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CHS News

Recognition of Quality Care

Cooperative for Human Services Inc.’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program has quickly been established as an example of our leadership and commitment to responsive care. Each of our programs is specifically   designed and developed to meet the unique needs of the individuals in the home.

Across our organization success can be credited to the strong relationships we have developed with our various stakeholders (individuals served, family members and guardians, our Board of Directors and       business partners, our Management Team and those who fund us). We encourage input and participation from every stakeholder segment in our planning, support, delivery and evaluation of services. We know that input from each one is critical to our continuing mission.

The varying and complex health needs of those in our care sometimes require visits from the local Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). Having the opportunity to spend time with people in their homes, allows the nurses’ unique perspective into what each person’s life is like. We recently receive this letter from a nurse visiting a patient who lives at our ABI program:

“I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge your wonderful staff! I have been there at all different times, and am always greeted promptly and politely at the door, and given a thorough report. My patient is always wheeled to her room for me, and I am offered supplies and assistance. I can tell your staff really knows and cares about the residents. Every inch of the home is spotless, and so well organized. The staff have been so helpful to me, and always give me accurate information and are receptive to any suggestions. Friday when I called, one of the staff was so helpful by offering to hold lunch until I did my visit. Because it is such a distance, the consideration and accommodating of my schedule means a lot. This is the best home I have been to. I look forward to my visits. You have to be doing something right to have such fabulous people working so well to make a difference in the lives of the residents. There is so much respect, dignity, and compassion. Keep up the good work!”

This letter reminds us of just how lucky we are to have such dedicated, hardworking staff, giving tremendous amounts of effort every day, to be supportive and to make the lives of the people we care for more comfortable and meaningful. We are grateful for the hard work of our staff and appreciate the input of our community business partners.

Carolyn’s Work with Skill Corps in Kenya

In our last edition of Connecting Concepts Carolyn Mueller shared with us her hopes for her trip to Kenya. In this edition Carolyn tells us about her work at the Kaizora Institute:

The main focus of our visit to the school in Nairobi was to implement Direct Instruction (DI) throughout the school. DI is a skill the students need to transition into mainstream/inclusion schools. The idea was to teach peer awareness and group work. We began by observing classroom interactions between peer groups. I was amazed to see how knowledgeable the teachers were in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and how dedicated they are to their students. It was truly inspiring. The school operated beautifully and just needed support utilizing group work. The Kaizora consultants had some knowledge of how DI works, but were unable to use it successfully in the classroom.

After a day of observing, our team developed atraining on DI. We reviewed the main concepts, why it is important, focusing on choral responses and the use of scripted lessons. Our training involved questions to     encourage staff to discuss how they currently run group work and compare it to the DI concepts.

The next day I gave a presentation on developing scripts. We based scripts on research but found the scripts very wordy. It became evident that the scripts would not work across the school. The scripts only seemed to be successful in the advanced classroom.

Upon further research we found that minimal research has been conducted on DI in special needs classrooms. We decided to share resources and develop a DI curriculum that would be successful for this school. We used role playing activities and socratic questioning to specify the scripts to the needs of the students and school.

Our script was sustainable across the entire school. Once the teachers became fluent in the scripts the students began choral responding, working together, and turn taking. The student’s peer awareness increased tremendously!

Working together, Kaizora and Skill Corps staff found a way for students and teachers to maintain the skills taught long after we fly away. It was extremely exciting to see how quickly the teachers learned how to implement DI successfully.

Through this opportunity, I learned the importance of sustainability. It was amazing to be a part of work that hasn’t been done before.

Improving life for those we serve while protecting wildlife

In March of 2017 National Wildlife Federation (NWF) recognized and celebrated the efforts of Cooperative for Human Services Inc. at the Farm in creating a garden space that improves habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young. This certification also makes the Farm a Certified Wildlife Habitat® and part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.

CHS’s Wildlife Habitat at the Farm is an effort to increase the wildlife diversity in our backyard and create an environment where people can explore the outdoors and be in touch with nature. Through conscientious design we have created gardens and outdoor seating areas that are visually appealing and at the same time provide habitat for wildlife. These things have been accomplished by working with the existing landscape features.

