Ahead of the Curve
Welcome 2017 As we embark on 2017 several things keep running through my mind as I move forward in my role as Interim Executive Director for The Arc of the Triangle. First is how blessed I am to be allowed to lead this amazing organization during this transitional period. It is an honor to be put in a position to support so many amazing participants and their families as well as our own staff- whether it is our office staff or support professionals out in the field. My job is to make sure The Arc continues to provide crucial services and community programs to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities [I/DD]. Equally as important is to see that with the support of our board of directors and management staff, we thrive by making good business decisions and applying sound management practices. Second- we continue to be a society that has so many in need, not just at the holidays- but all year long. Too many people do not have enough food, sufficient housing, or the community services they need to be healthy, successful and happy. Yet one positive force we feel in our every day life is that we are also a community with many agencies and organizations that want to help, that want to make a difference in the lives of those who may need a little more than their neighbor. The Arc of the Triangle is part of a great family of non-profits in the Triangle area that have missions that while unique and specific to the needs of their population are also so very much the samedo good by helping others. It’s really quite simple, ensuring the future of non-profit’s like The Arc of the Triangle, Urban Ministries, Families Together, Meals on Wheels or one of the many others (far too many to list here) is critical for our future. I assure you looking for new ways to support The Arc is one of my main goals while serving as Interim Executive Director. And lastly, as the future unfolds, I hope whatever role The Arc of the Triangle plays in your life- I/DD service provider, area resource, employer, volunteer opportunity- that we continue to engage you through quality programming and a passion for supporting the lives of kids and adults with I/DD in our community. Without our Arc Family we are nothing. My In-box is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 919-8322660 x117. Happy New Year to you and your family.
Jennifer Pfaltzgraff Interim Executive Director and Parent
Inside this issue: • • • • • •
Holiday Gift Drive Meet Our New Staff Ethan’s Story Supported Employment Support Professionals of the Month - Fall 2016 Holiday Season Recap
Board of Directors
Dave Woody, President Karen Geringer, Vice President Laura Alden, Secretary Janet McLamb, Treasurer Michael Madden, Past President Todd Benware Emmy McLean Needham Bryan Natalie Murr Derek Elenbaas Josh Ravitch Shawn Fisk Christine Ryan
Jennifer Pfaltzgraff, Interim Exec. Director Duffy Palmer, Senior Director/General Counsel Lisa Maier, Quality Assurance Director Karen Warner, Human Resources Director Individual Services: Michelle Merritt, Director Mike Kirschner Maranda Beckwith Ramona Castillo Marie Dionne Lukas Parkin Stephanie Smith Nicole Dennis
Employment Services: Susan Swearingen, Director Barb Germiller Tamela Haywood Naiomi Hicks Kathy Mayer Community Programs/Volunteers: Michelle Foy Susan Chandler Administrative Team: Shauna Leng, Finance Manager Marilyn Monroe, Data Specialist Lindsey Smith, HR Administrator Eileen Patrick, Staffing Coordinator Stephanie Harris, Staffing Specialist Kenneth Kelty, Office Administrator
The Gift of Generosity Another Successful Holiday Gift Drive by Santa Claus
The Arc of the Triangle (and previously as individual county Arc chapters) has long had a tradition of hosting a Holiday Gift Drive for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community. Since The Arc of the Triangle formed- we have added children with special needs that we serve as well as names that come to us through other social services agencies unable to help a family themselves. We even include siblings when it is appropriate. This year we proudly delivered gifts to 60 individuals. Some long time residents of the O’Berry Center in Goldsboro, and the rest across the Triangle: adults and children we support that had a need for a little special attention during this festive season. Our call to our members, staff and friends saw toys, gift cards and clothes delivered to our offices. We received financial donations designated to the Gift Drive and our “Santa’s Helpers” did the shopping, as well as all of the wrapping and delivering. Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Raleigh is a long time supporter of this drive- gifting 25 individuals every year through their own Giving Tree program. We were also helped by Inner Health Chiropractic in Wake Forest and the Center for Chiropractic and Wellness in Raleigh as well. We thank these groups and all of the individuals that helped make this year merry for some! Next year hopefully we will be able to provide gifts for even more children and adults with disabilities in our community.
Arc Staff loads up the Gift Van to get ready for delivery!
