May 09

Direct Support Staff of the Month

May 2017

In many instances people search for a long time to find that perfect job, but for Nadine Ritmiller, she feels that the Human Service industry found her. When her youngest child started school, she wanted to find something where she could incorporate her college degree and give her a feeling of purpose. That’s when she saw the sign outside the Penn-Mar Maryland Line office that said they were hiring and thus started her 15-year career with Penn-Mar and the Human Services industry.

When talking about her job, Nadine said, “I am happy to report that this has been, is, and continues to be my passion. I have the utmost respect for the individuals I serve and strive to treat them with the dignity and affection that they deserve as human beings.”

Nadine is truly dedicated to each individual that she serves and her mentor, Rhonda Morano, who is the MD Quality Administrator and Certified Benefits Counselor at Penn-Mar, said, “Nadine is a pleasure to work with. She has a genuine desire to work with individuals with disabilities and is motivated by them. She also prefers direct interaction with her individuals and is always looking out for their best interest.” Rhonda went on to say that Nadine embodies Penn-Mar’s Core Values and demonstrates compassion and empathy to the individuals in her care every day.

We know you will agree that Nadine is very deserving to be named our Direct Support Professional of the Month for May and we are very thankful for her.  She summed it up for us by saying, “These individuals have impacted my life in so many ways, I can’t even begin to count them all. My commitment to the field of direct care isn’t so much a commitment, but my vocation, my life’s work.”



April 2017

It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Rita Arnett, our Direct Support Professional of the Month. Rita has worked in the Human Services industry since 1984 and finds great fulfillment in knowing that she has the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. This is apparent to those who have the pleasure of working with her.

Ally Cox, Residential Program Manager, said that Rita is very passionate in her daily work and loves to talk with anyone about how they can Transform Life into Living for the individuals we support whether she knows you for 20 years or 3 minutes.  Ally said, “Rita provides the utmost care for the individuals she supports and ensures their needs and wants are met.”

Jackie Stevens, COO for PA, said, “I had the pleasure of directly supervising Rita when I was a Program Manager. She has tremendous passion for providing supports that are truly trans-formative. She is an advocate who is willing to lead and challenge others to redefine how services are provided. She is amazing.”

Just one example of how Rita goes above and beyond was when she had an individual who developed Alzheimer’s, and she saw that it manifested differently in someone with intellectual disabilities. She made it her mission to research extensively how to better care for this individual as well as train her staff. Today, Rita is the regional trainer on Dementia and ID for the National Task Group on ID and Dementia Practices. She conducted her first class along with her colleague, Lisa Hartley in March 2017. Rita said that with this new certification, “it will allow me to continue to advocate and provide services that are not only excellent but innovative and life changing.”

We feel that Rita not only changes the lives of the people she supports but also the lives of those of us who have the privilege to work alongside of her for the better. Thank you, Rita!



March 2017

Gretchyn Lathrop is a Direct Support Professional working in one of Penn-Mar’s group homes as a Residential Assistant. Gretchyn has always been drawn to the human services field, commenting that “It is the best fit for me because helping others in need has always been something that I have cared deeply about”.

After working in various human services industries, Gretchyn found her calling and her lifelong career aspirations when she began working as a DSP at Penn-Mar.  She said, “I feel that the importance of integrating the individuals we support out into the community so that they are able to lead fulfilling lives cannot be understated. The individuals we care for are great assets to society and should always be encouraged to live up to their full potential.”

“Gretchyn is a valued member of the staff at the home she works at. She is seldom seen without a smile and a warm chuckle in any given situation and all the extra work she does every day is not for the recognition but because she is truly invested in the lives of the individuals she supports. Gretchyn embodies all of our core values and I am proud to have her as a member of my team,” said Gretchyn’s Mentor and Residential Program Manager, Michelle Delozier.

Gretchyn’s unwavering support to Penn-Mar and her commitment to the individuals she supports is limitless. “The consumers I care for are amazing people and my time spent with them has come to feel more like spending time with family rather than being at a job. I feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I am making a difference in someone else’s life.”

Thank you for all your hard work Gretchyn.



February 2017

Meet Abby Brenneman, one of our Direct Support Professionals in our 2016-2017 Career Ladders program. She has been in the human services field since 1999 and came to Penn-Mar in 2009.

Abby has always loved to help people and said she enjoys assisting them to achieve their highest level of capabilities especially when that is more than they ever thought was possible. She believes that the individuals she supports can achieve anything they set their minds to and is honored to be given the opportunity and privilege to help and guide them in succeeding their goals.

Jackie Stevens, Chief Operations Officer, in Pennsylvania, said that Abby is an exceptional employee who provides excellent leadership to the staff in the home and ensures quality care to folks with complex medical needs.

Abby said, “Being in this field, I have discovered a lot about myself and my strengths. I have done quite a bit of advocating for some individuals and have discovered that I am pretty good at it. For example, one of the individuals I support wanted to go horseback riding and needed the ‘OK’ from their doctor. The doctor was not on board with it at first but after sitting down and talking with him, I learned what his hesitations were. I made sure I had put safety measures in place so I could address each concern and went back and presented them to the doctor. When he still seemed hesitant, I invited him to come and watch one of the horseback riding lessons and he agreed. Once he saw how much joy the lesson brought to the individual, he said he was glad that I kept persisting and that I took all the safety measures to make this happen.”

“It is hard to imagine my life before I came to Penn-Mar. Being able to serve the individuals I do has definitely been a life changing experience. I have grown to love and care for these incredible people. They have become a special part of my life and family.”



January 2017

We would like you to meet, Wilson Mosiori, one of our Direct Support Professionals in our 2016-2017 Career Ladders class. Wilson’s career with Penn-Mar started in October 2001 and in his 16 years here, he has held many positions up to his current position of Residential Supervisor.

Throughout the years, he has transformed the lives of many individuals in our program and now as a Supervisor, he has done the same with numerous staff. In his current position, he encouraged the growth and development of a man who spent his life institutionalized prior to coming to Penn-Mar. Since at Penn-Mar, Wilson has taught this man what turning Life Into Living is truly about.

Each participant in the Career Ladders class wrote a Statement of Professional commitment. In his letter, Wilson stated that, “after being a part of the human services field for over 10 years, my career goals are to continue to have a positive impact on the individuals I serve and to be able to advance in my position where I am able to have a greater direct effect on the lives of adults with disabilities”.  His desire is to genuinely enhance the lives of the individuals he serves.

Wilson said, “Based on my professional experiences as a human service worker, I have come to the conclusion that we must instill in our individuals that it is okay to be themselves. Yes, there are norms in society and we all want to fit in but as human beings the norms should be there to provide moral and social guidelines. The norms should not make a person feel embarrassed or less of a person because they have a disability or special need. As a human service professional throughout my career, my commitment is that I will continue to teach and guide my consumers to be responsible and productive members of society to the best of their abilities.”

It is professionals like Wilson that we felt so strongly in starting a program that will help him succeed in his career path and continue to transform Life Into Living for all the individuals he supports.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.penn-mar.org/2017/05/direct-support-staff-of-the-month/