This past summer two Spurwink Services employees—Daniel Dusabimana and Joseph Mushishi—were awarded Maine Development Foundation (MDF) 2015 Next Step Maine Scholarships. A fund designed to recognize “Employees of Promise” who are nominated by their employers.
Scholarship winner Joseph Mushishi was nominated by his Spurwink supervisor Adult Program Manager, Maggie Zack: “Growing up in war-torn Congo, Joseph has survived horrific personal tragedies – including kidnapping, massacres and loss of family members. Yet he’s always patient, polite, responsible and willing to go the extra mile.”
Zack, a firm believer in education, wanted to support Mushishi’s ongoing academic endeavors and knew that a scholarship award would demonstrate the value of a good education, while also helping Mushishi with tuition costs.
The goal of the MDF Next Step Maine Scholarship fund is to support and recognize outstanding employees who are working adults pursuing college degrees or certificates while balancing their professional careers, supporting family members, and juggling additional life responsibilities.
For example, in addition to his Spurwink Direct Support Professional (DSP) work, Mushishi balances college classes, having just graduated with an Associates Degree in Computer Science from Southern Maine Community College, along with the responsibilities of raising a young family (two infants) and supporting his wife, grandmother and a brother’s family back in the Congo.
Mushishi highly values education because he had no access to any type of school until age 10, and knows first-hand that education opens new doors of opportunity. “The Congo is not like Maine, there are no skilled work options. You cannot get a job without an education.”
To become a DSP, Mushishi had to complete NAPPI: Non-Abusive Psychological Physical Intervention and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) classes regularly, as well as receive and maintain Certified Residential Medication Aide (CRMA), CPR and first aid certification.
Mushishi unequivocally believes that his future (and the future of his children) will be better because of the available public education in the USA. He’s chosen to study computer science because he has seen how computer information technology is a modern day educational necessity:
“When I last visited the Congo, I was shocked to see that a school with 10,000 children had no computer lab and only one computer reserved for administrators.” Further explaining, “While I know how fortunate I am to have work and a healthy family in Maine, I still envision a day when I can use my computer knowledge to help children in the Congo gain greater access to need-to-know world news and educational resources.”