MEET OUR NEW STAFF! Marie Dionne is our new Individual Services Supervisor. Marie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Marie worked in a variety of different educational positions in the following years, including volunteer work with the Therapeutic Riding Center in Mebane. In 2011 she began working for the Arc of Orange as a Support Professional and later as Coordinator of the Summer Work & Wellness Program. After several years with the Arc, Marie is excited to be able to support more individuals and their families as a Qualified Professional. Stephanie Harris is in a brand new position at The Arc of the Triangle as our Scheduling Specialist. Stephanie recently moved to the Triangle area from Rockingham, NC. She is also recently married and has 2 sons. She “stumbled” across The Arc of the Triangle while searching for services and activities for her oldest son who has autism. Stephanie plans on returning to school in the fall of 2017 for complete her degree in Information Technology. She is so excited to become a member of The Arc family. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys traveling, spending time with her family and crafting. As our Community Guide services continues to grow it was necessary to hire a part-time Community Guide. Nicole Dennis is originally from Apex, North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She began working with The Arc of the Triangle as a Support Professional during the summer of 2016 and will continue to balance that position along with her new role as a Community Guide. She looks forward to continue to serve the individuals supported by The Arc of the Triangle. And Supported Employment is excited to introduce two new Employment Specialists: Naiomi Hicks and Tamela Harris. Tamela was born and raised in Raleigh. She recently received a Liberal Arts Degree from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and is currently finishing her last credits towards her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Sociology. Tamela is married and has a son named Thyree. Tamela has with worked with persons with Autism, I/DD and Alzheimer’s for seventeen years. Tamela started as a Job Coach for The Arc of the Triangle’s Project See Program and is excited about her new full time position. Naiomi began her employment with The Arc as a Direct Care Support Professional in February of 2016 and was promoted to Employment Specialist in December. She is from Camp Lejeune, NC and is proud to be a military brat! Naiomi has 3 wonderful boys that keep her very busy and (4 boys if you count our beloved Bruno :-). Naiomi holds her Master’s degree from Capella University in Mental Health Counseling and her Bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in Management Information Systems.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to our very generous families, members and supporters, our 2016 End of Year Giving Campaign was a great success for The Arc of the Triangle. We told Ethan’s story from the point of view of his mother and sister. Here is his sister’s story again, it speaks of a love so important, it’s worth telling again.
My Buddy Ethan by Madeleine, age 17 I heavily anticipated sisterhood all throughout my mother’s pregnancy. So when my brother Ethan came into the world four weeks before any of my family expected, I was thrilled. At four-years-old, I remember eagerly pleading with my mother to let me hold his frail and tiny body. Reluctantly, she placed the warm bundle in my arms and his presence overwhelmed me with certainty that I would never leave his side. With his head nestled close to my heart, I squeezed him softly and our souls melted together. The months following Ethan’s birth, he had a doctor’s appointment nearly every week. When he was home, I ran my mouth at him often while his earnest blue eyes panned all around the room. They never stopped to focus on anything, yet he always seemed to listen. Following kisses or tickles, his stomach jiggled as his contagious laughter filled the room. We kept each other company, although I did most of the talking. Nearing my fifth birthday and Ethan’s first, my parents sat me down to talk. Several tears collected under my mom’s eyes while my dad wore his stress in the form of dark circles and a furrowed brow. They held hands tightly and their worries radiated onto me as the tension built. I always knew he was different, but that day I learned my baby brother had cerebral palsy; a type of brain damage that prevented him from being able to talk, walk, see, or functionally use his arms and legs. It was through my young childhood experience that I realized he would never be able to bicker with me, or slam his bedroom door in my face, or deny stealing any of my things. Times have been tough for Ethan over the years. Sometimes his muscles get so tense that it seems as if cement fills all of his joints, and because of this he permanently lays stiff like a china doll. He has had to undergo several surgeries with nights in the hospital and weeks of recovery. Despite all the reason to whine, my cheerful little brother doesn’t let any of this hardship get in the way of his fun. His life seems like a room with no doors. But he has every intention of happiness and never lets being trapped in his own body stop him. With support, Ethan is able to do most of the things a typically developing twelve-year-old would do. He attends school every day and loves every minute of it. Obviously he has a modified education, but he never fails to contribute to the class discussion with giggles and his own form of communication. We take him in the community often, pushing him around in his glossy green wheelchair and meeting new people everywhere we go. Kids are often drawn to Ethan like his core is designed of intense magnets and they have no other choice but to flock to him. Adults smile softly and stare, while others look at us sympathetically. Unaffected my brother just blabbers away in his own made-up language waiting for someone to respond. He loves the attention and is smiling all the while. I wouldn’t change my brother if I could. Although his options are not typically ideal, he chooses to live his fullest every day. His genuine spirit paints the life of each person he encounters and I am incredibly grateful to continue working on our masterpiece together.
