Summer News and Updates

Denise - CEO of SARAH Inc.

A Message from the CEO, Denise Daviau (previously Denise Henry)

The last several months at SARAH Inc. have been incredibly busy and rewarding for those we serve and our employees. We have continued to advocate for those receiving services, created new partnerships, and greeted new faces into our programs.

Thanks to the advocacy work of all our staff, board members, program individuals, and the friends and families of SARAH Inc., we were a voice in the important conversations happening during the 2022 Legislative Session. Together we made lasting positive impacts for all Birth to Three programs and other nonprofit organizations like ours by securing critically needed service funding increases. We were also thankful to have had the opportunity for an in-person conversation about SARAH Inc. Early Intervention Services and the Connecticut Birth to Three service infrastructure with the Office of Early Childhood Commissioner, Beth Bye.

Over the upcoming months, we will continue to connect with our local communities to deliver the highest quality services we are known for providing. I hope you enjoy learning more about the great experiences at SARAH Inc. shared throughout this newsletter. My best to you and your families for an enjoyable and safe summer!

Catch Up On All Things Happening At SARAH Inc.!

Adult Services

We would like to wish The Class of 2022 the best in all future endeavors and offer our supports as recent graduates close this chapter life and look to begin the next. If you or someone you know is a recent high school grad with a differing ability and is interested in continuing to make 2022 a year filled with exciting opportunities, achievements, and personal growth: SARAH Inc. can help! Get started by emailing Jen Kostek at jkostek@sarah-inc.org or Stephanie Cona at scona@sarah-inc.org to learn more.

SARAH Inc.’s Employment Services are focused on helping individuals find jobs that are right for them. Our Enrichment Services are focused on community inclusion, social and life-skill building opportunities. These programs are available for adults ages 21 years and older with differing abilities. 

You can check out the rest of our newsletter for a closer look at what the participants of these programs have been up to the past few months!

Employment Services

Currently offered throughout Middlesex County and New Haven County

Find a program that is best suited for you, improve and develop skills, go after professional goals

Learn More

Call us

We would love to hear from you!

Stephanie Cona, Marketing and Communications Manager: (860) 399-1888 x324

Email us

An email works fine, too!

Stephanie Cona: scona@sarah-inc.org
Jen Kostek: jkostek@sarah-inc.org

Enrichment Services

Located in Westbrook, Madison, and North Haven

Make an impact in the community, enjoy hobbies alongside friends, and pursue personal growth

Learn More

Employment Services

The adults in SARAH Inc. Employment Services have been enjoying the summer season so far. With the daylight hours at their longest, there is even more time in the day to make the most out of this season and have some fun while still focusing on career development. From receiving A+ work reviews, engaging in new learning opportunities, making great impressions at interviews, and gaining hands-on experience: the individuals in these programs are growing both personally and professionally!

The communities that we provide services in play an integral role in our organization’s ability to Enhance Skills and Transform Lives of All Individuals with Differing Abilities. SARAH Inc. is fortunate to have several incredible community partners to serve as assessment sites and internship locations, some of them are featured below. With this support, we are able to provide the adults in these programs opportunities to pursue meaningful employment.

“We have had a SARAH Inc. crew for a couple decades now. They come in Monday through Friday and take care of cleaning the store before the staff and customers arrive. We love having them, they are part of the family.”

Marketing Director and Pick Your Own Manager, Bishops Orchards

Do you know a business who could benefit from hiring hard working and dedicated employees? Contact Jen Kostek at jkostek@sarah-inc.org or at 860-399-1888 ext. 311 to learn more about becoming a business partner or a community partner with SARAH Inc. today.

Moreover, these programs provide the resources and supports needed to enhance a person’s success. Knowing that “success” is not a one-size fits all term, our experienced team takes the time to listen to each person’s goals and dreams to help turn them into a reality. In addition to specific job-related training, our Employment Services programs also offer opportunities for adults to develop their vocational and interpersonal skills through other activities that are of interest to them. Some examples of this include working on the computer, painting, making jewelry, doing puzzles, exercising and so much more. We understand the value of a individualized approach and finding what works best for each person we support. 

Enjoying the Summer sunshine

Many of the adults in across all of our programs enjoy staying active in the community. Now that summer is finally here, more time is able to be being spent outside enjoying nature. A few ways that the individuals have enjoyed time outdoors this summer include group meetups in the park for skill building and enjoying lunch together, exploring CT’s incredible parks and hiking trails, volunteering with the Branford Garden Club to keep the flowers watered and lively on Main Street, and more. 

When we immerse ourselves in nature, we are also soaking up all of the mental, physical and emotional benefits it offers. This article from Yale School of the Environment discusses the robust effects that outdoor experiences can have on people’s health. You can read more here.

Enrichment Services

It has been a summer filled with making memories and improving life skills for the adults in SARAH Inc. Day Support Programs. Those who attend these programs have been focused on building social skills, discovering new interests and passions, and of course – having some fun too. Individuals made an impact in the lives of others through volunteering around the community, created masterpieces using different mediums in interactive arts classes, enjoyed picnics and hikes at various parks, and so much more. 

Dog Treat Delivery!

The people in our Enrichment Services are always looking for ways to give back and help others in their communities. SARAH Inc. offers robust volunteering opportunities geared toward making an impact in the lives of other people such as helping at libraries, delivering food for Meals on Wheels, and more.

