TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Elin M. Howe, Commissioner
DATE: November 5, 2008
RE: Update 160

DMR's Bedford Team is Recipient of the 2008 Carballo Award

The Department of Mental Retardation is proud to announce that the Bedford Team from DMR's Northeast Residential Services is being honored with the 2008 Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service. This award is given annually to no more than ten individual or group of state employees that exemplifies the highest standards of public service. The Bedford Team consists of Abbe Enoch, Deb Thurber, Sima Pooya, Colleen Chartier, Terry Litterest, Stacy Forbes, Susan Corbett, Jane Kamau, Catherine Mburu, Posnett Omonyi, Odilia Akum, Delroy Dillon, Franck Grah, Iren Harris, Mariam Konate, Danile Senoga and Loveline Tazah. Through incredible hard work, dedication and compassion, the team successfully transitioned 8 individuals from the Fernald Developmental Center to their new home in Bedford. Each member of the team got to know each individual as a person by spending time with the person, asking questions, and challenging the status quo. The team made sure that everything from medical and clinical needs to the decoration of their rooms was chosen appropriately, thoroughly and thoughtfully. Through the dedication of this team, the change in the lives of the 8 individuals was dramatic. They took a house that was built with the needs of very physically challenged people in mind and made it a home. Congratulations to the Bedford Team.

Ellie Carey Honored with the Workforce Mentoring Award

Ellie Carey, Chapter 688 Transition Services Coordinator is DMR's 2008 inaugural recipient of the Workforce Mentoring Award. This award was established to honor an outstanding leader in the area of mentoring in the workplace, whether through a formal mentoring program within their department, or on a more informal basis through the candidate's own initiative. Ellie took on the role of teacher, role model, and confidante to a young man with a developmental disability who was exploring work as a clerical support person at the Department. Ellie made the ongoing and continuous commitment to the professional and personal development of this young man. Her efforts have had a major effect on his ability to carry out his job and helped him develop life skills that will serve him well through life. His transition and ongoing growth and development on and off the job have gone well because of the mentoring role Ellie plays in his life. Congratulations to Ellie.

2008 Performance Recognition Winners

The Department is pleased to announce the 2008 recipients of the Performance Recognition Program Citation for Outstanding Performance Award. The Performance Recognition Program recognizes state employees who have provided exemplary and outstanding service to the Commonwealth over the past year.

Kathy Phillips - Director of Data Management

Kathy is recognized for her leadership, outstanding performance and extraordinary work ethics in helping ensure that data used in response to information requests is current, accurate and properly queried. Her knowledge and understanding of DMR's information systems, business processes, and operations make her an invaluable resource for the entire Department. She is the data go to person for both business and technical staff. Kathy is dedicated and committed to excellence. She has also served as mentor and teacher to her colleagues in helping them understand the data in our systems. A typical workweek for Kathy includes work at home on evenings and weekends. Her generosity with her time and knowledge is a quality that everyone who has had the benefit of working with Kathy appreciates.

Candace Cassin - Director of Learning and Development, Central/West Region

Candace manages and provides the leadership for a team that trains provider and DMR staff, families and individuals on a broad range of topics. Even with this broad responsibility, Candace has made time to take on the role of grief counselor for housemates, friends and staff who experience a range of emotions during the illness and death of someone that they have grown close to over time. She has counseled individuals and staff and has helped to arrange many memorial and funeral services, including putting together eulogies as a tribute to those who have passed away. Her compassion, efforts and support have meant a lot to individuals and staff during their times of grief and sorrow.

Karen Waskiewicz, MRW II Community Connector, Central/West Region

As a Community Connector, Karen is responsible for creating opportunities that enable individuals in 8 homes to participate meaningfully in different community activities, including church services, art classes and exercise classes. She goes the extra mile to ensure success. Karen has helped one woman get a volunteer job at a rehabilitation center and helped her to organize a highly successful Friday ice cream social. Other examples of Karen's successes include arranging for a woman to go play bingo and weekly bowling, arranging for another woman to volunteer at a survival center, and getting a third woman connected to her community through frequent visits to a local restaurant and the library. Karen's work ethic and willingness to help out are two traits that make her shine beyond what is expected. Karen does not stop until the individuals she supports have true valued roles.

