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!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we launched the Incompass brand to much fanfare! While I love our new logo, what I truly appreciated was the deliberative process behind the creation of the brand. And as I sit here today reading through some of that foundational work, I’m trying to contain my excitement for the path our agency is carving out in the human services space.
Let’s start with our brand position:
“Innovating to help the most vulnerable thrive.”
We live this statement every day, and it’s this aspect of our culture that has helped us and the people we serve to stay connected throughout the pandemic. But beyond adapting to the external environment, it’s become a core focus at Incompass – at all levels of the agency.
More important is how we define innovation at Incompass. Innovation isn’t merely defined by technology; it’s defined by new ideas and initiatives that advance our mission to empower individuals in need of human services to experience full lives. We’re bringing on new programs, adding new supports, launching new technology, and creating new ways to help the people we serve thrive.
Let me share just a few examples of innovation in action at Incompass:
ABI Supports and Group Home: As part of our strategic plan, we have launched programs to support people with acquired brain injuries. Working with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), we completed construction on a new fully accessible group home in Tyngsborough designed specifically for the ABI population and moved in five residents. We were also just selected by the MRC to expand our ABI portfolio to provide a range of facility-based and community support services, as well as transitional assistance to those seeking to live more independently. In the coming years, we anticipate helping a number of individuals with ABI in the Northeast Region to secure affordable apartments along with meaningful day or employments supports.
Adaptive Technology: We have created an ad-hoc technology committee, chaired by board member and senior engineer at iRobot Jon Seward, that has just launched an industry-first adaptive technology initiative. Cloud-based sleep tracking devices have been installed in a select number of group homes that will for the first time provide sleep health metrics to our clinical team. With this data, Incompass nurses will be able to identify sleep disorders and other factors leading to sleep loss that can adversely impact the health and well-being of the people we serve.
Virtual Programming: While we don’t know if the state will continue to support virtual programming in 2022, one thing is clear that our virtual program portfolio is here to stay! Our clinical specialists have embraced this platform to not only keep people engaged who are not able to attend a facility-based program but to supplement the activities that are core to our day programs.
Autism Coaching: On the heels of our award-winning Strive2Thrive program for people with autism without an intellectual disability, DDS awarded Incompass a contract to expand our portfolio for people with autism. For the first time, our team is now offering life coaching and college navigation services to the people with autism in our programs. We’ve hired a highly-qualified Care Champion to oversee this program, who himself is an alumnus of the Urban Youth Scholars program.
These are just a few of the examples of innovation that keep driving our agency, and there are countless more I could share. Our Care Champions are as creative as they come when it comes to evolving our service model, and it’s one of the many reasons why our funders continue to choose Incompass Human Services to offer new and vital services to the community.
I wish you all a safe and healthy fall season, filled with pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider donuts!
*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.
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.
From my family to yours, I want to wish the entire Incompass Human Services community a happy Thanksgiving. This year has been a challenging one, but I thought this particular holiday was a good opportunity to look back at one of my favorite days of 2020: our Care Champions Caravan. On this day in May, dozens of staff drove to each and every one of our group homes to express appreciation to the Care Champions who are working so hard to keep our community safe.
For all of the Care Champions, thank you so much for all that you do. The executive leadership team will be handing out some small tokens of our appreciation to each of you in the next few weeks. We are eternally grateful for the dedication you have to every individual, family member, and caregiver we support.