Direct Support Professional Week – September 10 -16

Happy Direct Support Professional Recognition Week!

In honor of the important work our DSPs do each and every day, here are some extraordinary DSPs we are fortunate enough to have at Opportunity Partners.

Shannon Heier

Shannon has worked at Golden Opportunity as a Learning Options Instructor for three years. He came to Opportunity Partners after having worked previously in the disability sector. Shannon says his favorite thing about his job is the relationships he has built with the people served over the years and their shared experiences. “I have always had a passion for helping people, and in a DSP role, I get that opportunity. As a DSP, you make connections that last a lifetime.”

When asked about Shannon, Program Manager Heather Ofstehage says, “Shannon is compassionate, genuine, and person centered. He cares so much for the individuals we support! Shannon is a great team player, always helping out whenever and wherever needed. He is flexible and happily rearranges his schedule to accommodate last minute changes. Shannon is dependable and has a strong work ethic! Thanks for all you do Shannon!”

Casey Budke

Casey started at Opportunity Partners within the Independent Living Skills program as a Service Coordinator over five years ago. From then she transferred to the prevocational program in Brain Injury Services. She is now an Assistant Program Manager in Mendota Heights. Casey has been working with people with disabilities since she was in college and it has been a passion of hers for a long time.

She says, “I love seeing the people we support achieve their goals. I love visiting with the people we support about their days and seeing the excitement on their face when they have a great day. I also enjoy supporting people through rough days and being a consistent staff member that they can count on. I love hearing funny stories and jokes from the people served – it always seems to brighten my day.”


Shirel Paulick

Shirel has been with Opportunity Partners for 15 years! She is currently a Transportation Assistant in our Anoka Day Training and Habilitation program. Before becoming a Direct Support Professional, she did not know much about what a DSP does, but now she says she cannot imagine doing anything else. Her uncle had cerebral palsy and told Shirel that she would be great at taking care of others with disabilities. Therefore, when it was suggested she work at Opportunity Partners, she did! Shirel says her favorite thing about her job is, “improving people’s lives and trying to always put a smile on their face.”


Amanda Harris

Amanda is currently an Assistant Program Manager at hoMEbase – Westside. She has been with Opportunity Partners for a little over five years. She has always wanted to help people and make a difference, so when a friend of hers told her about Opportunity Partners, she knew she had to apply!

Amanda says, “I love working with the people served. They make me laugh every day. I don’t always know what to expect but I love it! My job is rarely boring. Seeing all the successes in the lives of the people I support is amazing, both the little everyday successes and the big ones! It is a joy to be able to walk with people in their daily lives in the difficult times and the easier times. I love having fun at work and the people served make my job fun!”


Jordan Pearson

Jordan has been with Opportunity Partners for nearly two years. He started in our residential program at Pleasant House in Richfield before moving to the Koch Campus as a Service Coordinator. Working with people with disabilities was something that Jordan started while he was in college. He says, “I was not sure how it would go at first, but I knew I loved it after the first day.” Jordan appreciates that his skills as a Direct Support Professional are valued and that contributes to his love of the work.

“The people I work with both on my caseload and the co-workers that I work with every day are my favorite things about my job. Every day there is something different to look forward to when coming into work. I have built relationships with my caseload and co-workers to the point where we feel supported and comfortable to work side by side as a team and know that we are always there to help each other when needed.”