center insider - The Center for Family Support

center insider - The Center for Family

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CENTER INSIDER Summer/Fall 2012 We Care...We Listen...We Help Self-Starters Win Advocate Group of the Year On June 1, 2012 the SANYS (Self-Advocates New York State) held their annual conference at 75 Morton Street. The event brought together advocates from all over the State, who wanted to share information; learn about the changes to Medicaid and the new waiver policies. Prior to this event the group’s advisor, Ms. Nadine Daley, had submitted nominations to SANYS. These nominations detailed how Ms. Oatman, had made it her mission to attend all of the SANYS meetings and bring back to the group all the new developments from the State. In addition, Ms. Oatman was a dedicated treasurer who kept meticulous financial records for the Self-Starters. The Nominations written for the group detailed how the SelfStarters had come together over the last year; how the group had learned to advocate for themselves and each other as they grew and became more cohesive. The nomination also detailed that the Self-Starters had not only committed to advocating for those receiving services through CFS. The group was an active member in contributing to the community and joining other groups in advocating for equality in disability services. There were numerous nominations submitted from various agencies across the State. The Center for Family Support self–advocates (Self-Starters) attended this event with the goal of being able to inform their peers of upcoming events. At this event the group Self-Starters learned that Kasheena Oatman, the group’s treasurer had won Self-Advocate Of The Year. In addition, the group Self-Starters won Self-Advocate Group Of The Year.

Steven Vernikoff sits on panel with Commissioner Burke of NYS OPWDD In August, Steven Vernikoff, CFS Executive Director participated on a panel with New York State Office For People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Commissioner Burke in Baltimore, Maryland. This was part of the Reinventing Quality Conference to discuss the People First Waiver for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Letter from CFS Executive Director, Steven Vernikoff New York State is embarking on an ambitious plan to redesign the system that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. Called the People First Waiver, it is an attempt to give individuals more flexibility and greater control over the services they need and want. The goals of the waiver are admirable. People should be able to choose the supports they want and need rather than being put into a vacant slot in some program. Individuals should be able to self-direct their services and supports and be helped to do so. Person centered thinking should be at the heart of what we do. The waiver also seeks to improve the lives of people through Care Coordination. Rather than services being provided in program silos which do not communicate with other providers, care coordination will ensure that all services are connected to each other for the person’s benefit. Unfortunately, these lofty goals are being talked about in an atmosphere where the State is cutting funding and acknowledging that there is not enough money to provide today’s level of services and supports to all the individuals eligible for them. The State believes the changes they are advocating for will make the system sustainable and better meet individual needs. During this transition we must all be vigilant to ensure that those are in fact the outcomes of this system transformation. We here at CFS will keep you informed on developments as they occur.

Residential Picnics Throughout the summer, our Residential Department held several picnics for those individuals residing in our group homes and apartments. Great food, fun, entertainment, as well as many activities were enjoyed by all who attended.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT Scott Briones is a 21 year old male who resides in Merrick, NY. Scott receives both Medicaid Service Coordination and Community Habilitation Services through CFS. Scott enjoys listening to music, socializing with his friends, and playing various sports. He has a great sense of humor and can light up any room with laughter. Scott is extremely athletic and has had many accomplishments in sports over the years. Scott has recently graduated from Calhoun High School where he was able to achieve many of his goals. Scott is currently employed at Home Depot and is identified as a diligent worker. CFS is very proud and happy to acknowledge one of Scott’s most recent accomplishments. On June 1, 2012, Scott was presented with the LIASEA Conrad Hecht Memorial Award. He was the only student selected from Nassau County to receive such an award. Scott was recognized for his social, emotional, and academic strides during his time at Calhoun High School. CFS would also like to commend Scott on this success. His hard work, dedication and “nevergive-up” attitude are an inspiration to us all! Congratulations to Scott Briones!”

EVENTS Golf Outing 2012 On May 22, 2012, CFS held its 12th Annual Golf Outing at the Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, NJ. Eighty-six golfers attended the outing and enjoyed a lavish brunch, fun day on the course, cocktails, dinner, awards and raffles. The event raised nearly $60,000.


