Alexandra ‘Alex' Miles, a direct support professional (DSP) at Shangri-La was one of the individuals to receive the Extra Mile Award from the Oregon Resources Association (ORA) on September 25 at the ORA Quarterly Meeting in Redmond, Oregon.
Annually, the Oregon Resource Association presents the Extra Mile Award to individuals who go above and beyond in endeavors that ultimately improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Alex was nominated primarily for her legislative advocacy efforts during the last Oregon legislative session. During the session, Alex testified to the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services t
o support an increase to DSP wages.
During her testimony, Alex gave a moving and realistic description of the work DSPs do daily to support individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). She focused her statement on explaining how many DSPs, like her, love their job and want to continue doing the work they love, but ultimately consider leaving because of the low wages paid to DSPs. After her testimony, Alex made a video for her peers on how they could also get involved in advocacy efforts.
Thanks to Alex's testimony and advocacy efforts by providers and DSPs across the state, I/DD providers received a 4% service rate increase targeted to improve DSP wages.
In addition to her advocacy efforts, Alex's work as an outstanding DSP was also noted. "Alex has worked for Shangri-La in a variety of DSP roles at Shangri-La for almost three years," explained Tiffani Olsen, Director of I/DD Housing Programs at Shangri-La. "She is a favorite of those she supports and finds meaningful ways to enrich their lives.”
"There are one thousand things that can be said about Alex," said Logan, an individual Alex supports. "She is a breath of fresh air and a light in the dark. She helps me out when I don't even think I need it, but deep down, I know I do." Another individual, Sam, described Alex as being "a good listener and easy to talk to." He said that he likes Alex because she is "funny and awesome" and that he likes it best when Alex takes him out to places in the community.