The Caring Force “Broadcast Your Love” contest inspired us to create an Incompass news broadcast. We’re proud to present the first episode of Incompass News That Cares! We asked folks from our CBDS program to work their art magic, and they blew us away. They created an original backdrop for our makeshift news studio and a unique microphone cover.
Our in-the-field reporters also knocked the assignment out of the park. Director of Day Services Emily Horn came to us live from the halls of our day habilitation program. She explained that “arts and crafts play a crucial role in enhancing [program participants] lives and self-expression.” The project of the week was summer mocktail stands.
We kicked it over to Program Manager Stephanie Reed and program participant John to discuss the Safe Minds Community Center. Brain injury services are a new addition to the Incompass program portfolio. John exclaims that his favorite part of coming to the community center is “the camaraderie and playing chess!” Though we wouldn’t suggest going up against him in chess – he’s a fierce opponent.
Watch the full video below and visit The Caring Force’s social media channels to vote for Incompass in the #BroadcastYourLove content!
We are thrilled that Care Champion and HR Recruiter Geri-Lyn Noble was recently featured in a career success story. After being laid off during the pandemic, Geri-Lyn decided that she wanted a change. MassHire Lowell Career Center stepped in to offer support. This success story demonstrates the benefits of utilizing community resources when job hunting. We are thankful to the career advisors at MassHire Lowell Career Center for making this wonderful connection. Check out the full story below!
August marks the end of the summer session for the DDS Urban Youth Collaborative Program. The 2023 Urban Youth Graduating Class included:
Rose Fuegue, Intern Peer Leader & Clinical
Miguel Camargo, Marketing
Annette Forchoh, HR & Day Program
Alice Obare, Strive2Thrive
Julia Sebilian, Safe Minds Community Center & CBDS
Gabrielle Victor, Strive2Thrive
Anna Yang, CBDS
Anna Wang, Safe Minds Community Center & CBDS
As always, it is an honor to welcome representatives of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to Omni Way for the annual graduation ceremony. DDS Commissioner Jane Ryder joined us along with her DDS colleagues:
Gerald Scott, Recruitment Manager
Tom Marshall, Area Director, Lowell Office
Beverly McGovern, Assistant Area Director, Lowell Office
Kelley Lawless, Regional Director, Northeast Region
This occasion was especially important because it marked the end of a new format for the UYCP, led by Community Recreation & Engagement Manager Brian Etheridge. This was the first summer where the program branched out of the day habilitation program, allowing students to also explore administrative departments at Incompass. In some cases, interns were able to split their time between two programs.
UYCP intern Julia Sebilian gave a heartwarming speech about her time in the program, the connections she made with fellow interns, and the impact individuals had on her. She was inspired by her observations while working in the Safe Minds Community Center, a new brain injury program offered at Incompass. Once she finishes graduate school, she hopes to get into program management in a human services setting. Hopefully with Incompass!!
The ceremony wrapped up with students presenting their legacy gift – a yearly tradition. Interns collaborated with participants in the day programs to create a beautiful art project. The marketing team nearly jumped out of their seats when they realized that it was a collage of art pieces forming the Incompass heart graphic. What a way to end the program! As always, we hope to welcome back these familiar faces next year, along with new ones. Thank you to everyone who continues to support the Urban Youth Collaborative Program. Learn more about the program here.
As we bask in the warmth (and humidity) of summer, I am delighted to share that at Incompass Human Services, the season has brought no respite in our mission to make a positive impact in the lives of those we serve.
Actually, that is not entirely accurate. You see, we achieved a significant milestone by opening our first respite group home, catering to medically complex individuals across the Northeast region. Presently, we have three individuals staying with us, and it warms my heart to witness the support and care they receive from our compassionate staff.
As we step into a new fiscal year, we find ourselves eagerly embracing a fresh strategic plan – our first as an affiliate of NEHSCO – that will undoubtedly propel us toward greater heights. I am excited to witness the incredible strides our dedicated team will take in the coming months, and I can honestly say that the culture of our agency has never been stronger!
As you read this, I’ll be in Las Vegas, where our COO Kelly Trickett and I are attending The Arc of the United States, National Council of Executives (NCE) Summer Leadership Initiative. This event is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate, learn, and grow with leaders from various Arc chapters across the nation, inspiring us to further our commitment to those we serve.
This summer edition of our Insights newsletter fills me with immense pride, as we continue to be a beacon of innovation and compassion. Let me share with you just a few of the updates that have really risen to the top over these past few months.
Incompass Human Services was delighted to celebrate the recognition of two outstanding members of our team. Our COO, Kelly Trickett, was honored as a Distinguished Young Professional by the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, a testament to her exceptional leadership and dedication. Furthermore, our residential manager, Claude Dossa, was honored as a workforce hero by The Arc of Massachusetts, reflecting the exceptional level of care he provides to our clients. Congratulations again to both Kelly and Claude!
