*The Parker Street Transition Webpage can be found here. We are committed to keeping all of our Care Champions, individuals, families, and caregivers engaged and informed in the coming weeks and months, and this page will be regularly updated to include the latest information.*
In a year marked by change, we’ve had to make many difficult decisions that are in the best interest of Incompass Human Services and the people we serve. I’m writing to inform you that on June 17 we signed an agreement to sell the Parker Street building. The sale will be finalized in October, and we are now focused on providing our families and our staff time to work with us on a transition plan.
While I know this may come as a surprise to many of you, first let me assure you that Incompass isn’t going anywhere. The truth of the matter is that we aren’t making money on the sale – in fact, we’re losing money – but it’s become very clear that it’s time to move on from the Parker Street building. The facility is costing us money every day, even at full capacity, and is just not meeting our programmatic needs.
I know you will all have many questions, and I promise to provide more information in the coming weeks and months. The majority of day programs will transition to Omni Way on October 1, according to the terms of the sale, but Incompass will continue to occupy a small footprint at Parker Street until April 30 to house the TREE program.
We will work with each of you who are currently enrolled in programs at Parker Street and are impacted by the closure of the building on their best options moving forward, and our case coordinators began reaching out last week.
As capacity restrictions allow, we will transition individuals currently enrolled in Day Hab at Parker Street to our Omni Way facility in Chelmsford.
The CBDS program will remain active in the Greater Lawrence community, but will transition to the Omni Way facility.
The AFC program will remain a community-based program in Greater Lawrence but operationally will shift to Omni Way.
We are actively searching for a new space to lease that will house the TREE program after April 30.
Remember, our focus is – and always will be – on the people we serve, and this decision is rooted in ensuring we’re able to deliver on that mission. I know a lot of you have been connected to the Parker Street building for many years and are saddened by this news. I assure you that we remain committed to offering a full and robust day service program portfolio, with over 300 people eventually being served in the Omni Way and TREE programs. And we will continue to have a service footprint in the Greater Lawrence community.
It’s been a difficult year, and like many provider agencies, we’ve faced some obstacles. We may have a challenging year ahead of us, but there is still much to be optimistic about at Incompass Human Services. The great thing about this community is that we’re about so much more than bricks and mortar; we are about people. And that will never change.
If you have questions about the transition, please let us know as we’ll make every effort to address them over these next few months. Thank you again for entrusting us in providing the care and supports your loved ones deserve – it’s what defines us as an agency.
Welcome to our new newsletter: Incompass Insights! I’m excited to debut this new vehicle and share all of the wonderful stories happening within our Care Champion community with all of you!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost eight months since we unveiled our new brand in a small outdoor celebration at Omni Way. In fact, that’s the only gathering we’ve had since the start of the pandemic, as ordinarily this time of year we’d be sharing pictures of our Kentucky Derby Fundraiser or our Family Support Center Picnic. But seeing the gardening that our day program participants are enjoying and the vaccination rates in our state climbing, I have a great feeling about the summer!
In the meantime, Incompass Insights is a great way to keep you informed and engaged with everything happening at our dynamic agency. The stories we are sharing are just the tip of the iceberg, as our staff continue to amaze me with their creativity and passion. Remember, this is the team that used pool noodles as social distancing markers in the early days of the pandemic!
I’ve said this many times, but I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible group of people who go above and beyond every day for the people they serve. In fact, just last month we joined other human services agencies to produce a PSA airing on 92.5FM acknowledging the incredible work that human services workers are doing in communities across the Commonwealth. You may have heard it, but if not you can listen to it here.
Each week at Incompass, our staff nominates a Care Champion and a program initiative to share with the entire team, and each week I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Let me share an example with you that I received the other week, where we shared a story about Francis Osei-Bonsu, a group home manager.
Francis oversees two of our group homes and after a long day at work this week, he took time to visit a resident who, sadly, is in the hospital and struggling to stay healthy right now. His compassion and concern for this person were palpable in the update he sent the team after spending time with her and letting her know that she isn’t alone. Thank you for showing us what this work is all about Francis.
These stories are authentic to Incompass, and such a powerful reminder of the impact our team has on the lives of the people in our network. I hope you’ll share the stories we’ve curated for you, our community of supporters, and continue to champion our Care Champions.
