CommunityPress Release

Rainbow of Challenges Direct Service Professional Kathy Bolin profiled


By Scott Jester/ROC

At Rainbow of Challenges, they are known as “Direct Service Professionals” or DSPs for short.

They serve individual clients in the area who are diagnosed with an intellectual/developmental disability and who are under their care and direction. It is a profession with difficulties hard at first to imagine.

A Direct Service Professional is in charge of the direct care of a disabled living, breathing human, with all of the same characteristics and reactions as a person without disabilities. It’s the responsibility of that DSP to serve as a shadow partner, guardian, mentor, care giver and friend.

Meet Kathy Bolin, DSP.

Bolin, a native of Fort Worth, located in Hope and has been with ROC since 2019. Most at ROC know Kathy’s husband, Gary, who also wears an ROC badge and is a local pastor.

She possesses a gleam in her eyes and a smile and laugh always at the ready, especially when talking about the many humorous things that occur between her and her charge.

Having been a DSP for three years now, she’s been able to change the lives of others.

Much of Bolin’s devotion to her position was formed from experiences she had earlier in life.

“My mother and father were both workaholics,” she says with a chuckle. “Dad was in the Navy, and Mother raised two brothers and me. She was always working.”

Her mom served as a living example to the young child who learned the virtue of a positive demeanor and gained a focus on serving others.

“It’s great because my children tell me that my grandchildren now have those same work ethics, which makes me proud,” she says.

From a young age, Bolin truly understood those who need others for support and the essential role a caregiver plays.

“During one of the years my mother raised us, we had to go into a children’s home,” she says “And I asked God to show me what I could do to pay it back, because He took care of me during that whole time.

“Since then, Gary and I have adopted three kids who have special needs and are now teenagers and older.

“That’s the way I was raised,” Bolin continues. “To be aware of others. I had several relatives who had disabilities, and I just wanted to help the best I could.”

In her current DSP position, she supports an individual who in his late 40’s and has many abilities, plus an infectious smile and a hug for just about everyone.

The goal for Bolin has been to open his world more, to always focus on his abilities rather than his disabilities. “When I first started working with him, it was difficult to understand his form of communication and gestures, but with time I became better at knowing what he was trying to get across to me.”

One of the biggest improvements in his world was communication by the use of a mobile phone. He would attempt calling family and friends, then Bolin saw he was getting frustrated with it not working. She developed a routine with family and friends that allowed him to use his mobile phone as well as increase family interactions and set up a routine for regular contacts.

“It was simply him wanting to use all of his words,” Bolin explains. “They would be the same words, but he wanted to use them.

“He and his friends and family spend some really special time together,” she said.

“He feels like he’s more involved with his family and that really makes me happy to see.”

Bolin also recognized that he struggles with weight management, and she came up with a plan to develop a healthier lifestyle for him.

One of the ways she addressed it was finding a low-carbohydrate diet that he enjoyed.

By using his competitive nature, Bolin also came up with a fitness program that included walking. She also set up a room in his home that has a punching bag, stationary bike, a game system and, in another room, even an old-school Atari.

In return, Bolin now serves a better, happier, healthier individual.

Bolin and her successes could not be accomplished without a willing team of back-up ROC players who work on the weekends and other shifts not covered by Bolin.

“I want to really thank Jeannie Almond and the rest of our team for keeping a schedule that is more consistent for him which is so very key.”

It’s a win-win in the game of life for both Kathy and Rainbow of Challenges. Other Rainbow of Challenges DSPs do it every day with many, many other clients.

“God has always put the examples in my life that I needed to see and be,” Bolin says. “I will usually give anyone my phone number, and they can call me any time for advice, or if they just need an ear and a prayer. Because that is what I have for me through Rainbow of Challenges, the staff is always there for my answers and the support I need.”

Let’s always seek out the DSPs in our midst, be it at Wal-Mart, the local bank, a restaurant, or anywhere you see them with one of the ROC individuals. Swap a fist bump and maybe say “thanks for what you do.” It goes further than you know.

Rainbow of Challenges, Inc. (ROC) is a private, non-profit, community-based provider of a vast array of supports and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Rainbow of Challenges is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Back to top button