Archive for May, 2011

Care, Committment and Coffee!

Posted by on May 31st, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Comments Off on Care, Committment and Coffee!

At the 2011 Voices Institute Leadership Training, DCA communications director, Josh Sabato sat down for conversations with workers and direct care advocates from around the country, discussing the most pressing issues facing direct care workers and how anyone can join the movement in their home state. This week we invite you to meet Meriam Jawhar, from the DCA’s New Mexico chapter! DCA Speaks with Meriam Jawhar at 2011 Voices Institute Training

Waiting for my Care Angel

Posted by on May 31st, 2011 at 3:42 pm | 2 Comments »

Joan Leah

The following poem was contributed by Joan Leah

Nights and days blend together as I wait for your care

Without you I would simply sit and stare

My hands are wrinkled and riddled with pain

Once I could care for myself, I still try but in vain

I try to sleep so the time goes by

I stare at pictures and begin to cry

Continue reading »

Why I Took This Job

Posted by on May 24th, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Comments Off on Why I Took This Job

Toby and Donnie go to the library

with me on Friday.

Toby asks for a book on NASCAR

and looks for pictures of crashes

while Donnie talks to everyone.

I’m trying to get him to Say hi and move on

and usually he’s okay with that

but sometimes I have to peel him off

strangers who he’s asking to marry. Continue reading »

Voices Institute Grad Reflects on Training and Looks to the Future

Posted by on May 24th, 2011 at 7:28 am | 4 Comments »

This story was contributed by Noel Mendez

WOW. What an experience. One that I will never ever forget that touched every part of me. How can someone learn so much, have so much fun, meet so many wonderful people, and discover oneself at the same time? There is only one way. Attend the VOICES INSTITUTE LEADERSHIP TRAINING next year in Racine, Wisconsin, hosted by the Direct Care Alliance.

The Direct Care Alliance selects direct care worker leaders for this intensive, week-long retreat, where they learn about advocacy, fundraising, organizational development, message development, and more.

When I first heard about the Voices Institute from Brenda Nachtway-membership director with the DCA-I immediately sent in my application because I just knew that I would learn some really good stuff there. Then came the waiting, hoping, and praying that I would be one of the 29 lucky workers from across the country to be selected. When I got the news in early March that I was indeed selected, I could hardly wait to attend! I asked can we start next week? Can we start tomorrow?
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The National Voices Institute Experience – Part III

Posted by on May 16th, 2011 at 4:24 pm | 2 Comments »


Joan Leah

My colleagues and I just completed the 2011 Voices Institute Leadership Training Program! It was a very intense, yet rewarding learning experience and I am honored to have graduated with some of the finest people I have ever met. The investment that has been made by the DCA in this 2011 class is significant and it is now our responsibility to take the next steps to ensure our collective voices are being heard across the country.  I have been armed with the tools necessary to advocate for the desperately needed changes to our long term care system, and I am fully focused on stepping up to the challenge of helping to create a more stable direct care workforce throughout Florida. Continue reading »

2011 DCA Voices Institute Training a Smashing Success!

Posted by on May 16th, 2011 at 4:23 pm | 1 Comment »


Tracy Dudzinski

Another VI class has come and gone and what a week it was!  First off, I would like to thank all the workers who took the time to come to Wisconsin and develop their leadership skills.  It was a wonderfully diverse group filled with the talented and inspiring people our movement needs to be successful in the coming weeks, months and years.

The 2011 Voices Institute was a full circle moment for me.  I attended in 2008 as a worker and was privileged to come back this year and have the opportunity to expand my leadership skills as a facilitator.  When I arrived on Saturday and walked in the front door of Taylor Hall the memories overtook me.  It was like I was back in 2008 arriving as a student and I couldn’t wait to get started!  It was an exciting week and I enjoyed watching the new class find their voice.  Although some of our attendees were quiet at the beginning of our training, by the end of the week they blossomed like the magnolia tree in the garden, turning into the leaders who will expand this movement in all corners of the country.