To make your tax deductible donation to The Arc of the Triangle, visit arctriangle.org/memberships_and_donations
Employment Services: Support in the Workforce by Susan Swearingen, Director of Employment Services
With this being a fresh start with a new year, I thought I would start off by reminding you what the Employment Services Department is all about. Our primary goal is to help people with I/DD find, obtain and keep competitive employment positions in their communities. Support is provided to a person in many ways, depending on the unique preferences and needs of the individual. Our Employment Specialists provide pre-employment training, employer education, and on-the-job training and support for as long as the individual requires services to be successful. The ultimate goal is for the individual to be as is independent as possible in a career that matches their interests, hopes and dreams. Employment Specialists spend a lot of time getting to know each individual so they can help them to identify job preferences and goals. Sometimes we find ourselves supporting participants and their families in other ways as well. Many families come to us with little to no knowledge of other services that are available beyond employment. Many don’t know that they are eligible for Medicaid, don’t know what Waiver services are, and have never heard of Cardinal or Alliance. They don’t know about transportation or independent and supported living options, secondary education options and on and on. As a result, we spend time educating and connecting those who need it to these services as well as volunteer opportunities and social activities in the community. This support includes connecting people to other departments and programs of The Arc of the Triangle. Our approach is about serving the whole person and meeting all the needs that we can, and sharing resources to meet the needs that we can’t. When all the needed supports are in place it makes it much easier to focus on the task of finding a job and keeping it. It also helps families breathe easier knowing that there are resources and services out there to help them be successful in all aspects of life, not just employment. As an example, here is a success story. We have been working with by Justin Cline Greg for 7 years and Customer Service/Sales Manager, Food Lion #197 Timberlyne he has been successTo begin, I would just like to make it known that it is an fully employed at Harabsolute pleasure to have Tyler on the Food Lion team. ris Teeter at North Hills He is the epitome of Food Lion’s equal opportunity since his graduation from campaign. When Tyler is here, it is an amazing help to high school 5 years ago. have him retrieve shopping carts, filling the bags, and Prior to graduation he any other miscellaneous tasks that he completes for participated in Project SEE, me. He ensures while he is here, that the customers another program of The will have a clean shopping cart selection and that Arc of the Triangle, for two we have enough bags on the registers which are two years in order to get the very important aspects of business. I am enthused to needed employment credits in order to graduate with have Tyler with me on an extra day each week to fully a diploma. His participation with Project SEE gave him indulge him in the workforce. It has been a learning invaluable experience and an awesome resume which stretch for Tyler and he has taken it and ran with it. led to the job at Harris Teeter. When Greg started at Harris Teeter he would catch the bus to and from work I have never been so proud to say that as a team, we each day. Working at Harris Teeter has allowed him to have gotten him to this point and are going to push purchase and pay off his own car! When we learned further to get Tyler where he needs to be. His coach, that he was so nervous about learning to drive and takJB is the greatest factor in Tyler’s success. The way ing driver’s license test we referred him to a program that he works with Tyler closely and keeps him calm that put all of his worries to rest and gave him the and collected is a beautiful talent of his. Alongside his support he needed. He is now a successful, car owning closeness with Tyler, another main contribution to his driver. success is that JB helps Tyler with his tasks. It gives him a sense of security and that he is not doing this all by We have followed Greg throughout the years and have himself. I have worked with special needs employees maintained a good relationship with his family and his before and I have noticed a huge difference between employer and have celebrated all of his successes along the way that JB coaches and my previous employees the way. Though he loves Harris Teeter, he is ready to coaches, and that difference is monumental. take a new step is his career by finding something new and challenging. He recently requested The Arc for help I hope that my statement of experience will encourage in finding full time work so he can reach his next goal of others to take a chance and hire someone that has moving out on his own. In the last 2 months we have special needs. It never hurts assisted Greg with applying for Medicaid and once this to give someone a chance. It is in place along with a full time job he will be able to is a pleasure to have Tyler on work with our Community Guide services to help him my Front end and I hope that with finding a suitable apartment of his own. Greg is he stays with us for as long as only one of many, many success stories that we have possible. and the reason we do what we do.
One Business’ Story
Autumn Support Professionals of the Month OCTOBER
LeTroy Gardner has proven to be a reliable staff that has been held in high regards by families. One long time family to The Arc said he was the best staff they ever had. Another family told me that he connected with their son right away and that usually never happens. LeTroy always wants to learn so he can best serve the participants. He will come to me asking ways to help advocate for his participants with specific situations that come up.