Additionally, we’ve made considerable progress in refining our approach through collaboration. Our team of Care Champions recently came together to develop the yearly balanced scorecard, leveraging insights gained from our engagement with the esteemed London/Boston-based Clarasys Consultants. This collective effort ensures that we continuously grow our program portfolio and enhance the quality of services we provide while staying true to our founding mission and core values.
Our Chelmsford headquarters are also buzzing this summer with the arrival of our latest cohort of Urban Youth Scholars, who come from colleges including UMass Lowell, Yale, and Bowdoin College. Watching these students come together to work with our individuals is always a joy, and we’re fortunate that the Department of Developmental Services continues to support this vital workforce development program.
As we embark on this exciting journey, we are acutely aware of the immense responsibility we bear in enriching the lives of those who rely on our support. None of our accomplishments would have been possible without the unwavering dedication of our Care Champions, the trust and support of families and caregivers, and the resilience of the individuals we serve.
On behalf of the entire Incompass team, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for your continued support. Together, we will continue to create a positive impact and empower individuals to live fulfilling lives. Here’s to a summer filled with progress, growth, and compassion!
In the heart of Chelmsford, nestled on the grounds of Incompass Human Services, a garden flourishes. A garden that holds a special place for the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that we support. It’s a sanctuary, a place where these individuals find purpose and can develop a connection with nature. With the guidance of caring staff members, they are learning to cultivate the earth. The act of tending to the garden has become a therapeutic journey, fostering personal growth and a sense of achievement.
The mastermind behind it all is Activities Specialist Cathy Brunelle. If you ask her, though, she will tell you that the garden’s success is due to contributions from many staff and individuals across Incompass from our Community Based Day Services (CBDS) and TREE programs to administrative staff and community members.
Always thinking about new and innovative ways to engage Incompass day program participants, she drew her initial inspiration from a leisurely New England day trip.
“While visiting Cape Cod, I came across a day program that had a beautiful, sustainable garden. I wanted that for our guys back home. We can do that,” said Brunelle.
Each season begins with packets of seeds that are distributed in the day program halls – allowing each day habilitation room to contribute to the garden. As the months pass, you’ll find trellises filled with varieties of beans, beds of squash, sturdy stalks of onions, leafy carrot tops, and budding tomatoes.
A unique aspect of the program is that the harvested produce serves a dual purpose. Some find their way to the day program kitchen, where culinary skill-building activities turn fresh ingredients into delicious meals. Depending on the size of the harvest, produce can also be shared with the Incompass group homes that are spread across Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence.
Beyond the tangible rewards, the garden provides a safe space for personal growth. Amidst the vibrant blooms, communication skills blossom. The therapeutic power of nature works its magic, fostering patience, resilience, and empathy among the participants.
Ironically, it was during the COVID shutdown that the garden concept really took off. When Incompass shifted to virtual programs and services, Brunelle decided it was the perfect time to offer an online class on gardening. As interest in the topic grew, individuals and staff were encouraged to expand their knowledge of agriculture.
Beau, a day program participant, was thrilled to get his hands dirty in the garden, once he returned to in-person programming. He is pictured with his latest haul – carrots, and onions – and he takes so much pride in nurturing the growth of his vegetables!
And so, year after year, the therapeutic garden at Incompass Human Services continues to flourish, serving as a testament to the transformative power of nature and the unwavering spirit of those who tend it. And as Brunelle points out, it’s a perfect opportunity for members of the communities we serve to volunteer and be a part of a wonderful and collaborative activity!
Pictured above (L-R): Guest Nurse Naomi and Incompass Nurses Barbara, Vera, Kate, Assumpta, Zoe, Colleen, and Alicia.
Last week we celebrated National Nurses Week, and while the love for our nurses is vast, we realized that others might not know the extent and variety of their responsibilities at Incompass. To optimize the level of care they are providing, we have nurses designated to certain settings such as day habilitation, residential, and family & community services. Their daily responsibilities differ depending on the setting, but the goal remains the same; to promote person-centered health care that enables people with multifaceted needs to live life with optimal wellness, independence, and autonomy.
One step in achieving the abovementioned goal is equipping our new Care Champions with knowledge of common health-related concerns and safety measures. Pictured below is the Assistant Clinical Director of Nursing Services Alicia Mordach addressing attendees of a recent new employee orientation.
Topics discussed include:
seizure overview and safety measures
a guide to personal protective equipment (PPE)
These overviews, along with the “Just Not Right” training, where they discuss the different ways people may communicate illness or discomfort, are taught both annually and as needed.
The folks we serve are some of the most vulnerable in our community, which is why it’s imperative that our programs and services are being offered with health and safety protocols at the forefront. We couldn’t do what we do without our nurses, so we want to give our heartfelt thanks.