There are so many ways you can support Incompass, but as we approach the end of our fiscal year, if you’re able to make a gift I would be grateful. Financial support from our community is more important than ever to ensure we continue to open doors for the people we serve. You can make a gift online today.
The Chairman of the COVID task force, Al Frugoli, sent the message below to Incompass staff last week on January 28, 2021.
Dear Care Champions:
The numbers are in! We were able to vaccinate 177 staff and individuals this week during our vaccination clinics with Long Term Pharmacy Solutions (LTPS)! Woohoo!!! We are so grateful that so many of you were able to receive the first dose of the vaccine this week, and we will be in touch with details for the February booster shot clinics in the coming weeks.
In this week’s task force update, we’re sharing a recap of our first Incompass vaccine clinics, important resources on the statewide vaccination process, and updates on our own COVID protocols.
The Vaccine Clinic:
The LTPS team has conducted a number of these clinics, and remarked on how impressed they were with our team! The clinical tandem of Alicia Mordach and Chris Snell specifically want to recognize a few members of the team who went above and beyond to ensure we had a smooth process:
The consensus among Care Champions was some sore arms the next day for sure, but no major side-effects from the shot. Our group home residents were fortunate that our highly-skilled residential nursing team was in the observation room keeping an eye on them after their shot and monitoring them this week:
For those who couldn’t attend and wish to be vaccinated, all individual-facing Incompass staff are now eligible to receive the vaccine under the latest Phase 1 guidelines. While we’re actively working with LTPS to procure more doses for another clinic, at this time we don’t know when – or if – we’ll be able to hold another one. The state has opened numerous vaccine clinics where eligible members of the population can sign up to be vaccinated. While not every clinic requires it, if you need proof of employment, you can reach out to human resources.
You can view a list of vaccine clinic locations here, and download the self-attestation form for eligibility here. I recommend you pay close attention to the criteria at each individual site, as some are restricted to residents of a town/city or are only serving senior citizens. Nearly all of them require an appointment to be made in advance through the listed website as well; they aren’t accepting walk-ins. The Governor announced this week that he anticipates having 165 clinics statewide by the end of next month, so check back regularly as more sites in our area hopefully come online.
COVID Safety Protocols, Testing, and Updates:
Remember, while this is an important step forward, everyone who has received the vaccine must continue to follow all of the COVID protocols at Incompass. The vaccine does not prevent the spread of coronavirus, so wearing a mask, socially distancing, reporting symptoms, etc. is critical to protect not only yourself but those around you. (And remember that KN95 masks must be worn at all times in program areas.) We’ll continue to do this #ForEachOther, as the health and safety of all of you and the people you support remains our top priority.
On that note, day programs in our Parker Street facility were suspended yesterday for 14 days after we got word of a positive staff test on Monday. The staff member is asymptomatic but had reported interactions with each of our three Parker cohorts in the days prior to the positive test. We are following our own protocols around exposure – meaning that each of the cohorts and respective DSPs are undergoing testing and need to isolate until February 8 to prevent an outbreak. The day program facilities will also undergo a deep cleaning during this period. We are working on engaging with our participants virtually over the next two weeks to help with the transition, and look forward to welcoming them back!
These are difficult decisions, but taking the necessary precautions is our best defense against an outbreak. And your continued cooperation and vigilance is absolutely a key reason for our success.
That’s all for this week! Keep getting tested. Keep being vigilant. Keep self-reporting. And keep being hopeful. While Chelmsford and Lawrence remain in the “high-risk” designation, the statewide positivity rate dropped below 5.0% last week for the first time since November, and we’re hopeful that’s a sign of things to come. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that we will gather again someday and it will be something to celebrate!
As I sit here this afternoon, I am still shocked by what I watched transpire at the United States Capitol yesterday. We all sat helplessly in witness to a violent assault on our democracy; one that aimed to thwart the most sacred of constitutional duties: the peaceful transition of power.
As the world’s attention descended on Washington, D.C., many of us felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety. We felt the same disbelief, sadness, and anger. And I’m sure you all were asking what seemed like impossible questions to answer, like how did it get to his point?
I’m not here to provide answers; only to share my perspective. I firmly believe that the values we share as a country are much greater than the political ideals that divide us. And nobody embodies those values more than all of you.