Continue reading »

The National Voices Institute Experience – Part II

Posted by on May 10th, 2011 at 8:12 pm | 3 Comments »


Joan Leah

We are now through day two of the 2011 Voices Institute Training! In a very short period of time we have all gotten to know each other and are creating common bonds. The approach to training has been great in that it is not a lecture but rather a powerful interactive learning experience of shared issues driving a passion for change.

We are in the first phase of being armed with the tools to make an impact within our respective states and beyond. I have had two significant “a ha” moments: The  first is the impact that a single issue such as care givers working two jobs to make ends meet can have.  The ripple effect is such that parents are often not home to guide children, families are forced to live in areas with a lower standard of living including high crime, public assistance is needed at a higher rate and family relationships are being stretched to the limits.

Continue reading »

Pennsylvania Direct Care Workers Association Philadelphia Chapter Summer Event

Posted by on May 10th, 2011 at 8:07 pm | 1 Comment »


215 335 0870
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Caregivers in Need of Care Often Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

Posted by on May 10th, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Comments Off on Caregivers in Need of Care Often Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

John Booker

Every day millions of direct care workers, nurses and family caregivers work tirelessly to serve and assist those in need of their services. Unfortunately, many of these same caregivers are now in need of the care and assistance that they were trained to give to others. Some of them have worked so hard for so long that they are literally dying on the job.

With all the obstacles that presently stand in the way of the delivery of quality care, such as wages, benefits, and finding the proper definition for workers, there is larger obstacle looming on the horizon: Workers who have are ill and injured themselves, but must continue to work. Many return early to work after serious injuries because there is not enough to make ends meet or they have been threatened about the loss of their job.

Continue reading »

The National Voices Institute Experience – Part I

Posted by on May 2nd, 2011 at 12:58 pm | 4 Comments »

I am thrilled to have been chosen to participate in the DCA’s 2011 Voices Institute National Leadership Training Program and I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the team next week in Wisconsin!

I first learned about DCA through my volunteer work at the Florida Professional Association of Care Givers and was nominated by that organization for the DCA’s Leadership Conference.  Recently, the DCA and FPACG joined forces and are now working together to provide better quality of life for direct care workers and the consumers they serve throughout the state of Florida.  I am honored to have been selected out of a field of very talented candidates and I look forward to representing the FPACG at this year’s VI training.

Continue reading »

Direct Care Workforce Issues Highlighted at 2011 Aging in America Conference

Posted by on May 2nd, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workforce Issues Highlighted at 2011 Aging in America Conference

Last week, the Direct Care Alliance led two workshops at the 2011 Aging in America Conference in San Francisco.  David Ward and Helen Hanson – DCA’s Director of Policy and Planning and DCA’s Professional Development Manager –  were joined by Steve Edelstein of PHI and Howard Bedlin of the National Council on Aging to discuss opportunities to stabilize the direct care workforce.

At the workshop, the panelists discussed a variety of policy issues, campaigns and initiatives that are underway to improve direct care jobs.  DCA staff discussed its two-pronged strategy to end the exemption of home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections: the federal legislation sponsored by Representative Linda Sanchez from California and Senator Robert Casey from Pennsylvania as well as the opportunity to change the companion exemption regulations through the U.S. Department of Labor.

The federal legislation is likely to be re-introduced in Congress sometime in May or early June and the Department of Labor plans to issue a proposed rule for the companionship exemption by October.

Continue reading »

Get Involved: Fearless Caregiver Conferences in Minnesota and Connecticut

Posted by on May 2nd, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Comments Off on Get Involved: Fearless Caregiver Conferences in Minnesota and Connecticut

Are you a family or professional caregiver? Get your care giving questions answered and participate in training at the Fearless Caregiver Conference in your area:  on May 19 from 8 to 2:30 at the Ramada Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota or on May 25th from 8 to 2:30 at the Danbury Plaza and Conference Center in Danbury, Connecticut.

Participants will learn how to be a caregiver for a loved one, what support is available for family caregivers, how to partner with their family members, and much more; they will also have the opportunity to gather support and advice from other caregivers.

Direct Care Alliance members will receive a certificate of attendance for this event.

Please invite members of your family, friends and clients who are caregivers.

Complimentary tickets are sponsored by the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging and Register online at Fearless or by calling (877) 829-2734.