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The Hope Blooms Garden at the Victorian has been a labor of love for agency staff, clients and volunteers for years. The lush green foliage, colorful flowers and koi pond combine to provide a quiet backdrop for relaxation just steps from one of downtown Buffalo’s busiest intersections. Each year during Garden Walk, the Hope Blooms Garden wows thousands of first time visitors to the Victorian along with friends who return year after year. Over time, as the older plants grew larger and new plants were added, the soil in the Garden became nutrient depleted, making it increasingly difficult for plants to grow and thrive. In addition, we discovered the liner of the koi pond had deteriorated to the point that it would have to be replaced. Our beautiful Garden was in desperate need of some attention. We asked for help, and thanks to the generosity of agency supporters, we were able to go beyond simple maintenance in order to create a larger, deeper koi pond and waterfall that is now the centerpiece of the revitalized Hope Blooms Garden. The work was completed in time for Garden Walk, making our clients, staff, volunteers and visitors (not to mention our koi) very happy indeed. Story/photos by John Carocci


How did you get your start at Evergreen? I got my start through an e-mail sent by Andrew Mattle to a friend regarding job openings in the COBRA Program. I sent in my resume, and interviewed with Andrew and Lillian Cuevas in the Fall of 1999. I was finishing up at UB so I started working as an Assistant Case Manager in January 2000. What does an average day as Director of Information Technology look like? My main job is to make sure our agency computers and data keep working. An average day in the most general sense involves scheduled appointments and unscheduled occurrences. Lately, a lot of the work

I’ve been doing has involved one of the following: Health Home IT needs, Evergreen Medical Group data needs, AIRS troubleshooting, and the new Visix display software. These are the main projects on which I have focused my attention thanks to the help of my great team, Brendan and Lindsay (shameless plug). They have taken on much of the IT support for the agency. Tell us a bit about your life? I have been married to my amazing and beautiful wife, Leah, since Sept 1, 2001. During that time we have had 5 kids who keep us quite busy - Elijah, Anna, Judah, Noah, and Laura. Our family activities lately revolve around the three oldest

kids’ sports. Elijah plays hockey and lacrosse this summer. He will be starting travel hockey in the winter, which will be fun to experience. Anna loves ballet and drawing, and she also enjoys playing with her little sister. Judah plays soccer this summer, but he is looking forward to his hockey season starting later this fall. Noah and Laura mostly play at home and look cute. My wife’s family is from Western New York, so it is nice to have her family nearby for the kids to spend time with. My family is from the Navajo Nation in northern New Mexico, so we don’t get to see my siblings or parents very often. My personal interests include playing chess, cards, and fixing computers. But I love spending most of my time with my wife and kids. I’d much rather build a fort with the kids made of blankets and pillows in our living room than go out. I do enjoy a challenging game of Words with Friends, or catching up with family through Facebook. The most important way for me to unwind is by spending time in prayer, or reading my Bible. It keeps me balanced and level-headed. What have you seen as the biggest change(s) within the agency over the years? The biggest change I have seen is the number of staff at our agency. We have grown quite a bit since 2000 and it’s been interesting to see how our management team has responded to all the challenges and opportunities along the way. I have learned a lot by watching the agency grow in both staffing size and in service provided to the people who walk through our doors. One quality that has stayed the same throughout the time I’ve been here is the heart and compassion of the people I see in our offices everyday. In my time here I have met new clients for their first intake, connected with them through the case management program, and a few of those clients I’ve been with as their health weakened and they left us for a better place. I have wept alongside staff who have spent their careers working with people in a similar scenario - it doesn’t get any easier to see people you care about pass away. I do appreciate the care and concern that our staff take in meeting people where they are, without judgment, and trying their best to get clients and patients the support they need. Is there a lot of repetition to your job? What keeps you interested/motivated in your position? No. There is not a lot of repetition in my job. The thing that keeps me motivated in my job is that working with computers began as a hobby for me, so I enjoy it. The other motivation for me is knowing that I’m helping our staff get their jobs done. C


August Birthdays Melissa Lacount – 8/3 Kyle Savage – 8/10 Carolee Corbi – 8/14 Lindsay Zasada – 8/16 Ashley Betz – 8/21 Magali Maldonado – 8/21 Maisha Drayton – 8/22 Alex Ando – 8/23 Maurice Fears – 8/23 Jillian Nowak – 8/23 Lolita Small – 8/26 Patrick Hildenbrandt – 8/28

August Anniversaries Andre Dixon – 1 year Roy Golia – 1 year Talor Struckmann – 1 year Cord Stone – 2 years Jessica Lehsten – 3 years Cecil Su on – 3 years Lizzie Vazquez – 5 years Murray Wire – 5 years Kate Gallivan – 7 years Patricia Hopkins – 9 years

Your Con nued Dedica on and Hard Work Are No ced and Appreciated! - Management Team

connections AUGUST 2013

PUBLISHER/LAYOUT John Carocci EDITOR Kimberly Harding

1 Each year Disneyland uses over 5,000 gallons of paint

to maintain the clean appearance of the park. 2 The average mid-sized car of today creates about

5% as much pollu on as a car of 50 years ago. 3 In Kentucky, it’s illegal to carry ice cream in your back

pocket. Connec ons isn’t sure why you’d want to. 4 Studies indicate that people who apply their own

sunscreen generally apply 50-75% less than they should. 5 Too hot? Be glad you aren’t in the center of the sun

where the temperature is believed to be almost 27 million degrees. Of course you could always move to the surface of the sun which is “only” 10 thousand degrees. 6 Lemons turn from green to yellow because of the

temperature, not because they’re ripe. 7 It cost $7 million to build the Titanic and $200 million to

make a film about it. 8 In the late 19th century, human mummies were used

CONTRIBUTORS Kevin Bidtah Sheila Marcheson Talor Struckmann

as fuel for locomo ves in Egypt. Wood and coal were scarce, but mummies were plen ful.


