Marcfirst | Normal, IL
Your donation will allow us to continue providing services to over 800 children and adults in McLean County


APRIL 5, 2017


NORMAL, IL - On May 3, 2017, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) will recognize Jason Pasley of Marcfirst in Bloomington-Normal, IL as the 2017 Direct Support Professional of the Year for Illinois. “We at Marcfirst are proud of Jason and his long term commitment to people with developmental disabilities in our community. The award shows Jason's dedication to people leading full lives through the quality services that Marcfirst provides daily,” said Laura Furlong, Marcfirst CEO.

Marcfirst Advocates appreciate the support Jason gives. Robby Stephens explains Jason's role in the lives of people at Marcfirst well, “we need more people like Jason.” Stephens continues, “when he's willing to go out and do stuff, he opens doors for me. I can go out and be more active in my church, my community. When people tell me there's something that I can't do, he helps me. He tells us that we have our own rights.”

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) - also referred to as caregivers, personal assistants and direct care or homecare aides - provide a rich mosaic of daily support services for the many Americans with disabilities. DSPs are integral in helping people with disabilities participate in their communities and lead full and independent lives. Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional Direct Support Professionals with the Direct Support Professional Recognition Award for exemplary work in furthering community inclusion and full participation for the many Americans living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities.

“The work of DSPs do is so important, not just to the people with disabilities, but also to the social and economic lives of the persons they support and their communities,” said Angela King, president of ANCOR. “DSPs like Jason deserve recognition for the important work they do every day.” “When it comes to supporting community living, inclusion and choice for people with disabilities, DSPs are the front line workers we rely on,” said Barbara Merrill, CEO of ANCOR. “These awards are just one small measure of saying thank you to individuals like Jason.”

“This year, ANCOR received hundreds of nominations highlighting DSPs from across the nation,” continued Merrill. “Jason stood out and he can be proud of the difference his work has made for the people he supports at Marcfirst.”

ANCOR's Direct Support Professional Recognition Award is given to those who personify the values of ANCOR's National Advocacy Campaign. Nominees are judged on their success in helping people with disabilities build social networks and engage in substantive community participation and for advocating for the people they serve. Relias Learning, an organization which offers online training to senior care, health and human services, public safety, and intellectual and developmental disabilities organizations, is an underwriter of the ANCOR DSP awards for the third year in a row.

About Marcfirst. Marcfirst was established by families in 1955 to address the need for education for people with developmental disabilities and has continued to provide services for a lifetime of supports. In the last 60+ years, Marcfirst has been at the forefront of supporting individuals as they reach their full potential through integration into our Bloomington-Normal community. Marcfirst's mission is to connect families and people with developmental disabilities to their community through a lifetime of meaningful supports. Marcfirst envisions a community that encourages and accepts all people.

Marcfirst provides a number of programs to support individuals through all stages of life. SPICE Pediatric Therapy meets the needs of children with developmental disabilities or delays from birth to 14 years. The High School Transition Program creates a bridge between school life and future adult services. Marcfirst's Supported Employment Program creates opportunities for successful community employment. The Residential and Day Programs offer a supportive environment, providing the skills needed to gain more independence and enhance quality of life. Marcfirst is proud to serve over 700 children and adults with developmental disabilities in McLean County to reach their potential.

About ANCOR. The American Network of Community Options and Resources is a national trade association representing more than 1,200 private providers of community living and employment supports and services to more than 800,000 individuals with disabilities with a workforce that's over half a million strong. ANCOR advocates for the crucial role private providers play in enhancing and supporting the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Through its National Advocacy Campaign, ANCOR seeks to obtain the resources to recruit, train and retain a sustainable direct support workforce. ANCOR provides organization, professional, leadership development and networking opportunities and services and is continually working toward partnerships and collaborations that support our mission, which is to advance the ability of our members in supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fully participate in their communities.


Contact Information:

Laura Furlong, CEO
(309) 451-8888, ext.225


Leni Kuntz, VP Development and Marketing
(309) 451-8888, ext. 258