HEART Award Winner Lindsay Shafer, a Compassionate and Creative DSP - Penn-Mar

HEART Award Winner Lindsay Shafer, a Compassionate and Creative DSP

Posted on June 11, 2024

Lindsay smiling for a picture.When the call went out for Penn-Mar HEART Award nominations, Residential Supervisor Natalie Finnegan had the perfect candidate in mind.

Since 2018, the residential program she supervises in Red Lion, PA has been preparing and delivering meals to other Penn-Mar homes to help support them while they were grieving the loss of a fellow resident. This labor of love was a team effort but in the past few years Direct Support Professional (DSP) Lindsay Shafer has taken on more of a leadership role.

“Lindsay is at heart a very genuine, compassionate person,” said Natalie. “She really strives to ensure people around her feel supported and loved. If she notices someone is struggling, she is the first to reach out to them, even if she is going through struggles of her own.”

Natalie had no doubt Lindsay met all the criteria for a HEART Award winner: A team member whose passion and performance leave the mark of their own legacy through exceptional demonstrations of Honesty, Excellence, Advocacy, Respect, and Teamwork.

When Lindsay learns of a loss in the Penn-Mar community home family, she reaches out to the location to find out the dietary needs of the whole house. Her “signature” meal is usually lasagna, garlic bread, a side of salad, and dessert and sometimes she substitutes spaghetti and gluten-free meals, as required.

An aluminum pan cover with a heartfelt message written on it.In addition to cooking instructions, Lindsay recently started adding personal messages on the inside lids of the aluminum pans. Some are heartfelt (“Thinking of you. May you find peace and comfort during this hard time”), while others are humorous (“The only way to consume spaghetti is to eat it like a vacuum”). All are signed by “your friends” at the program that Lindsay and Natalie support.

“Fortunately, the loss of a resident is not something that happens frequently,” said Lindsay. “But when it does, we do our best to prepare a meal that will make them smile and be a comfort to everyone in the home during this sad time. They can enjoy more time together and it makes cooking one less thing they have to worry about.”

According to Natalie, Lindsay walks through the door smiling and ready to take on each day. “She always goes above-and-beyond her job responsibilities which is a testament to her compassion for the people she supports and also for her fellow team members,” remarked Natalie. “Sometimes we forget how much our team members struggle when they lose someone. This extraordinary gesture is something to help them work through their grief.”

“A lot of love goes into these meals,” said Natalie. “Since Lindsay took the reins on this program she has added sweetness to each home cooked meal with her compassionate messages.”

In nominating Lindsay for the HEART Award that she so deservedly won this past April, Natalie emphasized what a tremendous asset she has been to Penn-Mar throughout her seven years of dedicated service.

“Lindsay has exemplified what it is to be a Direct Support Professional,” she wrote. “The small, yet incredibly meaningful step Linsday takes when preparing meals for programs during their time of grieving…is just one of the many ways Lindsay demonstrates excellence in her work and compassion for those around her.

Lindsay supports many programs within Penn-Mar and is constantly thinking of out-of-the-box ways to provide positive and self-directed supports. Lindsay is what we aspire to be when we think of Direct Support Professionals. She is always on a path of learning, growing, and thinking of how we can do better today than we did yesterday. We are blessed to have such a gem on our team.”

Translate »