FREE Blast: March 2018

March 30, 2018 | FREE Blast

Hello All,

March was Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, as well as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. FREE recognized these two crucial causes by hosting our 6th Annual Advocacy/Disabilities Awareness Conference and continuing our advocacy efforts, while still finding time to celebrate the wonderful work that our Individuals and Valued Team Members do on a daily basis.

Respectfully, Chris

Click HERE for the Full-Sized Poster!

PWW Mentors Work with Massapequa High School
PWW Mentors have been working with two self-contained classrooms at Massapequa High School for the past three months. Under the co-direction of PWW staff members Fran Nemeroff and Music Therapist Rich Morton, the Individuals have been helping the students during weekly drama workshops and in preparation for a performance at the end of the run. This has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved, especially our participants who took to the task, were true role models, and really helped the students throughout the process. We just had our big performance of “Be Our Guest” from Beauty & the Beast in front of parents, peers, and the administration. It was an absolute success, so much so that we have been invited to come back in the Spring to put on a second show. Values of Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

#bFair2DirectCare Rally in NYC
We are so proud of all the self-advocates, family members, Valued Team Members, and allies who rallied in New York City on Friday, March 10th! It is imperative, now more than ever, to stand strong together and make your voices heard. Values of Responsiveness, Interdependence and Quality

PrideAbility Workshop Conducted at FREE To BE Meeting
The PrideAbility Workshop was recently conducted at the FREE To BE meeting! Presenters included Angel A.; John G.; Jackie P.; Russell D.; Chris C.; Denise G.; Matthew Kuriloff, EEDA; Rick Banner, People, Inc.; Pam Boyle, AHRC; Abby Baker-Lynch, YAI; and Claire Miller, FREE. Matt, Rick and Claire presented on the PrideAbility Outreach Project to the Family Advocacy Core Meeting after the workshop. FREE is grateful to the NYS Developmental Planning Council for funding the PrideAbility Project! Values of Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

PrideAbility Discussed at OPWDD’s Quarterly MSC Conference
Claire Miller, Advocacy Coordinator, FREE; and Matthew Kuriloff, Creative Arts Manager, EEDA; presented on PrideAbility at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD) Quarterly MSC Conference in Albany on March 15th. To learn more about PrideAbility, please contact Claire Miller at 516-870-1645 or Values of Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

Respite Program Gets Visit from Magician
Recently, FREE’s Respite Program had a visit from magician TJ Tana! He did great with the program and the Individuals really enjoyed it. They look forward to having him back soon to show off some more of his amazing tricks. Values of Responsiveness, Innovation and Quality

Thank You Rewards
Michelle Wolosin, HUB-MED, stood out during a staff meeting and voiced her concerns. Javon Gabriel, Nassau Crisis, was initially hired in November 2017. He has since gone above and beyond when it comes to supporting the house and the Individuals. He has driven a few different Individuals from different houses to their scheduled screenings. He has picked up Individuals from the hospital after waiting for them for over 10 hours. He has covered at other houses, on top of his other responsibilities with assisting our Individuals in the house and out in the community. Javon does all this without batting an eye or voicing any kind of disapproval. Javon has been a great employee and he is only getting better. In March, several Valued Team Members, including Aliya Marrow, Tonya Barnes, Ty Simpson, Ashley Cox, and Lisa Vega went above and beyond during a very serious and traumatic event that occurred at the Hauppauge location of DSE. A DSE individual was under medical distress and Aliya Marrow, LPN, and Tonya Barnes, Sr. PC, did not hesitate – they began CPR (and continued until EMS and the police arrived). Ty Simpson, CNA, and Ashley Cox, LPN, were assisting throughout the event. Lisa Vega, Director of DSW, stepped in to ensure all other individuals in the program area were relocated and did not have to experience what was going on. She was also a great support to the AVP in ensuring all staff and Individuals were okay, medical personnel were aware/knew where to go, etc. Aliya also was the main contact for the family, residence and the Medical Examiner. Terrell Bostic, Amityville, took one of the program’s Individuals to a basketball game at the Barclay Center. Terrell had asked management if he would be able to take the Individual, Timothy, to the game since he enjoys sports. Timmy wanted to go to the game and Terrell insisted that he should not be reimbursed since he wanted to do this for Timmy. Terrell is an amazing employee who always works hard and helps in any way he can at the program. The working relationship he has with the Individuals is amazing. Terrell has a big heart and enjoys the work he does with the population that we work with daily. He is a model employee and should be recognized for constantly going above and beyond out of the kindness of his heart. The Entire Auborn Team is being recognized for going above and beyond on a regular basis, including assisting the management team, as well as volunteering to cover shifts during a staff crisis. Jonathon Gordon, a Direct Support Professional from Melville Estates 911, is being thanked for his quick thinking and fast action in attending to an Individual who was in distress. Jonathon provided abdominal thrusts to a choking Individual that allowed for the food to be expelled. Jonathon’s quick thinking saved an Individual’s life and for this we would like to thank him. Also, there was an incident at Coram when an Individual fell and was hospitalized. After the investigation, it was recommended that the Valued Team Members that where on shift and in the house at the time of the fall should receive an accommodation letter for doing a great job. Tameisha McQueen, Ellis Brown and Deja Simpson followed the emergency protocol in the proper and appropriate manner. The team did a great job keeping the Individual calm during the whole ordeal. If you would like to nominate someone for a Thank You Reward, please contact Pat Hogan at Winners of a Thank You Reward receive a gift card and thank you card to show our appreciation. Values of Integrity, Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

