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!
With warm regards,
CEO, Incompass Human Services
In this episode, Shared Living Coordinator Kwasi Asamani answers some of the most commonly asked questions prospective providers have about their homes. He says you don’t have to own to be a provider, and you don’t need to be in a single-family home to be eligible either! Watch the episode below or click here.
To the Incompass community:
I hope you’re as pleased as I am to read this latest edition of Incompass Insights! The fact is that our agency continues to grow and innovate, as we just welcomed The Arc of Opportunity as the newest Incompass affiliate within the New England Human Services Collaborative. But one of the things I’m most proud of is – and always will be – our Care Champions! Just look at the number of people we’ve been able to promote to more senior positions internally just in these past few months, along with the recognition they’re receiving, and I think you’ll agree we have a special culture at Incompass!
There is one story that I want to call your attention to this month, and that is Incompass’ participation in the annual Northeast Human Services Legislative Breakfast. The event theme this year was “The Weight of Waiting” focusing on the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are (still) waiting to receive critical services and supports they need to thrive and the burden that wait has placed on their families, caregivers, and loved ones. While recruitment and retention efforts are having more effect the pace remains slow due to insufficient rates of reimbursement, high inflationary costs and the limited availability of staff and other resources. As the public health emergency due to the pandemic is now coming to a close, the challenge may be even greater to address longstanding unmet needs.
It is essential now that we take stock of the progress we have made and identify the areas where we need to focus our future efforts. At Incompass Human Services and across the New England Human Services Collaborative, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care and support to those we serve, but we cannot do it alone. We need your help through advocacy to ensure that our programs and services are fully funded, staffed, and equipped to meet the needs of all the people we serve.
The pandemic magnified the longstanding challenges facing the human services field, by accelerating the issues associated with recruitment for our workforce. Without systemic reforms this problem will only worsen with time as there are a record number of people who will be turning 22 and entering the system over the next few years. While we were enthused by Governor Healey’s initial budget proposal in February, it is imperative that we act now to address this issue and invest in the future of our field.
Therefore, I am calling on all of you to join us in advocating for the fiscal investment needed to hire the necessary staff to get our programs – and others across the Commonwealth – back to full capacity. We must work together to ensure that the voices of those we serve, and their families are heard and that they receive the care and support they need and deserve.
If you click here, you can instantly send an email to your legislators in support of the bills aimed at increasing capacity in these critical programs and ensuring everyone gets the support they deserve. As an affiliate chapter of The Arc of Massachusetts, Incompass encourages you to join us in our advocacy campaign!
In closing I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the elected and appointed officials who joined us at the “Weight of Waiting” legislative breakfast event. Your support is appreciated and valued and means more than you know. Let’s all continue to shine a light on the critical issues facing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families across the Commonwealth.
The “Weight of Waiting” video was part of the Northeast Advocacy Legislative Breakfast that Incompass hosted with a coalition of other human service agencies on March 31, 2023. These are but three stories of countless ones just like it across the state and even within Incompass.
- Peter Orrall and Lisa Tulipani Orrall – Northeast Arc
- Judith Montes de Oca – NFI Massachusetts, Inc.
- Donald Duggan Jr., and Diana Slaney-Duggan – NFI Massachusetts, Inc.