DS workers: spreading kindness in our communities

A paper airplane flies over a heart. Developmental Services Appreciation Week: June 21, 2021.

Today is Developmental Services Appreciation Day, which kicks off a whole week dedicated to recognizing and expressing gratitude to the DS workers who are spreading kindness at the heart of our communities.

There is so much to appreciate and admire about DS workers, including the more than 12,000 who are members of OPSEU/SEFPO.

With compassion and dedication, they give Ontarians with developmental disabilities the support and encouragement they need to live their lives to the fullest. It can be difficult and heartbreaking work, but for DS workers, the rewards of spreading kindness outweigh all the challenges.

The pandemic has made this past year particularly challenging, but DS workers have displayed nothing but courage and selflessness: sacrificing vacations, taking on longer shifts, and putting their own personal health and safety at risk in order to care for some of the most vulnerable.

Sadly, this year’s Developmental Appreciation celebrations are bittersweet.

Early in the new year, we learned the terrible news that a much-loved DS worker had died from COVID-19. Connie Cerdan worked at the Coral Gable location of Montage Support Services and had been a member of OPSEU/SEFPO since 1994. We honour her memory, and we appreciate everything she did for her community and her union. Mostly, we miss her.

To honour the sacrifice and the work of Connie and all DS members, the OPSEU/SEFPO Developmental Services Sector invited locals/units to help celebrate Developmental Services Appreciation Week by making a donation to a local social justice group or charity.

If you and your local would like to take part, please ask the president or steward in your local services local to choose a local social justice organization or charity and make a donation on behalf of all of your members.

As DS workers, kindness is at the very heart of the work you do and the support you provide every day. So what better way to celebrate Developmental Services Appreciation Day and Week than by spreading kindness throughout our communities?

It’s just the kind of commitment and dedication we have always seen from DS workers. On behalf of the entire union, thank you for the vital work you do. We appreciate it, and we appreciate you!

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, OPSEU/SEFPO

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO

Erin Smith-Rice
Chair, OPSEU/SEFPO Developmental Services Sector