Laura Gronenboom (right) is pictured with Program Manager, Nancy Moton.

A Direct Support Professional (DSP) provides valuable daily support services for the many individuals with disabilities. DSPs are integral in supporting people with disabilities to participate in their communities and lead full and independent lives. Next year COC will celebrate the 50th anniversary of offering services in Central Iowa; the success and longevity of COC have been made possible by our dedicated DSPs. This week is Direct Support Professional week, and COC plans to celebrate the approximately 220 DSPs in our agency with gifts and celebrations, but a few of our DSPs are getting state and national recognition for their valuable work.

COC is proud to announce that Laura Gronenboom has earned national recognition for her work.  Gronenboom received an Honorable Mention in the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) 2018 Direct Support Professional Award Program.  ANCOR is a national, nonprofit association representing private community providers of services to people with disabilities. Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional Direct Support Professionals for exemplary work in furthering full participation for the many Americans living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities.
Laura’s co-workers nominated her for this honor; their admiration and respect are evident in their sentiments on working with Laura.  One co-worker commented on Laura encouragement of the people that COC supports to be physically active, “she finds creative ways to get this done and gets involved herself.  One Individual we support has an exercise goal, and he wanted to do a couple of 5k races. Laura assisted him with signing up and completed the races with him.”

A humble Gronenboom credits the COC community for her achievements, “I couldn’t do a thing without the staff here at COC.  The COC community is the key, and they make it fun. None of us can do what we do without a team” Gronenboom continued.  “I work with the most fantastic people and working at COC has been an enjoyable experience.”

Gronenboom, who has worked as a DSP in Pella for the past three years, was also nominated at the state level through the Iowa Association of Community Providers (IACP) DSP Awards. She shares this honor along with two other DSPs from COC;  also nominated were Connie Ervin and Nichole Stranger.

Stranger has worked with Indianola COC as Works Skills Supervisor for the past eight years.  Regional Director, Shelli Robins, commented, “Nichole does a wonderful job of knowing the individuals, understanding their unique needs and positive attributes.”

Ervin has worked with Indianola COC for 12 years as a Life Skills Instructor. “Connie is an amazing person. She starts her day at COC by motivating person supported to try new things and to be adventurous. She inspires creativity among the life skills program by encouraging the people around her to be creativities and think outside the box,” stated Program Manager, Bailey George.

COC honors all DSPs and appreciates their hard work and dedication to the people we support.