Humans are not the only ones who could use a hand: our Westbrook Day Program recognizes that it is important to give back to the animals as well! This group makes dog treats together and recently delivered a batch of freshly made treats to the Valley Shore Animal Welfare League in Westbrook, Connecticut. 

Celebrating Juneteenth

In the days leading up to Juneteenth, our Enrichment Programs celebrated the holiday by reading and learning about Black history and honoring Black contributions and achievements. Pictured below is a group from our North Haven Day Program along with a presentation that was put together teach participants more about the holiday. SARAH Inc. also added Juneteenth as one of the agency’s annual holidays to recognize this long-overlooked milestone in our nation’s history.

Juneteenth is federal holiday that commemorates the day that the last enslaved Black Americans in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas were informed of their freedom on June 19, 1865. The following year, the newly freed people in Texas organized and celebrated what our nation’s today recognizes as Juneteenth. 

This article from the National Museum of African American History & Culture discusses the historical legacy of Juneteenth. You can read more here.

KIDSTEPS

Our KIDSTEPS Early Intervention Services continue to provide high-quality services to children and families throughout Connecticut during the summer months. Our professional staff of highly skilled therapists work together with families to help them meet the goals they have for their child. Services are provided in natural environments such as family’s homes, childcare settings, and other community locations. Meeting with families in the environments that are most familiar to them and sharing in their routines allows KIDSTEPS staff partner with caregivers and build on their abilities to support their child so that the child continues to build their skills well beyond the individual session.

All Day Staff Meeting

Our teams were FINALLY back together again in person for our semiannual All Day Staff Meeting. This day was packed with learning opportunities and team-building exercises. This meeting is an opportunity for our incredible KIDSTEPS staff to come together, check in with one another, share updates and celebrate with the whole program. The group dove into various topics and brainstormed solutions to remove any barriers that were getting in the way to providing supports to families while maintaining a work-life balance. We also make sure to have a little fun and enjoy some delicious food while we were at it!

Well done, Team 1!

Shoutout to Team 1! This team won the “KIDSTEPS Challenge” at the All-Day Staff Meeting, you can see them pictured here holding their first-place trophy. The KIDSTEPS Challenge was a 4-month competition between the 6 KIDSTEPS teams to improve our services in three different categories:

  1. Increase the number of children/families engaged in their services per month
  2. Generate ideas to improve our systems and efficiencies within the program
  3. Improve accuracy and timeliness of important paperwork

It was a close race, and all our teams made tremendous gains in each of these areas! 

Touch-A-Truck Event

We were excited to be invited to participate in Essex’s Touch a Truck Event last month. It was a great opportunity to interact with the children and families who stopped by our table to learn more about SARAH Inc. KIDSTEPS and the other services we provide. Thank you to the Town of Essex and Child First for hosting this event!

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
OR
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.

Thank You to Our Funders

SARAH Inc. is grateful to have gotten several grants to help fund some of our amazing programs. We can provide high-quality supports and programs above and beyond with the help of these generous funders. Here are just a few of the programs and funders that we are thankful for.

First, SARAH Inc. was recently able to start the Introduction of All-Inclusive Gym Memberships into our Transitional Services program to provide adults with disabilities the tools needed to live healthier and more independent lifestyles. We partnered with the Valley Shore YMCA to offer memberships up to 10 individuals who can now access their fitness equipment, classes, and nutrition program. Improving one’s health and well-being can contribute to supporting an independent lifestyle. We want to thank the Community Foundation of Middlesex County for funding this opportunity.

Secondly, we want to thank the Westbrook Foundation and the Laura J. Niles Foundation for both partially funding our Equestrian Therapy Program through High Hopes Therapeutic Riding. This program which ran in the Spring and will continue to run in the Summer, is designed to provide 8 adults the opportunity to develop new skills, build a bond with these animals, and become comfortable around these animals. Typical classes may include the participants interacting directly with the horses while learning how to properly groom, lead, and take care of them. We are thankful for the funding provided by the Westbrook Foundation and Laura J. Niles Foundations that made these classes possible this year.

SARAH Solutions, 99% Effective Podcast

We are very excited to share the most recent podcast episode from SARAH Solutions features Kara Pachniuk from Nourish + Nosh. Kara has partnered with SARAH Inc. in the past to offer in-house nutrition and cooking classes to the adults with differing abilities in our Day Programs. In this episode, How Food Impacts Your Mood: Nutrition’s Role in Health and Development, Kara discusses where you can start in terms of eating healthy, adjusting your lifestyle, and answering the “why’s” behind the connection between what we eat and how we feel. A great place to start is knowing that everyone is different, and everyone needs something different when it comes to their diet. Take the first step in redefining your relationship with food and listen to this great episode.

Missed out on the last few episodes? You can find them here:

A Parent’s Prep Guide for PPT Meetings (Released May 9, 2022)

Let’s Tech About It: Assistive Technology in CT (Released April 12, 2022)

A Legislative Re-release: Legislative Sessions and Personal Expressions – Why Your Voice Matters (Released March 22, 2022)

Work at SARAH Inc.

SARAH Inc. is one of the leaders in the human services industry. Our teams are made up of qualified, talented, and creative individuals. We provide supports to more than 1400 children and adults across 50 towns in the state. We are looking for equally as driven team members to help us make a difference in the lives of those in our programs.

If you are interested, you can learn more about our agency and our open positions here.

Order 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!

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. To order a copy of your own today, send an email to Stephanie at marketing@sarah-inc.org or call us at 860-399-1888 ext. 324.

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.