Straight from the Executive Director’s Desk – October 2018 Newsletter
Krystian Shoots and He Scores!
Krystian Sawicki utilizes our Individualized Services here at SARAH Inc. Recently, Krystian decided that he wanted to better use the programs SARAH Inc. offers and opted into the Individualized program. Krystian advocated that he wanted to be more active in the community and take part in an enriching and productive day. He enjoys volunteering and helping others, and every Tuesday he travels out to Caring Cuisine in New Haven, CT to volunteer his services. Krystian and his staff pick up meals and deliver them to individuals throughout the city.
Volunteering is fulfilling, but what Krystian truly enjoys doing most is playing basketball. With the freedom that comes with SARAH Inc.’s Individualized Services Krystian can enjoy activities that other individuals might not want to partake in.
Have you met Barry?
We are excited to welcome Barry Smith into our SARAH Inc. Family. Barry recently accepted the position of Program Manager at our SARAH In Action – Madison location. He is coming in with nine years of experience from the Boys and Girls Village in Milford, Connecticut. With his degree in Psychology and years of experience in the social services field, he has hit the ground running at Madison.
Since his first day at SARAH Inc. he has taken great strides to meet all of SARAH Inc.’s standards and procedures while bringing in his ideas to enhance the programs. In Barry’s free time you can find him out fishing or playing volleyball. Staying active and getting outside is important to him and aids to boost overall creativity. When asked about his favorite part of SARAH Inc. so far he said “Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. Staff and participants alike are very open and accepting. I look forward to getting to know everyone and helping this program grow”
If you see Barry don’t hesitate to say Hi!
From the Director
This past Summer we at SARAH Inc. made great strides within our programs, our company, and our dedicated employees. One of our most significant initiatives during the past few months has been staff development. SARAH Inc.’s most crucial resource is our staff and it is imperative to invest in our employees. The high-quality services and programs we provide will only continue to improve and thrive if we have the best staff. From our Direct Support Professionals to our Management team, we are committed to improving growth and continued training.
As the Executive Director, I tend to wear many hats and it is my role to look at the strategic landscape that lies ahead for SARAH Inc. From that perspective, I see several challenges and changes ahead that need to be addressed to maintain our high standards and services. Every day there are new opportunities and information that could change the way SARAH Inc. operates, including hiring and retaining quality employees. It is up to the leadership teams and myself to streamline the internal training being offered while researching additional educational training that will further improve staff competencies.
Several of our KIDSTEPS Clinicians recently participated in the Circle of Security training. This intense four-day interactive workshop increased our staff members’ understanding of new techniques in their field. It was such a valuable experience that we have signed up additional Clinicians for next month’s training. The Circle of Security is a relationship-based early intervention program designed to enhance the attachment security between parents and their children. The result includes increased awareness and helping parents to expand their moment-to-moment parenting choices where needed.
Members of our Management team used the past few months to sharpen their leadership and professional abilities. The Director of Children and Family Services, Elisabeth Teller, completed a nine-month Community Leadership Program. The Director of Employment, Jen Kostek, completed a program to become a Certified Employment Support Professional. Most recently, the Agency Leadership Teams, including myself, started a lengthy six-month leadership training that focuses on the most up-to-date approaches to fostering positive performance outcomes, both within ourselves and with our fellow staff members.
We strive to hire top-quality candidates and our Training Committee meets regularly to discuss and implement ways to improve our training curriculum to offer the most up-to-date skills in the field. Continuous staff development allows SARAH Inc.’s newest and seasoned employees to sharpen their workplace skills and to evolve with the industry. Our goal is to build employee confidence, encourage better performance, and inspire new ideas which will allow SARAH Inc. to stay competitive and advance as a leader in the industry.
New to the Board of Directors
The change of the seasons brings a change within our board of directors. These two women come from different backgrounds and live different lives but are brought together by a passion for helping others and wanting to be part of a new kind of community.
Kelly Falvey, is a Branford resident personally connected to the SARAH Inc. community by her sister Erin who is an active individual at various SARAH Inc. locations. Kelly comes from a diverse education background including studying at multiple universities to teaching. She has served professionally as a high school teacher, a School Library Media Specialist, beginning teacher mentor, Technology Project Leader, and as a founding member of a magnet school.
Kelly is passionate about inclusivity, equity, and personal growth. In her spare time you can find her partaking in a variety of outdoor activities; running, yoga, and so much more. She enjoys traveling with her sister all across the country and she strives to be a role model to those around her. This is not the first board Kelly has sat on and we are excited to see what her experience and education can contribute to our SARAH Inc. family.
Debra Palmer, is an accomplished Senior executive and Board Member with more than forty years of success in both the domestic and international insurance industry. Deb holds a B.A. in Spanish and Education, as well as an M.B.A. in Organizational Effectiveness. Her education and work ethic helped launch her headfirst into a successful and fruitful career.
