted by on September 18th, 2008 at 2:49 pm | Comments Off on What I Learned at the Voices Institute

I am a career direct care worker. I had the great privilege of speaking about the Voices Institute leadership training program at the Direct Care Alliance reception in New York City on September 11, 2008. Here is my speech.

Good evening. I am honored to be here with you tonight to share with you my voice from the frontline. I feel very proud of my years of service in the direct care workforce and I feel very proud of the direction in which the workforce is going.

I turned 30 a few days ago and  have been a direct care worker since I graduated from high school. In direct care workforce terms, that would make me a veteran. With the current extraordinary turnover rates, many direct care workers enter this profession only to quickly leave.

I have learned so much over the last decade as a direct care worker. One of the first individuals I supported, Mike, a motivational speaker and educator, has quadriplegia due to a spinal cord injury. Mike and I immediately became a team and had to because we were simply put together without guidance; I was sent to fill an opening in his schedule. Mike taught me a lot about being a direct care worker.

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