On May 23rd, we had our regularly scheduled in service day with all of our employees.
We focused our entire afternoon on how we as an entire agency can ensure that those we work with have the same access and opportunities as anyone else living here in Vermont; and how we do that through the lens of our mission statement:
Empower our Neighbors with Disabilities to be at Home in the Community.
Ultimately, it comes down to providing significant support to our Direct Support Professionals and Shared Living Providers.
We invited two guest speakers: Roy Gerstenberger, the CEO of First Person Services and John Raffaele, the Director of Educational Services at the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals.
With the assistance of our very own Brenda Donley (Person-Centered Thinking Trainer extraordinaire) , we split up into 3 separate groups and discussed why is it important for GMSS to support people in connecting and building relationships with others in the community.
After the three groups met and brainstormed for 90 minutes, we got back together in a large group and combined our ideas in a 4 + 1 model.
We talked about:
- 1. What we are concerned about
- 2. What we are pleased about
- 3. What we learned
- 4. What we tried.
We came up with a list of next steps that the agency can do to best support our DSPs.
Some of the highlights are:
· Providing flexible community access for the people we support (i.e. community supports in the late afternoon and evening hours).
- · Benchmarks in the individualized service agreements (ISA) that celebrate progress.
- · Ensure that our DSPs and Shared Living Providers are a part of the ISA process.
- · Ensure that our DSPs are part of every home visit.
- · Ensure that our Shared Living Providers have better access to share each other’s experiences.