A Message from the CEO, Denise Daviau (previously Denise Henry)
It is hard to believe that it is already the end of the first quarter of the year. As always, we have been busy with much happening throughout the agency. One highlight was in February, when SARAH Inc. was honored to receive the 2021 Non-Profit Excellence in Re-Invention Award at the Shoreline Chamber Annual Awards & Breakfast Meeting. This award was given to SARAH Inc. in acknowledgment of our innovation and flexibility within our programming. I am incredibly proud of our staff and thankful they have been recognized for their unwavering commitment to those we serve.
In addition, we are in the middle of CT’s legislative session. Every year at this time, SARAH Inc. employees, leadership team, board of directors, and the friends and families of SARAH Inc. work together to raise awareness and advocate for needs of nonprofits and human services providers throughout the state. Nonprofits provide essential supports and make up a large percentage of the workforce, yet we are often overlooked in terms of funding and legislative support. This year we are especially focused on the need to increase funding for Early Intervention Services. Chronic underfunding for these supports for the most vulnerable children at the youngest of ages is threatening the state’s Early Intervention Services community provider infrastructure. If you are interested in getting involved, you can easily reach out to your representatives directly through The Alliance’s pre-loaded email tool: https://ctnonprofitalliance.org/contact-your-legislator/
For further updates and happenings please enjoy this newsletter and thank you all for the continued support!
Catch Up On All Things Happening At SARAH Inc.!
After what has felt like a rather long and cold winter: spring has finally arrived! Spring is the time of year that is often associated with growth and blossoming into the best versions of ourselves. With the weather warming up, we are looking forward to getting back out in our communities again to make new connections and create lasting memories. We are looking forward to enjoying more activities outdoors at places such as Hammonasset, Jacobs Beach, McKinney Nature Reserve, and Madison Green just to name a few.
Nevertheless SARAH Inc. Employment Services groups have been focused on strengthening their social, emotional, and vocational skills at various jobs, assessment sites, and other places throughout the community. It is an exciting time when we can enhance career development, engage with our communities, develop our skills, all while enjoying the beautiful change of season that Connecticut has to offer. You can find these adults staying busy working and/or volunteering at a variety of businesses throughout our community.
A SARAH Inc. Employment Success Story
SARAH Inc.’s Individual Supported Employment (ISE) Program works with individuals to develop customized plans to help secure meaningful, lasting employment. After months of weekly phone check ins spent discussing his goals, Stephen decided that he had interest in working in retail. When he returned to in-person services in August 2021, he worked with his employment specialist to plan actionable next steps towards achieving this goal.
Stephen began by visiting the Branford Goodwill to tour the store and shadow employees completing tasks. They met with the store manager and Stephen was offered a volunteer opportunity with the store. He volunteered at Goodwill for a month and a half, completing a range of tasks assigned by the manager such as: pulling merchandise by colored price tag, sorting books into their designated categories, pricing the books appropriately, and neatly organizing merchandise on the sales floor. He enjoyed his volunteer experience and was making great connections with others at the store.
It was not long before his employment specialist and the manager at Goodwill began to discuss how well Stephen was doing in this role. The manager stated that she would like to have Stephen join their team as a part-time employee as soon as he is ready. Excited by this job opportunity but wanting to weigh his options, Stephen took some time to think it over. The following week when Stephen was on his way to volunteer at Goodwill he said, “I’m ready to work at Goodwill!”. He accepted the offer soon after and promptly completed his application, background check and onboarding. You can now find Stephen working at Goodwill.
The 1:1 service model that we utilize in our Community Supports Program allows the individual to work directly with a dedicated SARAH Inc. staff member. Individuals focus on developing skills and working towards their goals to increase independence. In our last newsletter, we featured William and his trips to the grocery store. Since the last time we checked in, William has become even more comfortable participating in every stage of his food shopping. He has sharpened new skills such as using the codes for the produce to weigh his items to find out the cost, as well as counting out the cash to pay for groceries.
Many of the adults in SARAH Inc.’s Day Support Programs have been discovering new interests and passions for activities such as, such as ceramics, painting, cooking, and baking. Not only are these types of hobbies easy to enjoy and share with others, but research has also shown that expressing creativity relieves stress, which in turn benefits long-term health. Participating in creative activities helps to broaden perspectives, lets us see the world in new ways, and builds organizational skills. Additionally, one of our favorite ways to strengthen our ties with our communities is by volunteering. Many of the individuals in our programs enjoy any opportunity to give back, as it provides a greater sense of purpose. Participating in volunteer opportunities is a way to meet new friends, build relationships with other community members, and have some fun.
Over at KIDSTEPS, we are embracing the change of seasons as well. As spring arrives, we are looking forward to joining families in more outdoor real-life settings again such as parks, beaches, and more. Outdoor activities can provide children with unique opportunities to grow and explore. Rain or shine, virtual or in-person, our teams will always strive to provide the high-quality supports that we are known for.
Musab has been receiving SARAH Inc. KIDSTEPS services for about 15 months now. Musab’s mother, Sabikun, described the impact that the KIDSTEPS team has had on her after receiving her son’s Autism diagnosis.
“The biggest advantage I have gotten from the Birth to Three therapists is that they have helped me get over my fear of the Autism diagnosis. At first, I read things on the Internet that were so scary but since I have been working with the therapists (including Kara, Faith, Lisa, Noel and Donna) I have learned that he can do so much if we just keep trying.
