Empowering Advocacy: Transforming Emmaus Homes Through Community Engagement and Support | Emmaus Homes

E-Advocates #4 

Empowering Advocacy: Transforming Emmaus Homes Through Community Engagement and Support
November 20, 2023 | By Christina Ingoglia 

Client Services Manager Suzy Hellebusch, an Emmaus Homes employee of 32 years who began as a DSP, wants all clients and staff to learn more about new advocacy initiatives at Emmaus Homes. She brought clients from the 2 Emmaus Homes she manages and most of her staff to the Coffee for Change hosted at New Melle public library on October 17th.

Suzy said, “I wanted my team and clients to meet the new Advocacy Director, Christina, and to learn about how advocacy is needed to help fund proper wages for Direct Service Professionals.”

Suzy encouraged staff and clients to share what was important to them, whether it was about DSP wages or something else. “I was so surprised that one of my clients, Joyce, shared that she doesn’t like how much war is in the world! She wants peace. I loved hearing and learning that!” said Suzy.

Because of Suzy’s prior experience working as a DSP, she knows how hard and how rewarding the work is. She shared, “Many staff members live paycheck to paycheck. We love our jobs, but these current DSPs are the future Emmaus Homes leaders. They truly care about our clients. Some of them live in their cars. This has to change.”

She continued, “The staff supports clients in any way they need. They are excellent about reporting and the care they provide, which means our clients are safe and protected. We’re not perfect, but DSPs need to know that Emmaus is reimbursed at a lower rate than their actual pay.” Suzy wants all DSPs to advocate so that we can change this.

Suzy plans to help host another coffee and to invite families and guardians of clients. She is confident they will want to help any way they can.


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