Maura Squires- Nurse Practitioner and Catherine Beaver, Service Coordinator, Holyoke Chicopee Area Office

Maura and Catherine are the dynamic duo that have had a 100% success rate in making sure that individuals who find themselves in a nursing facility for rehabilitation, are able to return to their homes within 90 days. Maura and Catherine pay attention to the individual's needs, are resourceful in tracking down adaptive equipment, staff training, and local nursing service to ensure that the individuals get appropriate supports when they are discharged from the nursing facilities. They are also attentive to the end of life wishes of individuals by making sure they are carried out with dignity and grace. A key reason for Maura and Catherine's success is the time they take to educate physicians, hospital and nursing facility staff, DMR staff, families and guardians and help them understand how they can support individuals with an intellectual disability return to a quality life at home after experiencing a life altering illness or injury. Maura and Catherine are effective advocates whose efforts have enabled individuals to get the rehabilitation they need at nursing facilities and then return to their homes.

Mary Johnson - Children's Coordinator and Barbara Eldridge, Children's Coordinator, Worcester Area Office

Mary and Barbara are the Worcester Area Office Children's Team. While striving to address the needs of over 450 children, Mary and Barbara have achieved significant successes through collaboration, innovation and creativity in getting the resources to meet their needs. One example is the Specialized Respite Pilot Program. For years, the Children's Team had identified an unmet need for respite services for behaviorally challenged children with autism. These parents were often in desperate situations. Mary and Catherine partnered with a provider agency with the expertise to recruit, train and supervise respite staff with applied behavioral analysis skills in establishing the highly successful Specialized Respite Program. Another example is Mary and Catherine's annual Central Massachusetts Santa Project where they get the names of children, solicit gift ideas, recruit staff participants, gather the gifts form multiple locations, print the maps for the delivery routes, and make the majority of the deliveries until the last gift is placed in the right child's hands. Mary and Catherine have made a positive difference in the lives of children and the families and many have voiced their appreciation and gratitude for their caring and hard work.

Joyce Belisle - Service Coordinator, South Valley Area Office

Joyce has been employed by DMR for 24 years but she still has a fresh positive attitude that is infectious. Her dedication and hard work make it appear that the role of service coordinator is effortless. She is selfless with her time and is readily available to help individuals and co-workers whenever they need help. Recently, she helped a woman get the treatment and support she needed to leave a nursing facility and return home. After a motor vehicle accident, the woman became non-ambulatory and spent most of her time in bed in a nursing home. The woman needed to regain her strength and lose weight if she was to return home to live with her mother. Joyce took the initiative and convinced the Adaptive PE Department staff at the Wrentham Development Center that it had the right program to help this young woman. Joyce persisted in finding adaptive clothing (including swimwear to use at the Wrentham pool) so that the young woman would have appropriate clothing when she left the nursing facility. Through team collaboration and collective efforts, Joyce has been successful in helping many individuals get the appropriate supports they need.

Laurie Thyberg - Service Coordinator, North Shore Area Office

Laurie manages a large and diverse caseload. She is a "can do" service coordinator who can handle very difficult cases, some in crisis at the same time, calmly and always with her unique and good natured approach. She recently helped a couple who had been married for 30 years but forced to live apart because one of them was determined unsuitable and disqualified from living in public housing with the spouse. Laurie took the initiative and helped the couple find another apartment, furnish the apartment and get the supports and services they needed all the while providing them the emotional support during this stressful period. The couple is now happier than ever and thanks to Laurie, they are living the life they want.

Diane Swindells - LPN I, Northeast Residential Services

Diane is a compassionate and caring nurse who has shown incredible support to the individuals and staff at the home where she works. She has gone above and beyond in making this house a warm and welcoming home. She designed functional yet beautiful placemats for people with vision and language challenges. She painted the halls, kitchen and living room, including murals with inspirational phrase.. She tiled floors, used photographs to decorate shadow boxes and brought in perennials to plant in the garden. She has sewn pretty abdominal binders to cover g-tubes, made a padded chair and fixes adaptive equipment and helps people get through difficult medical treatments. Diane's ingenuity, boundless creativity, and energy make her one of DMR's hidden jewels.