Teaching Musab is so much better and easier when he is interested—we learned that following his lead is so important. I have learned that he can make friends—he loves the therapists he works with and has made such good connections with them. I wasn’t sure that he would be able to do that before. Schools and programs should start as soon as possible to introduce the idea of Autism and should help other children and adults and parents realize that they can make friends and connect with other people.”
Fostering the connection between a child and their guardian is key in our Birth to Three program. Our teams understand the importance of ensuring that the child, their guardian(s), and anyone else involved in their daily activities feels comfortable and involved. Sabikun notes that this relationship building positively impacted her son’s progress in our Birth to Three program.
Navigating the next steps after receiving an Autism diagnosis for your child can be an overwhelming experience for parents and guardians. Our professional staff of certified therapists such as speech and language pathologists, physical and occupational, early childhood specialists and teachers work directly with children and their families to support a child’s daily activities, as these are the building blocks to developing new skills. We connect families with the resources that match their needs while helping them advocate for their children.
Moreover, we were grateful for the opportunity to attend Guilford Youth and Family Services “Brown Bag Lunch Series”. This virtual event was an opportunity for community experts and organizations to share information about the services they provide. Allison, a Team Manager and Developmental Therapy Specialist for SARAH Inc. KIDSTEPS, presented to the group about Birth to Three Early Intervention Services in Connecticut.
Some of the topics discussed included: individualized family service plans, the transition processes into and out of Birth to Three programs, and how to refer a child for an evaluation. The group shared that this information would be beneficial to know in the future when assisting families who have young children.
Click here to learn more about Guilford Youth and Family Services.
How to Request an Early Intervention Evaluation
To request a Birth to Three early intervention evaluation you can:
A) Call the toll-free intake phone number at Child Development Infoline 1-800-505-7000
B) Complete the online referral form on the Birth to Three System web site www.birth23.org
C) Download the referral form from the Birth to Three Website and Fax your referral to 1-800-571-6853
If you would like KIDSTEPS to provide the evaluation you can request us by name during the intake process. Otherwise, your child will be assigned to the program in your town that is next on rotation. Please contact Stephanie Cona at 860-399-1888 ext. 324 if you have any questions.
SARAH Inc.'s Awareness Campaigns
This past March, we acknowledged and celebrated both Developmental Disability Awareness Month and World Down Syndrome Day. These are two opportunities SARAH Inc. used to help raise awareness around Down Syndrome, developmental and intellectual disabilities or delays, self-advocacy, and more. We encouraged everyone to learn more about the importance of inclusion in our communities and to work together to empower all people to achieve their potential through self-advocacy, exercising their rights, and making their own decisions.
SARAH Inc.’s World Down Syndrome Day Giveaway and Rock Your Socks Social Media challenge were extremely successful, and we have all of you to thank! View our Rock Your Socks 2022 album on Facebook to see some of the great sock photos we received this year.
SARAH Inc.'s Cookbook
Have you ordered your copy of our cookbook Serve It with SARAH: Healthy Recipes and Tips yet?
If not, you are in luck – we still have a few copies left. But we only have a limited stock, and these cookbooks are going fast!
If there was ever a time to chef up some healthy homecooked meals and learn more about nutrition from a Connecticut State Certified and a Certified Nutrition Specialist, it is during National Nutrition Month. The recipes from Serve It with SARAH: Healthy Recipes & Tips are easy to follow and contain nutrient dense foods that will fuel your body and mind. Did we mention that these delicious recipes were inspired by SARAH Inc.’s first ever nutrition class with Kara Pachniuk, founder of Nourish + Nosh Nutrition? This class took place at our Westbrook Day Support Program during the Summer of 2021.
So, what are you waiting for? To order a copy of your own today, send an email to Stephanie at email@example.com or call us at 860-399-1888 ext. 324.
SARAH Solutions, 99% Effective Podcast
Connecticut is right in the middle of its legislative session and SARAH Solutions is using this opportunity to re-release our legislative episode featuring Quentin “Q” Williams, previously known as Q Phipps.
Q is a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 100th district in Middlesex County. Representative Williams discusses the importance of being involved in the legislative sessions and how best to have your voice heard. In this episode you will learn how you can truly make a positive impact in your community.
Work at SARAH Inc.
If you or someone you know is looking for a new start or the next step in your career, please take a moment and look at our current job openings. At SARAH Inc. we provide the highest-quality services to hundreds of children and adults in Connecticut. To learn more about joining the SARAH Inc. team and what it is like to be on our team, click here.
Check out some of our open positions and let us know if you have any questions before you submit your application. We look forward to hearing from you!
Friends of SARAH Inc. Communication Survey
We need your feedback! As an agency we are continuously looking for ways to improve our communications. Our goal is to ensure that everything we share with you is relevant and timely. For example: these quarterly newsletters.
We are extending the survey and it will be open for one more week.
Please take one minute to take this survey so we can improve our messaging to all of you.
SARAH Inc. is a Connecticut 501©3 nonprofit. The work we do is essential for those in our programs and often underfunded. Over the last few months, we have held some fundraisers, but it is not too late to help us make a difference.
All donations to SARAH Inc. directly impact more than 1,600 children and adults throughout the state of Connecticut. We aim to constantly transform lives, offer the highest-quality supports, and continuously improve our programs. We can’t do all of this without the help of each of you. Please consider taking a moment to donate to SARAH Inc.