The Farm pond provides food, water and shelter for local wildlife, which we take into consideration as we maintain the area. We have chosen to leave a grassy border untouched along the edge of the pond, allowing that piece to remain natural giving animals shelter as they make their way to the pond. We are also attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to our vegetable and flower gardens by adding a variety of native plants.

The NWF is America’s largest conservation and education organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife. The Garden for Wildlife program encourages planting with native species, discourages the use of chemical pesticide and recognizes efforts to provide habitat for wildlife, including pollinators. David Mizejewski, NWF Naturalist says, “Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an apartment balcony, a ten-acre farm, a schoolyard, a business park, or anything in         between, everyone can create a home for local wildlife. Turning your space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat is fun, easy and makes a big difference for neighborhood wildlife,” he added.

For more information on gardening for wildlife and details on how you or your an entire community can become certified, visit www.nwf.org/habitiat or call 1-800-822-9919

Expanding Opportunity for Participation and Belonging

Cooperative for Human Services Inc. operates under the deeply held belief that all people have dignity and value. We work to ensure each person we support, in any of our programs, is given the fullest opportunity for social inclusion and is encouraged to make independent choices.

Learning each individual’s story, their likes and their dislikes, is crucial in designing services unique to the needs of that particular person. Understanding that person’s story enables us to develop an individualized plan that allows for the continuation of activities while expanding interests.

The opening of our ABI program and acquisition of our Dartmouth Street Hall and the Farm, have each provided unique and unexpected benefits. Each location is providing greater opportunities for the people we serve than we first envisioned. We find that we are able to do much more for the individuals we support than we had hoped.

An incredible amount of effort has gone into making Dartmouth Street Hall a place where everyone feels welcome. The Hall is large enough to include each individual, regardless of the intensity of supports needed.

The fully accessible design of our ABI program makes socializing and group activities more open, enabling us to offer a greater variety of programming.

Our work to revitalize the Farm is endless but, helping to care for the animals, or in the gardens, taking a hike on the trails or just sitting in the open space of the Farm offers those we serve a sense of calm and of belonging.

The design and development of person specific services, our caring, supportive staff and the CHS belief in inclusion for all individuals, encourages them to become more inspired and explore new opportunities while remaining connected to the things they enjoy.

CHS Receives Outstanding Survey and Certification Report

CHS Receives Outstanding Survey and Certification Report

CHS is proud to announce that it recently received a 2 year License and Certification from the MA Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Office of Quality Enhancement. This award reflects the highest level of certification awarded; the report also included many notable commendations for exceptionally outstanding achievements. CHS met 99% of all licensing indicators and 100% of all certification indicators.

All providers who serve individuals funded by DDS are required to meet State Licensing and Certification regulations that assure health, safety, human rights and quality services standards are met. From February 27 to March 1, 2012, a team of 4 professionals from the MA Department of Developmental Services led by Steve Goldberg conducted a thorough review of CHS’s Residential, Individual Support and Guardianship programs.

The process began with a presentation made by the CHS Executive Director, Kevin Leahy and the Senior Management Team. The survey team then proceeded with reviewing records and reports; visiting residences and sites; and interviewing individuals served, staff and managers. On the last day, the DDS Survey Team presented an oral feedback report to our Senior Management Team.

The team released the final report in March, 2012. In addition to the high scores on each licensing and certification standard reviewed, the report noted many outstanding achievements on behalf of individuals served. For example, the team was especially impressed with the opening of our new Individual Support Program offices and drop in center in Malden. The Survey Team also commended CHS for its focus on addressing the changing needs of individuals in our 24 hour residential programs as they age, including completion of major renovations at several of our residences to construct barrier free home environments.

Another area of note sited in the report was CHS’s outstanding software technology specifically designed to track all data and organizational systems. The survey report noted that this technology “provides a linkage between knowledge, data collection, analysis, action, and outcome areas….providing a positive direct impact on supporting the individuals served, the staff, and managers.”

