It is the mission
of Disabled Persons Action Organization
to provide quality and effective individualized services to developmentally disabled children and adults in Jefferson and Lewis Counties.  The services are primarily geared toward helping families cope with the stress of caring for their disabled loved ones.

Welcome to the online home of Disabled Persons Action Organization!

For 40 years, DPAO has provided needed services to residents of Jefferson and Lewis Counties.  We encourage you to learn more about the programs and services of our organization.  We also hope that you return regularly to this site for up to date information on our cultural productions as well as our Summer Concert Series.

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November 8, 2022


DPAO wants to get out the good news!  All of our programs are up and running without restrictions ... no more masks and no more limitations on capacity!

 Please come back and see us, we miss you!


If you are new or unfamiliar with some of our programs, give us a call or send us an email and we can provide you with more information and a tour of our sites. Program contact information below ...


Jennifer LaVere

Day Habilitation Coordinator

(315) 782-5285, Extension 232


Mary Ochoa

Employment Program Coordinator

(315) 782-5285, Extension 235


Ashley Pennock

Self-Direction Program Coordinator

(315) 782-5285, Extension 228

Kheana Arana

Site Based Respite/Recreation Coordinator

(315) 782-5285, Extension 231


KJ Simmons

Jefferson County Free Standing Respite Coordinator

(315) 782-2485


Tina Nortz

Lewis County Free Standing Respite Coordinator

Lewis County Recreation Coordinator

(315) 376-8327


What does DPAO do?  Watch Austin's story and listen to what DPAO has done for him!


Direct Support Professional Superhero Pic

THANK YOU to all of our Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) for all that you do! We recognize all of your hard work and the skills necessary for you to do your job. DSP's have the most impact on the individuals we serve!

Core Competencies are the foundation of person-centered supports for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. The competencies are broken down into seven goal areas covering all aspects of the individual’s life, while also including the professionalism of direct support ...

  • Putting People First
  • Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships
  • Demonstrating Professionalism
  • Supporting Good Health
  • Supporting Safety
  • Having a Home
  • Being Active and Productive in Society

In an effort to continue this recognition, we plan on spotlighting a Direct Support Professional of the Month ... every month!


MAY 2023 DSP ...

Andy Drury

Andy Drury Pic

Andy is a very hard worker. You can really see how much true care there is between him and the participants. He wasn’t even there to practice for the talent show and he still stepped up and did a great job. Thank you for putting a smile on everyone’s faces!

Core Competency: Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships


APRIL 2023 DSP ...

Jasmine Powers

Jasmine Powers Pic

Jasmine is an amazing person with a huge heart and she is very compassionate. She goes above and beyond for all of her individuals she works with, takes the time to get to know them, and they all think she is the bee’s knees! This helps with not only learning about everyone but also makes each person feel like they matter! Jasmine has a unique ability to make everyone feel welcomed and wanted, as well as puts a smile on everyone’s face. Way to go Jasmine!!!

Core Competency: Putting People First

MARCH 2023 DSP ...

Kristen Korman

Kristen Korman Pic

Kristen was nominated by the Mother of the individual in which she provides services to. “On behalf of our son, his dad and I would like to nominate his Respite support worker for DSP of the Month with DPAO. As you can imagine, finding the right person to work with your differently-abled child can be a bit of a challenge and at times, super stressful. When Kristen began working with him over a year ago, it became obvious very early in that she was a perfect fit for our son. He would smile when Kristen would enter the room, give her huge bear hugs, and request that she be near him. As time has passed, we have taken note of how reliable, flexible, caring, understanding, and motivating she is. Kristen prepares ideas and activities to do with him that are meaningful and that he may find fun and exciting and takes it upon herself to work on ADL’s with him in the comfort of his own home. We are grateful for the support and guidance Kristen provides for our son and our family as a whole." Congratulations Kristen on this well deserved acknowledgment!!!