HAPPENINGS Direct Support Recognition Luncheons & Awards CFS honored direct support staff throughout the week of September 10th for their ongoing dedication and hard work on behalf of the individuals we provide services to. Luncheons were held at Paramus NJ; Bronx; Manhattan; Long Island; and Staten Island locations.

Advocacy Picnic On September 13, 2012, the Self-Starters celebrated their one year anniversary with a great celebration at Valley Stream State Park in Valley Stream, NY. Self-Starters was born out of the Person Centered Thinking philosophy. Over the last year they participated in several community events. Jamie Mayo, President of the Self-Starters welcomed guests and speakers Mandy Shenkman and Veronica Johnson talked about their roles with the Self-Starters. Dunn Development Corporation, which has been instrumental in supporting CFS fulfill its mission to help people with disabilities find a place to call home was honored, as was Timothy Elliot, a disabled veteran who works as the Self-Determination Project Specialist for the Self-Advocacy Association. Self-Starters and other selfadvocates, along with staff and guests, enjoyed pizza, beverages and dessert and danced to a DJ after the ceremony. CFS staff members Erica Robinson and Nadine Daley were presented with flowers in appreciation for their work on behalf of the group.

NYSACRA Conference In April 2012, the Center for Family Support traveled to the annual NYSACRA event. This year was especially significant; we not only learned and shared information with other organizations, we also were there to support the artwork of three service recipients: Glen Russ, Kamilla Baginska and Jamison Mayo. These very talented artists submitted some of their most prized pieces to the annual NYSACRA art exhibit. At the event Kamilla and Jamison talked about the inspiration for the pieces they created and what motivates them to continue to be creative. Kamilla spoke about how usually she is very shy, but her art allows her to express herself. Jamison spoke about how being an artist, being employed and being the President of the CFS Self-Advocacy group makes him feel as though he has a well-rounded life. Glen was unable to attend, but his work spoke volumes about his creative ability. 4

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Invites CFS On July 12, 2012, Dunn Development (builders of our Liberty Avenue apartments and other sites) was honored with an award from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber invited CFS to the event. During the festivities, Julio Colon, who resides at the Liberty Avenue apartments and receives services through CFS, was featured as a guest during the presentation and was brought to the podium alongside Martin Dunn.

Direct Support Staff Conference On June 30, 2012, CFS held its first annual Direct Support Professional Conference. The event was designed to celebrate the hard work and commitment of many of our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These DSPs were selected from their peer groups as those who consistently demonstrated their willingness to go above and beyond to provide support to service recipients in assisting them to live the lives that they want. The conference was held at Pace University. Our speakers were Diana Vega and Ginny Focht-New. They were chosen from several well known experts in the field. The theme was Life and Work in Balance. Ginny Focht-New has worked in the field of intellectual/ developmental disabilities for almost 40 years beginning as a direct care staff in a developmental center in Pennsylvania. Ginny is a therapist, now primarily meeting with individuals with ID/DD (Intellectual and Development Disabilities) and focusing on traumatic experiences of this population using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitation and Reprocessing). In 1998, she received the Lillian Brunner Sholtis award from the University of Pennsylvania's Nursing Alumni Association for innovative practice. Diana P. Vega started her career 25 years ago as a Direct Care Counselor and within a short period of time, gained valuable experience as an Assistant Manager, Residence Manager and Director of Individualized Services. Diana is a sought-out speaker/trainer who has presented at various conferences in the areas of Leadership, Cultural Competence, Conflict Resolution and Budgeting Strategies for Supervisors and their Employees. The event was greatly received and the feedback from staff received was very positive. 5

CONTACT US: The Center for Family Support 333 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor New York, NY 10001 Phone: 212.629.7939 Fax: 212.239.2211/12 Visit us at NEWSLETTER DESIGN: Carmen Alvarez Development Office

CONTRIBUTORS: Mary Abatiello Lorraine Browne Nadine Daley Barbara Greenwald Debra Powers, MSC Steven Vernikoff

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Lloyd Stabiner, President Amy Bittinger, Vice President Perry Rotella, Secretary Patricia McMillan, Treasurer Jeffrey Benedict Ralph Bumbaca Elise Geltzer, Esq. Norman Greene, Esq. Tanya Herriott José Martin Jara Charles Ruggiero, Esq.

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