Our diverse community – and all of you who comprise it – gives me hope. Every day, people from all backgrounds come together with a common focus: to empower the most vulnerable members of our population to live happy and fulfilling lives. Your open hearts and commitment to others make our region a better place. And as a Care Champion, you exemplify the values that bring out the best in all of us. And for that, I am grateful.
Just know that it’s okay to feel anxious today. But never forget the positive impact you have on the lives of so many people around us. It’s what motivates me every day.
Funds raised were donated directly to Greater Lowell families in the Incompass Family Support Center who were identified as high-need this holiday season.
CHELMSFORD, MASSACHUSETTS— Incompass Human Services™ (formerly LifeLinks CLASS), a not-for-profit organization that delivers enriching supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence, has raised nearly $20,000 through the “Adopt-a-Family” year-end fundraising campaign in support of families in need.
” Adopt-a-Family” was launched to provide targeted financial relief to high-need families who receive support from the Incompass Family Support Center. Hardships caused by the pandemic presented new challenges for households who are already caring for loved ones with medically complex conditions. Some family members lost their jobs, while others are simply unable to work due to schools and day programs shifting to virtual environments.
Incompass Human Services put out a call-to-action to its supporters in Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence, and the community quickly rose to the occasion. Three of the largest contributions came from long-time supporters of the organization…
Gregg Bonheur, Senior Vice President of The Bonheur Scott Traino Group at Morgan Stanley and former member of the Incompass Human Services board of directors, donated $5,000.
Wallwork Curry McKenna, an integrated marketing firm led by Alison Costello, and Decibel Media, a media planning and buying firm founded by Tim Davies, donated a combined $3,000 after working with the agency to launch the new Incompass Human Services brand.
The Durkin Foundation, a Billerica-based charitable foundation led by Executive Director Matthew Durkin that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as U.S. veterans, and those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, donated $2,500.
The campaign’s initial goal was surpassed last week, and all of the money raised going directly to selected families in the Incompass Family Support Center who were overjoyed with the news!
“To wrap up the year with such support from our local community partners, vendors, and from Care Champions within our agency really just leaves me speechless,” says Kelly Trickett, Director of Family and Community Services at Incompass Human Services. “The impact that this has had on our families could never truly be measured and we are beyond grateful for each and every donation that has been received.”
“We faced every obstacle you could imagine this year, and we faced it head-on as a team,” added Jean Phelps, Chief Executive Officer at Incompass Human Services. “But the fact is that we rely on the generosity of the community to provide the critical services and supports that families in our network so desperately need, and the overwhelming response to the “Adopt-a-Family” initiative truly warms my heart.”
“The end of 2019 is upon us… but the truth of the matter is, I’m far too excited about the year ahead for LifeLinks CLASS to look back!” –Jean Phelps, December 16, 2019
Dear Incompass Family:
Yep, that quote was me one year ago! Actually, last year I was writing my annual message to all of you from England, where I spent the holidays with my new grandson! And that was on the heels of another fun Annual Holiday Party at Lenzi’s! So yeah, safe to say my quote about 2020 hasn’t aged well, to say the least (including the LifeLinks CLASS reference)!
So I thought I should take the opposite approach this year in my holiday message to you. I know it was a challenging year, but I’m going to look back. Because despite the hardships, we have a lot to be proud of.
First and foremost, my heart goes out to anyone who’s been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who have lost loved ones. And to our Care Champions who continue to work on the front lines at the height of the pandemic to provide care and support to the people we serve: thank you. You are not only essential, but you are an inspiration to so many at Incompass and beyond!
I think at some point down the line, when people ask me the theme of 2020, I’m going to say “overcoming.” We faced every obstacle you could imagine this year. And we faced it head-on…as a team. And our community is better for it.
But let’s not forget…we managed to take several steps forward along the way. I mean, look at this list!
and most importantly, we all worked together with our COVID-19 task force to keep all of our individuals and staff safe and healthy!
Now, did we have some setbacks? You bet. But you know what? The way we rose to the challenge this year and dusted ourselves off every time we were knocked down, tells me something about Incompass Care Champions.
We are resilient. We are dedicated. And we are stronger together.
I want you all to enjoy the holiday season. I know it will be different this year, but memories will still be made. So be safe, be happy, and be smart. And get ready for the year ahead. The vaccines are coming. And we will be able to be together again…I promise.
Happy New Year!