Joseph Ssozi - MRW II, Northeast Residential Services

Joseph exemplifies the committed and caring nature of the many direct support staff that help individuals lead quality lives. Joseph took the initiative in helping 2 women realize their desire to attend church services. He not only attended church services with the two ladies but also made the time to allow the women to stay after the services and socialize with and get to know their fellow parishioners. When the women told him of their desire to be baptized, Joseph arranged for them to attend bible study classes. The women were baptized last May. The women have truly connected with their community in a meaningful and spiritually valuable way, and Joseph was the driving force that made this happened.

Jacalyn Leal Scott - Service Coordinator, Taunton/Attleboro Area Office

Jacki has had a positive impact on the lives of the individuals that she supports. Recently, Jacki helped a woman reconnect with her sisters with whom she had had no contact since she was a child. There was no current contact information available about any family members. Jacki contacted a professional colleague with experience in locating missing persons who found the sisters. The sisters expressed interest in meeting their long lost sister and Jacki made the arrangements. The visit was a success and to this day, the sisters see each other on a regular basis. Due to Jacki's efforts, a family has been re-united.

Margaret Holmes - Service Coordinator, Plymouth Area Office

Margaret has been a service coordinator for many years and her accomplishments go to the heart of the DMR mission and the core of service coordination work. Margaret works with individuals who struggle with very difficult issues, such as complicated behaviors, serious illness, forensic involvement and dysfunctional families. Margaret has handled these cases with great expertise as well as a calm and positive demeanor. Margaret has been able to bring solutions, a steadying hand and a caring heart to any problem that has arisen. She is respected by her co-workers, families, individuals and provider staff. Families, individuals and providers have echoed how much Margaret has helped them and how much they appreciate her. Margaret always brings her "can-do" spirit to all aspects of her job.

Maureen Crimmins - Eligibility Specialist, Metro Region Eligibility Team

Maureen is recognized for the special attention that she gives to each applicant that comes to DMR to apply for services. She recognizes when someone has an immediate need and is able to provide resource options while the eligibility application is in process. Families find Maureen to be professional, warm, patient and resourceful. Her colleagues find her to be thorough and a good communicator with families. Maureen goes above and beyond what is expected in retrieving information for an applicant, including providing transportation to help the person to get tested and making alternative arrangements when she sees it will be a hardship for a family to meet her at the DMR office. Maureen goes out of her way to ensure that applicants have the opportunity to make the case that they are eligible for DMR services.

Robert Moniz - Service Coordinator, Newton South Norfolk Area Office

Bob will go "above and beyond" to enhance the lives of the individuals on his caseload and their families. He will do whatever is necessary to meet the needs of the individuals and their families, including driving 40 miles roundtrip to take a mother to visit her son, driving and accompanying an individual to his medical appointments, supporting another individual at court appearances, and helping an individual who had lost his job to secure another job. Bob treats individuals, staff and family members with respect and compassion. Bob is tireless in his efforts to ensure those on his caseload and their families are supported to the best of his ability.

Nancy Haberstroh - Director of Psychology Services, Monson Developmental Center

Nancy is the Chair of the Professional Development Committee at the Monson Developmental Center. Through her leadership, organization and relentless work, DMR staff, provider agencies, local schools, hospitals, mental health clinics and others have been able to attend many clinical, educational, and inspirational conferences and educational opportunities with continuing education credits that are organized and offered through the Committee. These conferences included, Defeating Depressive Thinking, Procrastination, Autism/Asperger, Helping Persons with MR Mourn, Mediation used in the Treatment of Dementia, Sensory Modulation, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approaches for Anxiety Disorders. Nancy will do anything and everything to make these educational opportunities a success and her efforts have benefited the many that support persons with an intellectual disability.

Paul Erikson - Residence Manager, Monson Developmental Center

Paul's leadership and commitment has made the Valleyview respite program a place where individuals want to stay and staff want to work. He leads by example and whenever there is a problem or need, Paul is there to make sure it is addressed. Paul never complains and works beyond his regularly scheduled shift to lend a hand or an ear to help and get things done. He has boundless energy and thinks nothing of putting in a full day's work and then going shopping to pick something that is needed at Valleyview. Paul takes a special interest in each person that he works with whether it is to acknowledge a birthday, pick up a get well, sympathy or retirement card or take up a collection for the person. He has taken time to write eulogies for individuals that he has worked with and has personally deliver it at the memorial service. Paul is greatly appreciated by individuals, families and staff for his tireless work habits, approachability, humor, Yankee ingenuity, upbeat attitude and willingness to go above and beyond.