Jason Weaver has been working with a participant beginning in April, and since then there has been much growth with the participant. Jason always puts the personâ€™s thoughts and values first, and encourages independence while ensuring their needs are met. Jason came in and became a stabilizer for the family who was struggling with inconsistent staff. Jason was willing to go above and beyond, and cover any hours the family needed. He is always willing to work the shortest or longest shifts, willing to help the family in any way he can. He is also eager to pick up other shifts for other families if needed. Not only is Jason helpful and reliable, but he has helped the participant through some difficult times. Over the summer the participant unexpectedly was without a job, and Jason stepped in to not only find other activities, but help the participant build up a resume and look for other potential jobs. The family loves Jason and feels he is a great, reliable staff. Thank you Jason for all you do!
Jasmine Shah has been working with a family in Wendell for about 6 months, and since then she has been a reliable and consistent part of the participantâ€™s life. Jasmine is willing to go above and beyond, and cover many hours each week that the family needs. While Jasmine provides excellent service to the family, she also has outstanding documentation. Jasmine not only completes all of the documentation within the 24 hour time frame, but adds very detailed reports of the goals she worked on and the activities that occur within the shift. The family loves Jasmine and feels she is a great, reliable staff. Jasmine provides outstanding services and exceptional documentation! Thank you Jasmine for all you do! Eleasha Lewis has proven herself to be tremendously dedicated to and passionate about her work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She handles the most difficult situations with the patience and understanding. Eleasha provides her ongoing participants with a great deal of stability. She also happily takes on fill-in work with others. The participants and families she fills in with see the same clear dedication from Eleasha and often request that she be the first call if ongoing staff are unable to work in the future. In her year with the Arc, Eleasha has continuously proven herself as a model of what a support professional should be.
Supporting our Staff Means Better Support for Families Great news! Support Professionals are Arc employees who work one-on-one with our participants in the community, at work, and at home. These are a hard-working group of individuals whom The Arc of the Triangle would not exist without. These dedicated employees will now have the opportunity to work additional hours and may be eligible for medical insurance as a result. Effective immediately, The Arc of the Triangle is eliminating its requirement that Support Professionals work no more than 29 hours per week. Historically, we could not afford to have our support staff as full-time employees. The reimbursement rates from Medicaid and the State just do not support that added expense, much to our dismay. But now, with changing how we employ support staff we can do better by our staff. Those direct care staff who want to work additional hours on an ongoing basis will now have the opportunity. The number of hours Support Professionals work will be based on participant/family need & satisfaction, job performance, and availability. We are making these changes to reward Support Professionals who perform well, develop strong relationships with participants and families, and are committed to The Arc. We believe these changes will benefit both staff and participants by increasing satisfaction and employee retention and will also produce more staffing consistency and dedication to create better continuity of support.
The Holiday Season at The Arc
By Michelle Foy, Assistant Director of Community Programs “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”… The Arc welcomed the holiday season by spreading festive cheer throughout the Triangle by hosting three holiday parties. Although each party was different and unique in its own right, all three parties yielded the same results, bringing lots of joy, laughter and smiles to many of the individuals we serve, their family and friends! Our two adult parties were held on December 1st in Raleigh at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and on December 11th in Chapel Hill at the Sheraton Hotel. Both parties included lots of dancing, great food, fun and fellowship. As well, the Arc choirs- Grace Notes and M’n’M Singers provided their own festive renditions of many holiday classics. After the choirs and refreshments- the dance floor at both parties was packed with folks enjoying everything from Bruno Mars to the Village People! Our annual children’s party, “Party & Pics with Santa” (in partnership with the Triangle Down Syndrome Network) was held on December 3rd in Raleigh at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Both children and their families were very excited to have their photos taken with Santa [with a unique “Fast-Pass” method of waiting in line so kids enjoyed their time at the party, not waiting. As well children participate in many of the fun arts and craft activities that were provided throughout the day. Some activities including making Christmas cookies and ornaments, writing letters to Santa and even participating in the “Parade of Kids”! Thank you to everyone that played a role in this year’s annual Arc of The Triangle Holiday Parties, however great or small. Special acknowledgements goes out to DJ Kenneth Reid and DJ Harvey Shipman for getting everyone dancing on their feet and making the parties fun and festive; NC State Interns Allie Gans and Adam Dorr for soliciting food for the parties; The Arc’s Petal with a Purpose Program for donating the floral arrangements for the table center pieces; our Community Volunteers- LeeAnn Graham, AmeriCorps, NC State Arnold Air Society, Meredith College, Durham Tech Community College, Cary High School and Raleigh Charter High; Area restaurants who donated to the party: Long Beverage, Backyard Bistro BBQ, California Pizza Kitchen and Papa John’s Pizza (located at 2101 Avent Ferry; 2904 Wake Forest; 5260 Capital Blvd. & 607B Franklin St.). And last but not least, Arc of the Triangle staff and Board of Directors, we couldn’t have done it without any of you!