6th Annual Advocacy/Disabilities Awareness Conference
FREE proudly hosted the 6th Annual Advocacy/Disabilities Awareness Conference in March, with the theme “See ME, for ME!” — Looking beyond any disability to see everyone for who they are as a person, and not just as a person with a disability. The day began with “The Pledge of Allegiance,” The FREE Ensemble performing the “National Anthem,” along with opening remarks, including the Speakers Bureau CQL Focus on Rights and the League of Women Voters (LWV) representative discussing legislative advocacy. The day continued with a keynote presentation by Christopher Memoli, advocacy award presentations, a discussion by a Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) representative, followed by a closing performance by The FREE Ensemble, voter registration and lunch. Values of Integrity, Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

Marisa K. Leads a Stretching Class
As part of a Program Without Walls activity, Marisa K. led a stretching class along with her peers in a community theater at Studio Theater in Lindenhurst. The Individuals that participated enjoyed the exercise and look forward to more of it. Values of Responsiveness, Innovation and Quality

FREE Lightning Snowshoe Team Participates in Special Olympics
The FREE Lightning Snowshoe Team participated in the New York Special Olympics Winter Games, held in Rochester, NY. They won nine gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as three ribbons. Congratulations to Curtis, Allison, Debbie, Marcy, Tamara and Franc, along with coaches Lori-Jean, Annie and Karen. Values of Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality
Fancy FREE Celebrates 9th Birthday
Recently, the Fancy FREE’s team celebrated their 9th birthday! This bitter-sweet moment comes at the same time that it was announced about the exciting transition of Fancy FREE from a center-based program to a Community Program Without Walls. Individuals we support will have the same opportunity to participate in artisan endeavors previously provided at the center-based program in more integrated settings, along with a multitude of other innovative opportunities and experiences of choice that will permit FANCY FREE greater exposure and visibility. Stay tuned for more exciting details. Values of Diversity, Responsiveness, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

Penn Ave. Men Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Individuals and Valued Team Members at FREE’s Penn Ave. IRA took the time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone had a wonderful time and look forward to next year’s event. Values of Innovation and Quality

Greens and Jeans – A Bake Sale and Art Showcase for TBI Awareness
This delicious bake sale was organized by the Department of Health Traumatic Brain Injury (DOH TBI) team with a donation from Bellarose bakers. A raffle basket was also up for grabs. Bill B., professional artist and TBI survivor, was on hand to display his artwork and to meet with visitors. A photo contest was also held. Staff were highly encouraged to participate, with a prize available for the winner! All proceeds fundraised went to
The Brain Injury Association of NYS. Values of Stewardship, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality

Fancy FREE Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day
Fancy FREE, a unique gift boutique located in Farmingdale, recently hosted a party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Valued Team Members and Individuals had an amazing experience. Values of Innovation and Quality

Lena D. Celebrates 70th Birthday!
Lena D., of ILS, recently turned 70! The Individuals and Valued Team Members at Grundy took the time to make sure Lena’s day was extra special. Values of Innovation and Quality