July 2019 Newsletter

SARAH Inc. News & Updates

July 2019

Engaging in Summertime Science

Summer is the time to stretch your legs and to enjoy time out in the community. The SARAH In Action North Haven program is taking full advantage of the nice weather and providing individuals in their program chances to spend the entire day out of the program doing things they want to do. One of the SIA North Haven groups advocated going to the Hartford Science Center; they spent the entire day experiencing the exhibits and learning about difference sciences and technology.

The Hartford Science Center is known for their innovative hands-on approach to learning. The group experienced a multitude of science and sensory experiments. Julie expressed that she “had a lot of fun” and enjoyed the chance to learn about new things. Some other highlights from this day of learning included seeing an authentic astronaut suit and, one of the most enjoyed moments, stepping into a hurricane wind simulator. We at SARAH Inc. always strive to enhance skills and enrich the lives of all individuals with differing abilities. Creating group outings in coordination with the individuals’ input is what makes these trips successful. Follow us on Facebook to see what other Summer activities the people in our programs are up too!

What's Happening in our SARAH Inc. Programs

From the Desk of the Executive Director

SARAH Inc., similar to many other non-profit organizations, operates on a fiscal year that runs from July 1st through June 30th. It is within this time frame that we measure our accomplishments, evaluate areas of opportunity, and search for innovative ways to increase the quality of services that we provide to individuals with differing abilities.

The initial evaluation of the closed fiscal year looks positive. Thanks to the incredible work and dedication of our KIDSTEPS employees they are serving more children than ever before. As a result, this department has grown significantly and is hiring additional staff. To help expand the scope of services KIDSTEPS staff is receiving advanced training and materials on the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) for children with Autism and Activity Based Teaming (ABT) with families.

Secondly, our Adult Services program used to be one large department providing a myriad of services to individuals. But with the growth of our new Community Supports and individualized based services we recognized it was time to move away from the previous model. Adult Services is now comprised of three departments, Enrichment, Employment, and Community Supports. This allows for more person-centered, quality supports. Positive outcomes are being seen through skill enhancing volunteer opportunities and individuals finding and keeping competitive jobs.

Within the last fiscal year we have witnessed tremendous growth in our Transitional Services program. The Transitional Services program bridges the gap between individuals who have limited job experience or recent high school graduates into competitive employment. This program was designed to curate a person’s job skills through interactive classes with trained coaches and work experience in the field. In the most recent fiscal year, the program has grown by over 300%. Examples of this growth include securing new job sites for individuals to learn hands-on skills and implementing our successful internship program.

SARAH Inc. is one of the leaders in high-quality human services. We maintain this role through innovative program ideas, building relationships in the community, and by adopting the newest forms of technology and methodologies into our programs. We are a person centered agency and through new endeavors our end goal will always be to better benefit the people we serve. Moving forward, we are looking to ensure SARAH Inc. is more secure and stronger than ever. Initial steps towards security lies in further diversifying our revenue. This includes launching a new in-house grant writing program and holding small fundraising events to supplement program funding. 

As stated by the former Mayor of São Paulo, Fernado Haddad, “combine fiscal responsibility with social responsibility”. That is the approach we align with at SARAH Inc. As we start another fiscal year, stronger than the last, we inspire to make an even larger impact on the community we serve.

Enrichment

People in our programs are starting a new summer exercise program called “Get Fit”. In partnership with the Branford YMCA, groups from all of our Adult Services locations come together to exercise. The first class in the series started on July 11th, where our new friends at Get Fit introduced themselves and their exercises to the SARAH Inc. family.

The first class consisted of stretching and tension band exercises, but that won’t be the only thing these individuals tackle in the class. As the program advances, the activities will be changing to keep things fresh and to challenge everyone. We’ll continue having our Get Fit classes for the duration of Summer and we’re excited to see how it evolves!

A Conversation with Anne Marie

“I like SARAH because it has good people. This is important to me because people in the community are always talking about us and how different we are. Here at SARAH Inc. there is a wide variety of people and we all come together. I would like one person to understand SARAH and what we do here.”

Anne Marie takes part in a variety of activities in our programs and loves being a part of different experiences. She belongs to a book club at the Westbrook Library. Here, Anne Marie says she feels welcomed and part of the community. “I look forward to it every week! Because of my limitations with Cerebral Palsy, going out can be difficult, however; all my staff at home and at day program give me that opportunity to do things like everybody else can.”

Anne Marie has also volunteered at the local food pantry by bringing in the donations, weighing the food, and checking the dates. She’s a positive and warm person, makes everyone smile, and advocates not only for herself, but for all her peers as well. Keep up all of the great work Anne Marie!

Employment

Congratulations Paul on the Excellence Achievement Award

Paul has been employed by the Coast Guard since May of 2002, and was recently given an Excellence Achievement Award for his outstanding work over the 17 years he’s been with the Coast Guard. Paul was one of the first individuals to be independently employed and is excelling to this day.

Through the years, Paul has weathered some personal setbacks, including the sudden death of his father. Since his move to  Chester, Connecticut at the Bryant House group home, he has overcome these personal challenges and matured steadily into a reliable and responsible adult. He enjoys a sense of achievement in his work, enjoys additional responsibilities, and still remains modest about it all.

