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DSP Spotlight: Najoya Stewart

DSP Najoya Stewart’s care and warmth comforts Lido Beach residents 

DSP Najoya Stewart with a resident from the CRP where she worksEvery day, the lives of the children who live at the Children’s Residential Program (CRP) in Lido Beach are filled with creative, engaging, and fun activities, opportunities to learn through daily upkeep of the home, and care from the managers and Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who support them.

Among the DSPs who enrich the lives of the children through their compassion, leadership, and understanding is Najoya Stewart. This month, we are highlighting Najoya for her dedication to the children she supports.

Characteristics of an exemplary DSP include patience, empathy, discernment, guidance,  confidence, and positivity. Najoya embodies all these characteristics.

Najoya started out as a DSP about a year ago. Najoya, who had previously worked as a paralegal and Certified Nursing Assistant, said she was inspired to become a DSP because she wanted to make a positive impact.

Najoya knew she made the right career choice as soon as she stepped into House 26.

“I loved it right away,” Najoya said. “I just felt right at home, and I thought to myself, ‘This is what I’ve been searching for all my life. This is the perfect job for me. I love this.’”

Prince Appiah, Manager, described Najoya as a maternal figure in the house, providing quality care and an abundance of understanding.

“She keeps all the residents active when it comes to cooking,” Prince said. “She’s teaching them how to cook, telling them the steps.”

Prince added that Najoya does not just work to solve the symptoms of an upset child, she works to get to the root of what is troubling the child, as many of the children have a difficult time expressing their wants and needs. Najoya said her background as a CNA has served her in this aspect of the role.

“We really depend on Najoya a lot when it comes to activities, because she’s another DSP who pays close attention and takes her position seriously,” Prince said. “She always aims to have a successful excursion with the residents and staff.”

When asked what her favorite part of the job is, Najoya said it is seeing the residents achieve their goals, while teaching her something new every day.

“Since I’ve started working, I’ve seen them grow so much,” Najoya said. “I don’t want people to underestimate them. People think that because the residents are kids and have intellectual and developmental disabilities that they can’t do things. And I say, ‘The residents can, you just have to be a lot more patient with them.’”

Prince said he’s honored to work with strong and independent DSPs like Najoya, who carries herself as an impactful mentor.

Congratulations Najoya! We thank you for your unwavering support for the residents of the CRPs and House 26 and look forward to seeing you thrive in your career.

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