NJACP Hero Awards 2022

Caring for Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities takes a special kind of person. Patience, compassion, and being able to understand the residents are all part of the responsibilities. Day in and day out our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) do exactly this; they enrich the lives of others and help them feel a sense of independence within their community. On Friday, September 16, one of our very own was recognized for going above and beyond at the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP) Awards Ceremony. LaShanda Dennis has been with Beacon-Keystone for five years. Nominated by co-workers and peers for always going above and beyond, we couldn’t be more proud to have her as part of the Beacon- Keystone team. In May of 2022 she was elected as a Beacon Hero by her peers. She coordinates schedules by helping cover extra shifts, gives effortlessly, works with team members and managers on a regular basis, ensures residents have everything they need, and she makes sure everything is managed and cared for. Going above and beyond doesn’t cover just how much Ms. Dennis does on a daily basis. That’s why she was the nominee for the NJACP Award. NJACP Hero Award 2022 LaShanda Dennis On Friday, September 16, 2022 it was the New Jersey Association of Community Providers 3rd Annual NJACP Hero Ceremony. Their goal is to bring more awareness to the professionals who make a difference in our communities. DSPs have such a large responsibility in the organizations they serve, and raising awareness of their hard work and dedication is paramount to support their efforts. The list of what DSPs perform is impressive: shopping, going to appointments with clients, cooking and cleaning, helping encourage self-help activities, assisting with self-administration of medications, keeping Individuals safe, assisting with personal care and grooming, improving positive relationships between the caretakers and residents that are served, and much more describe the day-to-day responsibilities of over 85 percent of Beacon’s workforce. We simply couldn’t provide the high level of care needed to support those we serve, without their steadfast dedication. LaShanda Dennis performs all this and so much more on a regular basis. “DSPs are wonderful, they do great work that is important, and we were able to spotlight the DSPs for what they do” stated Tori-Lyn Villafana. Ms. Villafana helped arrange the awards ceremony. The ceremony was via Zoom, and she said it was a big deal to be able to spotlight the winners in this year’s award ceremony. Ceremonies usually last around two hours, recipients are able to invite whoever they’d like to attend, and they receive a certificate from the event. At the end, they are titled NJACP Hero- which is a huge honor. More information regarding NJACP. Congratulations Ms. Dennis! Beacon-Keystone is proud to have DSPs on staff like LaShanda Dennis. She is a great representation of how we value and support our residents. We all want the best for our Individuals. To see them grow and prosper is the end goal. Without DSPs like Ms. Dennis (Beacon Hero and NJACP Hero), it wouldn’t be possible. Her greatness makes a positive difference everyday, and we couldn’t be more proud and thankful for her.


  • Jenn Straka

    Jennifer holds a BA in English & Communications from Western Michigan University, focusing on marketing and sales. With over a decade of experience, she brings a fresh lens to Beacon's events and activities, helping the individuals we serve through acts of kindness wherever she goes.

    Compliance & Marketing Assistant