Core Competency: Putting People First


Keagan Nowlin

Keagan Nowlin Pic

We received a wonderful summary from a parent to recognize Keagan. “She has worked with my son for a year now and she has consistently gone above and beyond to meet his needs. She actively works on his goals daily, takes him to swim classes multiple times each week, takes him into the community regularly, etc. The bond they've built is heartwarming and it's great, as a parent of a somewhat non-verbal child, to know he is loved and cared for when they're together.” Thank you Keagan for all you do!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Being Active and Productive in Society


JANUARY 2023 DSP ...

Carolyn Fiaschetti

Carolyn Fiaschetti Pic

Carolyn was nominated by the individual she works for. Carolyn is very helpful to him and assists him with meeting many goals. She helps him with skills to increase and maintain his independence by cooking meals, cleaning his apartment, proper hygiene skills, etc. And just as her individual said “She is awesome!” Thank you Carolyn!

Core Competency: Having a Home Life

DECEMBER 2022 DSP ...  

Ashley Garcia

Ashley Garcia Pic

Every day Ashley takes the time to check in to ensure her individual is set, even if she is not working with her that day! She is constantly researching different events in the community to attend or to volunteer at. She is her individual’s biggest cheerleader by celebrating every win, whether if it’s paying for her own coffee at Dunkin and counting the correct change, or frying an egg by herself for the first time. Recently it was supposed to be Ashley’s day off but her individual called and told her about a volunteering opportunity she heard about on the radio and said she would like to do it. Ashley was so proud of her for wanting to take part so she changed her schedule and they went to together and volunteered. She is always going above and beyond for her individual and she truly cares about what is best! Congrats Ashley!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Being Active and Productive in Society


Ruth Loomis

Ruth Loomis Pic

Ruth has been a devoted employee for decades! She cut the ribbon to open the Lewis County Respite house and has been a one to one Direct Support Professional in the past. She takes great care of our individuals and they love her! Ruth deserves to be recognized after so many years spent taking care of the ID/DD individuals in Lewis County. Thank you for all that you do Ruth!

Core Competency: Putting People First


Steffany Delaney

Steffany Delaney Pic

Steffany went above and beyond to care for her participant while he was sick. She took his temperature, made sure he was comfortable, reported any health details to his guardian, and attended his physician appointments. She provided encouragement and helped relieve some of the anxiety that this he and his guardian were experiencing. Steffany cared for her participant the entire time when his other staff were ill with Covid and volunteered to stay with him while the other staff were on quarantine. Steffany put her participant before her own family and made sure that he was able to stay in his own home by providing 24/7 care. Thank you for your wonderful compassion Steffany!!!!!


Core Competency: Putting People First, Supporting Good Health, Supporting Safety


AUGUST 2022 DSP ...

Danielle Hutchison

Danielle Hutchison Pic

Danielle has been a great asset to DPAO! Not only is she a great team player, but she is kind and compassionate and has a passion to teach. Although the days are busy, Danielle takes the time to find out the challenges the people we support face individually and discovers the best way each of them learn and implements it into their daily activities. She has a gift of capturing the attention of our individuals and keeping them engaged. Way to go Danielle!!!!!


Core Competencies: Putting People First, Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships


JUNE 2022 DSP ...

Sierra Bailey

Sierra Bailey Pic

Although Sierra has been working at DPAO for a short time, she has really stepped up to the plate to ensure the Short Term Respite program has continued to thrive without a current coordinator. She also has agreed to run all of the recreational activities for our individuals. She is well liked by our participants and has given them a sense of security while the program is going through many changes. She never shies away from working out of her comfort zone to ensure they are having fun. She is witty, creative and always willing to lend a helping hand when another program needs assistance. Awesome job Sierra!!!!!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Demonstrating Professionalism


Disabled Persons Action Organization


Corporate Offices:  617 Davidson Street • PO Box 222 Watertown, New York 13601 • (315) 782-3577 • (800) 533-2859 ● (315) 782-6673 (Fax)

William J. McClusky Day Habilitation Center:  633 Davidson Street ● Watertown, New York 13601 ● (315) 782-5285
Free Standing Respite Home:  652 Thompson Street ● Watertown, New York 13601 ● (315) 782-2485


Lewis County Free Standing Respite Home:  5205 Ebbly Road ● Lowville, New York 13367 ● (315) 376-8327