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.