I’ve been trying to find as many pools as possible to crash. — Mindi Mietlicki To stay cool I’ve been swimming at the beach! — Michele Ogden Staying in the air condi oning and ea ng lots of ice cream. — Ashley Betz I have been hanging out in the pool with my kids and having water balloon wars with my son. — Theresa Shankland Indoor pooling and central air. — Charell Elliott Listening to John Coltrane (he’s the coolest) and wearing my sunglasses 24/7 —just kidding! — Joshua McClain Going to the beach, to relax and cool off. — Nicole Coonly

ConnecƟons Poll Results “Should the agency have summer hours?” 10 (30%) – say NO

24 (70%) – say YES


Turkey hotdogs and grilled corn on the cob alongside fresh-mixed fruit from Wegmans. Charell Elliott My favorite summertime food is almost anything on the grill! Yum! Along with a few summertime cocktails. Theresa Shankland Blueberries, tomatoes, and grilled meats. Joshua McClain There’s one food that I always associate with summer – Ted’s Hot Dogs! Patrick Butler Strawberry gazpacho! Michele Ogden A nice, cold, juicy piece of watermelon is always the best! Ashley Betz A tray of assorted berries, brie and water crackers, and a tall glass of sangria. Kimberly Harding My favorite summertime food is chicken quesadillas breaded extra crispy with peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, and everything else you can think of with guacamole and sour cream on the side. I would need to wash it down with a strawberry lemonade. The drink would have more strawberries than lemonade with real strawberries inside. To top off dessert, I would need a large strawberry cheesequake blizzard with extra cheesecake and extra strawberries, in addition to shortcake and bananas mixed together! Oh and I need to see the chunk of cheesecake and strawberries. Cord Stone My favorite is ice cream! Mindi Mietlicki Favorite summertime food? Sun tea! Throw 5-6 of your favorite tea bags in to a glass pitcher, set it outside in the sun for the afternoon and let it brew… Add a sliced lemon and some ice. Refreshing and delicious! Jessica Lehsten Coneys, salt potatoes, baked beans and deviled eggs. Salad made from tomatoes, cucumbers, and a touch of oil and vinegar. A piece of watermelon or three for dessert. Then I’ll race you to the hammock! John Carocci


Definitely improving. All you need to do is look at the development happening downtown and on the waterfront to see firsthand that things are on the upswing. A er years of stagnant development, new projects just keep popping up over the last several years. It’s a welcome sight!! - Patrick Butler I’d like to think that the economic situa on is improving due to all of the upgrades happening downtown, especially near Canal Side. - Mindi Mietlicki I believe Buffalo is improving in every aspect, granted our past economic crisis. There are several examples I can provide regarding my decision. For example, rebuilding and revamping the neighborhoods with new and efficient, yet affordable, housing in a lot of these impoverished neighborhoods. Downtown and the Erie Canal harbor is on the rise, which is the new tourist a rac on, in my opinion. Buffalo will only improve with the help of the community, con nuing to have a posi ve outlook and having a

vision, steering away from the “what if’s” and “why’s” and focusing on the future. - Charell EllioƩ I think Buffalo’s economic situa on is improving in some areas but not in others. The investment in the medical corridor, as well as the addi on of medical research programs/partnerships between UB and Roswell Park has and will con nue to create jobs in the medical research field. The development of canal side has created a space for small business owners to vend. On the West Side, organiza ons such as PUSH are rehabbing homes, helping to increase property values in the area, and the expansion of the West Side Bazaar is a great incubator space for small businesses to grow. I don’t see a lot of economic development on the East Side of Buffalo — Bailey Avenue is filled with abandoned buildings which once housed businesses. However, the upcoming development of The Foundry on the East Side may be a great addi on for residents!!! We’ll see… - Michele Ogden


C WE DUN GOOFED! Last month’s issue of Connec ons should have included Mindi Mietlicki’s 5 year anniversary with the agency. But it didn’t. Congratula ons on 5 years, Mindi, and our apologies for the mistake! Here is Aaron Pry, currently on duty for the Army serving at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin as a member of the 865th Combat Support Hospital.

Consequences will never be the same.


Shannon Curry 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

My lifelong dream has always been to star in a really cheesy horror movie I was a compe ve swimmer through middle and high school I lived in Peru for about 4 months my senior year of high school I have my BA in English and working on finishing my Masters in Mental Health Counseling I read the en re “Girl with the Dragon Ta oo” series over a weekend My previous job was working as a Behavioral Interven onist for people with intellectual disabili es Ani DiFranco is my idol A class in Equine Assisted Therapy changed my life I s ll sleep with a stuffed animal my father gave me when I was 2 I fell in love with my boyfriend on our 3rd date


Connec ons readers have been following the outrageous exploits of Evan Greene, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at all the places he’s been and all the Evergreen staff members he has visited over the past few months. It’s quite a list! 

 Cheryl Brune (Community Services)  Helene Cacciato (Evergreen Medical Group)  Andrew Ma le (Center for Behavioral Health)  The En re Pharmacy Staff (Pharmacy)  Saw Min (Community Services)  Sheila Marcheson (Human Resources)  Elisa Luciano (Community Services)  Laura Pasquarella (Wellness Center)  Gary Williams (Administra on)  Brendan Orrange (Informa on Technology)  Jess Lehsten (Community Access Services)  Trish Hopkins (Project SAFE)

August 2013 final  

The August 2013 issue of Connections, the staff newsletter of the Evergreen Association.

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