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Community Members Explore Day Services at “Choices” Event

Community Members Explore Day Services at “Choices” Event

Categories: Blog, Featured News, Self-Advocacy

Nearly 100 people gathered in the Brookville Mansion ballroom to attend the Personal Outcomes Measures (POMS) “Choices” event. The event takes place every year during Compass Week, an annual validation process where OPWDD regulators assess person-centered outcomes.

Attendees gathered for the Personal Outcomes Measures (POMS) “Choices” event. For a provider to be designated a Compass agency, they must adhere to the criteria and best practices of the initiative, which includes having a management plan guided by their mission statement, a recorded quality improvement plan, and a commitment to supporting the valued outcomes of the people served, among others.

“Choices” presents an opportunity for people to learn more about the services we offer, they hear from their peers in different programs, ask questions, and engage in discussion.

It was led by a panel of self-advocates who benefit from different day programs available to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Leading the panel were Meredith Shear, Natalie Seger, Jason McKay, John Ginther and volunteers Robert and John. Presenting were members of the POMS Department, including Assistant Director of Project Development Bridget Cariello, Department Coordinator Susan Gil Orange, and CQL Certified POM Interviewers Samantha Rondonis and Kate Zimmerman.

Quality Assurance Trainer and self-advocate Michelle Rudoff activated the crowd with a spirited affirmation.

“Never give up. Never back down until you get it,” said Michelle.

Bridget followed by introducing the POMS Department staff, their roles, and how they support people seeking to make the best choices for themselves.

The event was held in Brookville and was broadcast to virtual attendees from Day Services locations throughout the agency. All were able to participate in the interactive event.

The panelists, each benefiting from different services, shared some of their goals and how they align with the services they receive, then they answered questions.

Meredith Shear spoke first about being part of a Day-Habilitation program. AHRC Nassau operates nearly 30 Day-Habilitation sites all of them providing different options for the people they support.

Some cater to artists and help them develop their craft while others prioritize working on individual goals and meeting meaningful milestones.

This variety of activities allows people to explore their interests in an environment where they can make friends and receive support from professional staff members.

Meredith enjoys volunteering in her community and appreciates that it’s a part of the program. It has been pivotal in helping her create and strengthen relationships.

“I get to connect  with people I’ve known for a long time and meet new people too,” said Meredith.

People supported also have access to Pre-vocational Services (Pre-Voc) and Supported Employment (SEMP). For those who are still in the learning phase, Pre-Voc is a perfect way to learn job skills.

Natalie Seger, who was the representative for Pre-Voc, shared that her day-to-day activities include doing e-works—salvaging electronics and computer parts—going to the farm and feeding the animals, to volunteering with the non-profit “Book Fairies”, and pop-up sales with Wheatley Farms and The One Stop Gift Shop.

For those interested, she said, “You can join Pre-Voc to get training for outside jobs.”

For people ready to explore careers, Jason McKay discussed what it’s like being a part of SEMP and how it’s a great way to increase independence through employment while having support staff available as a guide and resource.

John Ginther, talked about Self-Direction services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and how these supports can lead to a more independent life while still benefiting from the support of disability agencies and the state Office for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

“I love to go to the movies and explore my community. I like it because it’s fun and you can live independently without having to be secluded,” said John.

“I have staff Monday through Friday, a broker and care manager.”

John encouraged people to discuss their options with their care manager to determine if Self-Direction is a good fit. John, his broker, and his care manager work together to coordinate his care.

Another day service option that’s developing under the guidance of Volunteer Coordinator Jerri Walker is one-to-one volunteering.

John met Robert, who benefits from services, at an agency event. The two developed a strong bond after finding out they had similar interests including music, spending time in nature and gardening.

One-to-one volunteering allows someone to work with the same person long term. John volunteers with Robert regularly and they work on everything from money skills to goal setting and project development. Together, they create plans to explore their interests and share meaningful experiences.

After the presentations, attendees completed a survey evaluating how their wants and needs match their current day time activities.

POMS Department representatives gathered the surveys to review and discuss them with people’s care teams and advise on any newfound interests and requested changes.

The event left attendees empowered and energized, reminding them that they have the power of choice, and that the most influential person in their care team when it comes to directing what services they receive is themselves.