In her free time, you will most likely find Deb on a golf course. Golf is a major passion and networking tool that Deb has grown to love over the years. When she is out on the greens she is genuinely in her zone. It is a great way to stay active and a perfect excuse to adventure to new places.
We are excited to bring these two dedicated women on board and to see what they bring to the table.
Nepormorrosa Gonzalez and KIDSTEPS
Nepormorrosa Gonzalez is one of KIDSTEPS dedicated Developmental Therapist Associates. Covering a vast section of Connecticut including Meriden, Hamden, Wallingford, North Haven, and New Haven areas, Nepo does her best to help enrich the lives of the kids and families in our Birth to Three program. What makes Nepo stand out is her ability to speak English, Spanish, and even a touch of Portuguese. Her multi-lingual capabilities allow her to connect to some of the families on a level that other Therapists are incapable of, which is why up to 90% of her families speak another language. She is highly sought out and requested in the field.
Nepo has been in our KIDSTEPS family for six years but comes with thirteen total years in Birth to Three Early Intervention services. Outside of work she enjoys going to the movies and reading. Recently, she finished the heart-touching book “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom and started reading “The Early Childhood Coaching Handbook” by Dathan Rush and M’Lisa Sheldon.
When asked about her experience so far she responded saying:
“Every single day is different and anything can happen. We meet every kind of person and we deal with all kinds of issues from medical concerns to immigration concerns. We help all kind of families from different backgrounds and economic level.
The best aspect of working in KIDSTEPS is the support that we give to the families and the sense that we made a difference in a family’s life. Sometimes there can be stress and challenges that come from the job, but at the end of the day, it is amazing the support that we get from the team. We learn a lot from each other.
I love my driving time! The excitement of making it to the first appointment of the day, and taking the back roads home in the evening. One of the best things that I like the most is the fact that every single day we learn something new from our families and from each other.
Working in the Birth to Three Early Intervention Services can be a challenge, but it can also be gratifying. Nepo does her best every day and comes to work with a smile.
Even though Summer is officially over, we at SARAH Inc. can honestly say that we made the most out of the season. Individuals in our programs enjoyed trips to the Pez factory, explored new depths during chartered boat rides, created masterpieces in interactive art classes, and enjoyed picnics at various parks. We sold crafts at the Cheshire Craft fair, participated in the Old Saybrook CommUNITY day, made one-of-a-kind art with squirt guns, and volunteered in the surrounding towns. Individuals from North Haven delivered books from the library to people who cannot readily make it out to get them themselves. Some of our individuals from Madison took day-old goods from Starbucks and Stop & Shop and delivered them to local churches. And our SARAH In Action Westbrook individuals often baked homemade dog treats and donated them to the local Valley Shore Animal Welfare League. Between the SARAH Challenges, volunteer opportunities, and outdoor activities we enjoyed the Summer and we cannot wait to see what the rest of the year brings our way!
Moreover, if you haven’t heard, individuals from SARAH In Action – Westbrook created a Scarecrow for the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Scarecrow Fest. Voting is officially open and you can vote once a day, EVERY DAY, until October 27th. To vote for SARAH Inc. text SCARECROW11 to 74574.
The Family and Children’s Center is currently preparing for the next Mom’s Night Out scheduled for later on this year. Based on past success, we believe that the next night out will be equally fun. If you have any questions or suggestions do not hesitate to email [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Daniel Potter – Employment Services
Daniel Potter is celebrating twenty-three years at Honeywell! Dan is a Materials Clerk, a position which entails tracking and delivering packages throughout the company. Anyone at Honeywell could tell you that he does anything and everything that is asked of him and he accepts these tasks with a smile. He loves and is loved by his co-workers and they get along extremely well. He knows all of the In’s and Out’s of Honeywell and can tell you everything there is to know about the company. To other people going to work can be a drag but to Dan, it is more than that. According to him, he is living the American dream.
John Izzo has been with SARAH Inc. for many years. He was previously part of SARAH’s Group Supported Employment program. Due to the limited number of crew jobs available, John decided he would like to try SARAH Inc.’s Transitional Services. John was a participant in this program for six months. During that time he worked with his Job Coach perfecting social skills on the job, learning how to dress for success and doing vocational tasks at several restaurants in the community to identify his strengths. These restaurants partner with SARAH and provide assessment sites, a supportive community environment where participants can learn various aspects of the job before becoming employed. Doing vocational tasks at these restaurants helped John polish his skills in the industry and as a result, John was recently offered a job at The Chowder Pot in Branford – and he ACCEPTED! His Employment Specialist will conduct occasional check-ins to see if John needs assistance with anything. But knowing John, he’s got this!