Shortly before 9:00am on any given weekday, individuals and staff start to gather outside the Electric Cafe coffee shop at our Massachusetts’s Day Program. They know that Direct Support Professional (DSP) Karen Veneziano will be behind the window to serve up a number of breakfast selections along with her trademark smile.The café, run and managed by Karen, is open for an hour each day and is a popular social hub where individuals and staff have a chance to socialize and grab a bite to eat before starting their day.

Karen has been a DSP with IPPI for almost 9 years, working primarily in the IPPI community-based day program in Massachusetts. As an advocate of person-centered supports, Karen embraces the “no walls” concept of day habilitation which offers individuals the opportunity to participate in community life through planned activities.

Frequently, Karen can be seen out and about in the community with individuals hiking in Coggshall Park, shopping at Walmart, volunteering with Meals on Wheels, and supervising vocational opportunities for individuals at local school and hospital kitchens, and for a treat going to lunch at the Park Hill Plaza. In addition to the enjoying the benefits of an active lifestyle the individuals are developing valuable communication, social, vocational, money management, and problem solving skills while having a great time!

Karen’s work ethic is admirable, she is present, engaged and brings endless positivity to her work. One of her greatest satisfactions is working with individuals to achieve their goals. Whether helping an individual substitute coping behaviors for anxious or problematic behaviors or teaching a new skill an individual is eager to learn, she approaches the situation thoughtfully and with a “can do” attitude.

A patient and active listener, Karen is a natural teacher. When an individual expressed a desire to learn to sew and operate a sewing machine, Karen initiated a request for the machine and successfully helped the individual reach their goal of producing sewed pieces.

Seeing the value in relationships, Karen works to build relationships with the individuals she supports as well as parents and guardians and outside providers and other stakeholders, in an effort to give the individuals she supports the best possible experience.

In her own words Karen sums it up perfectly, “I truly enjoy coming and seeing each individual every day, helping them with their challenges and watching them succeed and grow in pursuit of their life goals. There is no reward better than that.”

Described by coworkers as warm, caring, dependable, and professional, Karen lives the IPPI mission every day. We are honored to have you on our team, Karen. Thank you for all you do!

About The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. provides services and supports to individuals of all ages who experience developmental disabilities. Founded nearly 40 years ago, IPPI’s mission to build strong communities by empowering individuals permeates the work of the agency, providing highly individuated care to everyone who turns to IPPI for support. IPPI’s service footprint spans throughout New England and in Maryland. Learn more about the transformational work happening in a community near you at www.ippi.org