CHS also received very high marks for continuing to create positive community connections that allow individuals to be involved in “many very meaningful projects” ranging from “charitable causes to building stronger social networks.” The report further commended CHS staff “for the ways in which they value the individuals they serve,” noting that staff were consistently enthusiastic, professional and caring in their interactions with individuals served and that staff often refer to the agency’s philosophy of “A Passion for What’s Possible.”

The Survey Team observed many other strengths and positive practices at CHS, including:

  • Human resource capabilities, particularly strong employee retention, a policy of promotion from within the organization and outstanding staff training services;
  • Practices related to the collection and utilization of feedback from all stakeholders to improve services; and
  • Creative events designed to build strong bonds among individuals, family members and staff.

Many thanks are extended to everyone involved in the Survey and Certification process — your efforts on behalf of CHS are sincerely appreciated.

Roger’s Round-Ups: Good Food, Great Company & Lots of Fun

Roger’s Round-Ups: Good Food, Great Company & Lots of Fun

What would summer be without a great backyard barbeque with friends and family? Cooperative for Human Services’ Director of Residential Services, Roger Plourde, started a great tradition at CHS called “Roger’s Round-Up’s,” a series of summer cookout events for our individuals and their family members.

Round-ups are typically held at 5 or 6 of CHS residences that have large backyard areas. Each year over 250 individuals we serve, their friends and family members attend. Each barbeque includes great food— hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, veggie-burgers, and corn on the cob, all grilled to perfection by Roger, of course.

Healthy salads, fruit assortments, home-made desserts and plenty of refreshments for those warm summer nights round out Roger’s menu!

Conversation, games and other outdoor activities entertain all. Everyone has a great time! See for yourself.

 

A Message from Kevin J. Leahy, Executive Director

A Message from Kevin J. Leahy, Executive Director

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Cooperative for Human Services through our website. This is one good way to become familiar with our organization. I encourage you to learn more and make personal contact with me or any member of our management or clinical team. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you, to meet or arrange for a tour of our program locations.

Those we serve, our board and our staff have accomplished a great deal since we were founded by a true visionary and effective advocate, Charles (Chuck) Howard. Chuck’s values were centered on the individual, promoting self worth and dignity; while creating opportunity for achievement. These ideals serve as the cornerstone of our organization today.

The responsiveness and vitality of our services has been advanced by our passion for what’s possible. We strive to bring meaning and actualize these words through our deep and abiding commitment to those we serve. Working with families, friends and other professionals we find creative and effective ways to assist each individual to live life to the fullest. “We keep at it”— doing all we can in order to continually improve; learning through our experiences while building on our achievements.

In order to be sustained all these efforts require a progressive community organization. This is made possible through devotion to mission, keeping clear and abiding principles and, following sound practices. Through good communication, learning and then thoughtful planning our organization is relevant and strong today and is ready to succeed in the future.

It is sincerely my good fortune to serve the people of the Cooperative for Human Services. I work with great people. Together we will continue to meet our responsibilities and all the challenges they entail. Please join us in what ever way you can in providing the vibrant services we offer people with disabilities and their families.

Sincerely,
Kevin J. Leahy
Executive Director

CHS ANNUAL APPEAL: Support Our Evolution of Excellence!

Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. has a mission to fulfill ~ assuring that every person with special needs served lives a truly happy and fulfilling life as respected citizens of their communities.

Generous financial donations have allowed individuals served by Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. to celebrate a passion for life, achieving personal goals and attaining dreams in comfortable homes in familiar communities.

Your financial contributions have continued to allow the development of ground breaking opportunities for the people we serve and our support staff, most recently the launch of CHS’s innovative Evolution of Excellence Campaign.

This campaign focuses on each person served ~ their unique experiences and personal stories as service recipients. This year’s Annual Appeal Campaign is the next chapter in our organization’s continued pursuit of ‘A Passion for What’s Possible’ on behalf of each person and each family.

Click Donate to give on line
or download a copy of the 2016 Annual Appeal Letter.

Every donation is very important to the individuals with special needs served by CHS each year. We sincerely appreciate your help and thank you for continuing to enhance the quality of life of the 300 people with disabilities we serve each year.

CHS is an approved IRS, 501 c (3) charitable organization.
Donations are fully tax deductible.

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Cooperative for Human Services

Cooperative for Human Services