Paul and his fellow employees have shown tremendous success. Two junior members of the Coast Guard team, who have been on the team for approximately 6 and 3 years respectively, have also shown a steady trend of improvement. We are excited to continue to see this group grow and excel as employees in the work field.

Jim and Solstice Senior Living

Earlier this year, SARAH Inc. Employment Services started their first Internship program with Solstice Senior Living in Guilford. This Internship program gives four individuals the ability to learn pertinent job skills first hand. This group performs several tasks within the company including housekeeping and hospitality, with goals to take on administrative tasks and food preparation. 

Pictured to the right is Jim, an intern at Solstice Senior Living in Guilford working as a part of the internship program. His impeccable work ethic and dedication earned him a promotion within his internship. Jim’s hard work has secured him a trainee role in the kitchen doing food prep and other similar tasks. 

SARAH Inc. is always excited to see the people in our programs learn new skills and excel in their endeavors. This internship success has led to the recent start of a second internship program at the Arden House in Hamden. Stay tuned to learn more about the happenings in our employment and transitional programs.

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If you are interested in partnering with SARAH Inc. and want to learn how our internship program can benefit you, then please contact us at marketing@sarah-inc.org. 

KIDSTEPS

SARAH Inc. KIDSTEPS is the third largest Early Intervention program in the state. We provide services in 31 different cities throughout Connecticut and we are anticipating to service more than 800 families by the end of the calendar year. One of the reasons we have seen such growth and accomplishment is because of our talented and dedicated staff. They are always looking for ways to further educate themselves and to improve the quality of services a family receives. One of the best ways to stay updated on current practices is to attend different trainings and speaking with experts on the subject matter.

Recently, we sent our third group of therapists to one of these trainings to become coaches using Activities Based Teaming. This training is a 2-day, in-person workshop facilitated by M’Lisa Shelden, PhD and Dathan Rush, PhD. There is also a 6 month follow up period, during which time each participant completes a monthly coaching log and participates in a team coaching call with Dathan with the goal of reaching fidelity with a therapist’s coaching practices. The two-day training focuses on understanding and applying research supported practices. Another group of therapists who had previously completed this training also participated in Master Coach training with the same experts. The goal of this training is to help them improve their ability to support other staff attempting to apply their ABT training to their own clients.

The mission of Connecticut’s Birth to Three system is to strengthen the capacity of Connecticut’s families to meet the developmental and health-related needs of their infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities. While coaching has historically been a term and process used primarily in sports/athletics, coaching is an adult learning strategy you will find in many fields and businesses. To be a coach in early intervention means engaging with caregivers in a capacity building manner. The result of coaching is that the caregiver can apply what they know about their child and what they have learned to help their child participate in their day and advance their skills.

We at KIDSTEPS believe that a parent is a child’s best teacher and through the ABT Training our therapists are learning how to help caregivers build their capacity to help their child. As Benjamin Franklin said “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.”

A Message from the Board

The annual SARAH Foundation Golf Classic is being held August 5th at the Clinton Country Club. This year two directors from SARAH Inc.’s Board of Directors are playing to show support for the SARAH family of agencies. Dan Brill, an avid golfer of 50 years, is playing in the tournament for his first time. Dan has been an active member of the SARAH Inc. Board of Directors and is always looking for ways to further support our mission. As a seasoned golfer, his favorite part of the game is the chance to meet interesting people from all over the world. When asked what advice Dan would give to beginning golfers he said, “Don’t worry about your shots. You’re getting exercise in a beautiful place with wonderful people.”

The second director playing on behalf of SARAH Inc.’s board is Laurie-Jean Hannon. This will be Laurie-Jean’s second time playing in the Classic. Golf hasn’t been a lifelong priority for Laurie-Jean, but she enjoys her time on the green and has been more active in the last two years. She enjoys the sport because it is fun, and it doesn’t always have to be about the competition. “It’s not about getting the best shot every time, it’s about enjoying the game.” Showing support for SARAH Inc. and the SARAH family of agencies is important to her and she looks forward to helping further our cause.

Both Dan and Laurie-Jean are coming out to the Classic as a show of support and involvement. Golf is more than just a sport, it is a tool that brings individuals together and can be used as a vehicle to raise awareness for a good cause.

More Happenings at SARAH Inc.

Employee Shout Out

Nenser was nominated be this month’s featured employee because of her dedication to SARAH Inc. and her kind nature.

Nenser is currently working in our SARAH In Action North Haven location and has been with SARAH Inc. for almost 8 years. Over those 8 years Nenser has remained committed to us through many changes within the company including the transition of the Branford program and most recently the SARAH Inc. reorganization of Adult Services. Her flexibility and positive outlook has motivated other team members and helped to make these changes successful.

Nenser seems to have a natural ability to work with people. She always comes to work with a positive attitude. Throughout the day, Nenser’s nurturing personality helps to make people feel comfortable. People in our programs say that she helps inspire them to have a better day. Nenser is kind, respectful and a great advocate for those she works with. We are so grateful to have Nenser on our team!

 
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