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Pathway to Unlocking Special Experiences

This program allows high school students the opportunity to earn the necessary certification to work and build a career working with individuals with disabilities.

NWSRA Participant ice skating

The Players and their Relationship

Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) provides outstanding opportunities through recreation for children and adults with disabilities. NWSRA serves 17 northwest suburban communities in partnership with its member Park Districts– providing day camps, weekly programs, trips, special events and more!

Clearbrook empowers adults and children with intellectual/ developmental disabilities to live their fullest lives possible. We’re proud of our deep expertise that spans six decades—allowing us to care for an array of unique needs.

The Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) and Clearbrook collaborate to offer the PURSUIT Community Adult Day Program. This program offers adults with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of exciting activities, work towards goals and provides a place where many are able to call home.

Why this Pathway?

While there are many career paths to choose from, a career in the Human Services Industry could not be more rewarding. The Pathway to Unlocking Special Experiences allows you to obtain your DSP certification, which outside of a program like this, is not easy to obtain. After you gain your certification you are able to work by assisting individuals with disabilities. If college is on your radar, there are degrees and additional certifications you can achieve to continue a career in this field and truly change lives.

Program Benefits to Students

  • Students graduate High School with their DSP certification ready to work

  • Students learn about a career in the Human Services field

  • The Human Services field is great for all students- whether college is in their future or not

  • Students get to partner with Clearbrook and Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) that are agencies at the forefront of their industry


Origins of the Program and SB3972

SB3972 was drafted by Parent Advocate Mike Baker and Senator Laura Murphy to assist the Human Services Industry with the shortage of DSP certified workers. This bipartisan bill passed the House and Senate unopposed and lays the foundation for high school seniors to work towards earning their Direct Support Professional (DSP) certification. This bill has the ability to provide high school seniors a pathway to a rewarding career, a solid wage and high school credits. While there are other high school career pathway programs out there, none of them address the shortage of qualified workers to support those with disabilities.


Working at PURSUIT, DSP's will learn

  • Learn first-hand about the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) field and opportunities within it.

    • Including Therapeutic Recreation, DSPs, QIDPs, Program Leads and more!​

  • Leadership skills 

  • How to create lesson plans for individuals of various ability levels 

  • How to use adaptive equipment 

  • How to implement programs & activities

  • How to implement & access individual goals

To work at PURSUIT trainings required are below

  • On the Job training packet ​

    • 40 hours of online trainings on Community Day Services (CDS)

  • 80 hours of hands-on training ​

    • ​Additional mandatory trainings (Fire Safety, Food Handlers, Rule 50 etc.)

  • First aide certification

  • Safety care certification

  • DSP technology class

  • Body mechanics class

  • Behavior management  

  • Personal care 

  • Lifting and transferring 

Explore the DSP Program Further

Virtual tours of our programming sites

Community Day Service Calendar Example

PURSUIT Community Adult Day Program Brochure

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