As an affiliate of Incompass, the agencies will work together to advocate for the needs of the people they serve and expand their reach across Greater Lowell, Greater Lawrence, and Fitchburg & Northern Worcester County.
CHELMSFORD, MA – Incompass Human Services, a human services agency serving nearly 500 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries throughout Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence, is pleased to announce that they have entered into an affiliation agreement with The Arc of Opportunity. The agreement enables these two award-winning agencies that empower people with disabilities to reach their fullest potential to collaborate and expand access to their services and reach more people in need throughout Northern Worcester County, Greater Lowell, and Greater Lawrence.
As chapters within The Arc of Massachusetts, both agencies offer similar programs and have a history of working together to advocate for the workforce and the people and families they serve. The Arc of Opportunity has been providing day, home, family, and employment supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in north central Massachusetts for more than 70 years out of their headquarters in Fitchburg, MA.
Incompass Human Services is one of the founding affiliates of the New England Human Services Collaborative (NEHSCO), along with Peabody, MA-based Bridgewell, Inc. NEHSCO is a consortium of human services providers with a shared vision rooted in access and innovation. The Collaborative was created to address the growing need for collaboration and shared resources among human services agencies in the region, as demand for services in the network increases.
“We are excited to become an affiliate of Incompass Human Services and be a part of the NEHSCO umbrella of providers,” said Mary Heafy, President, and CEO of The Arc of Opportunity. “This agreement offers us access to share in a wider range of resources and expertise, which will help us to offer more comprehensive services to the individuals and families we serve.”
Consistent with the NEHSCO affiliation model, both agencies will continue to operate under their current name and leadership structure and will maintain their current programs and services.
“I’m pleased to see another agency embracing the power of collaboration,” shared NEHSCO CEO, Bridgewell President & CEO Chris Tuttle. “One in 10 people in Massachusetts are served by the human services system, and it’s a number that is growing. As an affiliate to Incompass Human Services, The Arc of Opportunity will immediately have access to the burgeoning knowledge library and training programs we are creating at NEHSCO as we aim to meet that demand and spur innovation across the sector.”
Pictured L-R: (Back row) Chris Snell, Heather Mantell, two additional presenters from Triton Systems, Angela Otieno (Front row) Two LHS students.
Human services is often overlooked as a viable career path for young adults. With the help of Incompass Care Champions, Project LEARN is helping change that narrative. Project LEARN funds innovative programs and services to inspire Lowell Public Schools’ students and equip them with the skills, knowledge, and mindset they need for college, career, and life.
Incompass directors from three departments joined last week’s Career Speaker event hosted by Project LEARN, presenting to a freshman seminar class at Lowell High School.
Angela Otieno, Director of Residential Services
Chris Snell, Director of Clinical Services
Heather Mantell, Director of Family and Community Services
Rather than presenting their chosen career paths in a rigid format, the directors used this opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussion with the students. Otieno says that one student felt comfortable enough to ask a more personal question, such as,
“the value of taking advanced placement (AP) classes to prepare for the future, and how to handle family pressure to follow a particular career path.”
The conversation naturally shifted towards discussing students’ exposure to those with disabilities. Snell asked students to raise their hands if they knew someone with a disability.
“Nearly every one of them raised their hand. That would not have been the case 20 or maybe even 10 years ago.”
Fostering these types of relationships between young adults and human services professionals is more critical than ever. Mantell noted,
“This isn’t a line of work that students would typically gravitate towards. But, if convinced at least one of them that this work is rewarding, then the day was a success.”
I’ve been a Board member with Incompass for over a decade now, and I can’t recall a time in our history when I’ve been prouder of the work we do, and more excited for what’s to come. I know you’re used to hearing from our CEO Jean Phelps, so don’t tell her that I’m stealing her above-the-fold message this month!
First, I speak for every member of the Board when I say just how thrilled we are about the caliber of people working at Incompass Human Services. We are so fortunate to have such highly skilled and passionate Care Champions who are making a difference in the lives of the individuals and caregivers they support throughout Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence. It’s not an easy job – and the challenges over these past few years have been like nothing we’ve ever seen – but we value each one of you. The stories we hear in our Board meetings are an important reminder to us to never waver on our mission to empower the people we serve to live their best lives.
And while she isn’t the best at taking praise (show me a human services leader who is!), I can’t say enough about the visionary leadership that our CEO Jean Phelps brings to the table. Jean has spent her entire career in the human services field, dedicating her life to helping others. She is a sought-after expert around the country in nonprofit leadership and is now also serving as the president of the New England Human Services Collaborative.
I’d be remiss too if I didn’t recognize the outstanding leadership team that our CEO has assembled. There is an exceptional group of accomplished women and men with truly complementary skill sets who actively collaborate on key strategic initiatives that enable Incompass Human Services to thrive even in uncertain times. Look no further than our new COO Kelly Trickett, who was just nominated for an Outstanding Young Professionals award by the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.
We are just completing our very first post-merger strategic plan, a period where we opened new group homes, welcomed our acquired brain injury program participants, launched a new brand, and centralized all of our facility-based programs at Omni Way. I am eager to begin the next strategic planning process and continue growing our agency and expanding our reach, as the people we serve truly benefit from the impact we have on our community.
I hope you share my confidence in the agency, its leadership, and Care Champions who truly define Incompass Human Services. I look forward to working together to set ambitious goals and continue our path to becoming the premier provider of lifelong human services needs for people at all stages of their lives.
About the “Give-A-Click” Program: Every quarter, the Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s We Share A Common Thread Foundation donates $1,500 to a worthy area non-profit organization, through the “Give A Click” program. Vote for one of this quarter’s featured organizations, and the non-profit with the most votes will receive $1,500 from the Foundation.
Incompass Human Services is a finalist in JDCU’s “Give-A-Click” Program and we need your help to win! Visit the website below to vote for Incompass. It’s easy!
As always, we couldn’t do what we do without our amazing network of donors. Our Care Champion Fundraisers rose to the occasion, helping us raise $25,000! All money raised in our 2022 “Days of Giving” campaign will be used as financial support to members of the Incompass community and funding for our programs.