Straight From the Executive Director
As 2018 comes to a close there is much to reflect on. In my first full year in this position, I learned that no Executive Director will be successful without the backing of a strong team. With the support and trust of the Board of Directors, the Leadership Team, our valued staff, and all of the individuals and the families we serve, we comprised a strong team. This team will enable us to continually grow here at SARAH Inc. and continue to do great work in our communities.
This year was filled with learning opportunities, and we identified
Another topic for review is SARAH Inc.’s participation in the most recent legislative season. As many of you witnessed, we did our part to stay relevant and vocal during the Midterm elections. Multiple emails and petitions were sent out in emails to keep the non-profit voice heard. Our staff made the effort to go to candidate information panels and registered to vote. SARAH Inc. held our first ever Voter Registration event at all three program locations on National Voter Registration Day. And the most noteworthy accomplishment was SARAH’s successful participation in the legislative action required to get the Direct Support Professional minimum wage increase. Legislation was passed which will be effective at the start of the new year increasing Direct Support Professional wages across the state.
A positive note that I would like to end this year on is the stability we have at SARAH Inc. As a non-profit business
Congratulations to Robert!
Robert Martin is one of our dedicated Direct Support Professionals at our Madison location. He joined our SARAH Inc. team nine months ago and has
Robert is known for coming in and having a smile on his face. He believes that the best part of every day is when he can strengthen his connection between the individuals he supports. Every day at SARAH In Action Madison is different and offers new ways of interacting with people on a personal level. If you haven’t already sent your congrats to Robert on his recent achievements please take the opportunity to do it now. We know that we are happy to help our employees grow and provide them the tools they need to continually succeed.
A Message From the Board
One Saturday in January 2018, SARAH Inc.’s Board members, Executive Director Denise Henry and facilitator Mike Burns of BWB Solutions, met for their annual Strategic Planning meeting. During this
Laurie Jean Hannon is an active member of the SARAH Community and has been on the board for two years. She, with the help of fellow Board members Linda Vigorito and Claudio Denoya, spearheaded a project to create a survey that would open the lines of communication between SARAH management and the individuals in our programs and their families. These Board members, with the assistance of Board Fellow Thairo Arruda, from Yale School of Management, worked diligently to come up with questions that would reflect how our programs are being run and areas for improvement.
The questions were finalized and with the help of SARAH Inc. Administrative staff, the survey was sent to all the individuals in our Adult Services programs, families and guardians – over 200 copies were sent via post and another 130 by email. We want to thank everyone who completed or returned this survey. This is the feedback we were looking for! The results showed many areas in which we are exceeding expectations and a few areas where we can improve. The results and their significance were discussed at length during the December Board meeting. SARAH Inc. will follow-up with responders who provided their names to discuss their concerns. An action plan has been developed to address areas identified as needing improvement. We will resend this survey next year to reassess our progress.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to take the survey and would like to offer some feedback then do not hesitate to reach out to any Board member or to us here at SARAH Inc.
One component of SARAH Inc.’s 5 year strategic plan has KIDSTEPS focusing on increasing the capacity of children and families to succeed as a family unit. This past fiscal year, KIDSTEPS worked with over 800 families throughout 31 towns in the state. KIDSTEPS therapists travel to homes, daycares, and places in the community where families go together, providing individualized supports to families to address their concerns. Children in our KIDSTEPS program may have a diagnosis of Autism, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, or other disabilities that contribute to delays in development. Highly trained therapists and teachers use coaching to help caregivers address their challenges and achieve their hopes and dreams.
This past year a commitment was made to serve more children who have autism. A strategic planning meeting was held among key stakeholders, including our Board Certified Behavior Analyst who develops the programs for each child with autism. One heavily discussed topic focused around equity of access to materials. While the Early Start Denver Model-ESDM (the curriculum followed) states that the materials used are ones that are already found in most families’ homes, it was recognized that wasn’t always the case. Some families have access to very few of these items but deserve the same opportunities for their children. From this, an action plan was made. In alignment with KIDSTEPS continued commitment to supporting all families, we are proud to report that we now have established a materials library. The library consists of
Feedback from one therapist stated, “I appreciate, as a therapist, having the autism box to use with families as it supports best practice in following protocol for ESDM. When following a model, having specific materials available is important in data collection to support children and families.”
A parent expressed to her therapist, “I am seeing my son take in an interest in a variety of toys and doing things I’ve never seen him do!” We are very excited to put the strategic plan to action. For more information about KIDSTEPS contact Elisabeth Teller 203-453-7592.
SARAH Inc. Enrichment Services offer a blended menu of day to day activities ideal for those in the program. These opportunities are based on a person’s needs and desires. One of the main initiatives of our Enrichment Services program this past year was The SARAH Challenge. The goal of employees and individuals who take part in the SARAH Challenge is to get out and be involved in the community for the entire day. A typical day in The SARAH Challenge varies but it can involve volunteering, lunch out in the community, trips to different museums, going to book club
Another fun program that several individuals in Enrichment Services took part this year was the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Sitercise class. Starting in September and running through early December, individuals over the age of fifty from all three of our locations got together for the
A brief note from our Director of Employment Services…
Dear Friends of SARAH,
Over the past two
These changes have identified the need for an Agency structure that better supports the direction in which Employment and Individualized Services are growing. SARAH is pleased to announce that an Adult Services reorganization will be underway in which Employment and Transitional Services will become their
The Adult Services reorganization will accomplish the following objectives:
The Adult Services reorganization will impact not everyone. Employment and Individualized Services will experience the majority of the changes. A member of the management team will be reaching out to you
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-399-1888 ext. 311. We are looking forward to these
– Jennifer Kostek, Director of Employment, SARAH Inc.
Family and Children’s Resource Center
The Family and Children’s Center’s mission is to meet the needs of families concerned about their child’s social, emotional and physical development and educational success. This year we had many notable events including participating in the Westbrook Wellness Fair with other SARAH staff, the free vision clinic and a very successful Mom’s Night Out. We also provided many community members and daycare staff with CPR and first aid training. As always, we are available to assist families and caregivers with help finding resources over the phone. But we are excited to say, we have new and innovative plans for the upcoming year.
We at SARAH Inc. have a wealth of knowledge and experts in their respective fields, all equipped to aid individuals with differing abilities and their families. We want to share this knowledge in a larger capacity than we have in the past. Stay tuned for 2019 because it will be one for the books.
SARAH’s Transitional Services program is stronger than it’s ever been. After its initial release in February 2018, this service has grown significantly. When Transitional Services first launched it was about providing another option for individuals to consider when they graduated high school; it was created to help bridge that gap between education and employment. But throughout the year it has become much more than that. Giving individuals the opportunity to learn and develop the vocational skills needed to excel through the entire job search, acquisition and retention process. SARAH recognizes that some individuals, no matter their age, who are unsure about whether or not they would like to work. Transitional Services has the advantage of providing
Beyond our dedicated staff, our continued success would not be possible without our valued business partners. We want to personally thank all of you for helping our crews succeed in the job field. We are providing Transitional Services with the cooperation of the following businesses:
• West Marine
• Killingworth True Value
• Cuckoo’s Nest
• Saybrook Hardware
• Zion Episcopal Church
• Julia’s Cup of Joe
• McKinley Wildlife Refuge
• Pennylane Pub
• SARAH’s Cupboard
• The Community Dining Room
• TJ Maxx
• Wallingford YMCA
• West Marine
• Whelen Engineering
• The SARAH Foundation
If you want to know more about our Transitional Services program or wish to become a business partner then you can contact our Director of Employment Services Jen Kostek at 860-399-1888 ext. 311.