Raise wages for Direct Support Professionals

Editor 600 Perry Street Trenton, NJ 08610I am my truest self, working as a direct support professional (DSP). Nothing is as rewarding as providing the supports that enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community. The people I work with are my family and I am dedicated to helping them realize their potential. My work is critical. Critical to the people I support and to the families who rely on my care for their loved one.

The problem is I need to work a second full-time job to afford to work as a DSP. The pay is simply too low to make ends meet. In 10 years in the field, my pay has remained virtually flat. I’m tired from working so much, which makes it hard for me to give all that I am to the people who need me most.

It’s time lawmakers recognize the essential work of DSPs by bringing wages in line with the skill and training required for the job. The people I work with deserve more and so do I.

— Tori Villafana, Trenton

Election Day is Over, But the Anti-Hunger Fight Continues

On November 6, we had a chance to refocus attention and make ending childhood hunger and poverty a higher political priority.

From the local school superintendent to the men and women who sit in Congress thousands of miles away, each one had the power to prioritize ending childhood hunger.

The U.S. is the land of opportunity. Yet millions of children face uncertain futures because 1 in 6 kids experience hunger in our country. The affect is far-reaching, impacting graduation rates, health outcomes and the likelihood a child will escape the cycle of poverty.

Even beyond this election season, I’m urging lawmakers to stop tolerating childhood hunger. I’m voting to end hunger. Will you? Mercer Street Friends welcomes volunteers interested in assisting with our non-lobbying advocacy efforts. To Learn More Visit: www.MercerStreetFriends.org

#FoodFriends #MercerStFriends #FoodBank

— Dr. Johnson-Faniel, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank Center for Nutritional Health & Wellness

NO to DPDA (H.R. 4143/S. 2065)

The Dialysis Patients Demonstration Act attempts to remove patients’ choice. All patients should have a choice in their dialysis provider. There is no reason for patients to be involuntarily enrolled into an organization and then be required to opt-out within a specific block of time, in order to preserve their freedom of choice. This puts an unnecessary burden on the patient.

In addition, this model should include chronic kidney disease (CKD) care, palliative, transplantation, medical management, and hospice. Unfortunately, this Act covers none of those critical services and requires a patient to leave the organization if that care is needed. Patients risk being abandoned by their expanded care team at critical times.

Based on these concerns, please oppose the Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act.

— Lisa Bross Gajary RN, CDN, Jackson

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