Laurie O'Brien - Adult Education Teacher, Templeton Developmental Center

Laurie is a very dedicated and positive person with ideas and enthusiasm that spills over to others. Her motto is, "Let's get it done." Laurie works with many of the residents at Templeton and does an excellent job directing the Night School Program. The individuals who attend the Night School Program are regulars who enjoy learning as well as the extra activities Laurie offers at the School. She has created a safe non-threatening learning environment by using different teaching modalities. Twice a week, Laurie also takes residents out into the community for lunch and shopping. Laurie is a strong consumer advocate who lives by the philosophy of "It doesn't matter whose job it is."

Molly Paine, MRW II, Templeton Developmental Center

Molly is admired by the residents and her co-workers at Templeton for her exemplary leadership, eternal optimism, her philosophy of inclusion, her advocacy that everyone be valued for their unique abilities and talents and her commitment to relationship. She is role model who has been enormously helpful to her co-workers in meeting the challenge of supporting aging and medically fragile individuals, several of whom have Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Molly is a standout in direct care. The residents ask for her, look forward to the time she arrives and are always eager to tell her about what is important to them. Molly brings two questions to work with her each day, "What are the skills, abilities and capacities of the individuals we support?" and "How can we use our resources to enhance, mobilize and expand these capabilities?" Every day, Molly continues to take down the invisible fence, little by little.

Christine Detzel - Secretary, Hogan Regional Center, Division 2

Christine strives to make the building unit peaceful and homelike for the residents and co-workers. Christine sews curtains, maintains a garden and adds special touches to the area that helps everyone, including residents and visitors, feel welcomed. Christine is always willing to perform tasks outside of her job description to enhance the surroundings and the quality of life of the residents.

Rob Gerkin - Occupational Therapy II, Hogan Regional Center

Rob is a quiet guy who everybody listens to. He is creative and extraordinarily involved with therapy. He uses his talent in basketball and soccer to engage individuals in a variety of healthy activities. He helped one young man lose 200 lbs. Rob has also found time to create an enhanced leisure, living and recreational space that the Hogan residents and staff can enjoy. Over the past 2 years, Rob managed 3 major projects besides carrying a full OT caseload: the design and construction of a 500 ft wheelchair accessible walkway and gazebo, a memorial garden and patio and a 1400 sq ft wheelchair accessible deck and outdoor living space. Rob is a role model for individuals and staff on many levels. He is deeply respected by his co-workers, supervisors and the individuals he supports.

Allan Day - Habilitation Coordinator, Unit 2, Wrentham Developmental Center

Allan is the mastermind behind the unique and creative programs offered to the residents in Unit 2. His "7 on 7 News Show" where the residents' talents are showcased each Thursday is fun, energetic and enjoyed by the residents and staff. His "bug races" have brought healthy competition and fun to programs. In all social opportunities, Allan has capitalized on the teachable moment, encouraged positive interaction between residents and staff and ensured that objectives are worked on in a seemingly effortless manner. Last Halloween, Allan collected nuts, bolts, old cords, bought some pumpkins and enlisted the residents and staff to decorate the pumpkins in very non-traditional ways. Allan is an outstanding role model and leader. He is always reaching out to help others. Allan recognizes that learning is best achieved when done in a fun way with direct support staff actively involved in the planning.

Ceil Karl - Recreation Therapist II, Fernald Developmental Center

Ceil is a gem at the Fernald Recreation Department. When she first started at the Fernald Activity Center, Ceil designed and implemented a full fledged ceramics program where residents get to choose a ceramics piece, paint it and take it home to keep or give as a gift to friends and family. The residents also get to enjoy relaxing music and quiet conversation while painting their ceramic pieces at the weekly classes. Ceil also took the program to the next level by collaborating with the New England Ceramics League where the residents' works were showcased and trophies and awards given in special categories. After they were judged, Ceil would set up an awards presentation on grounds so family, friends, peers and staff could support and applaud the artists' creative works. Even after the League disbanded a few years later, the members continued to volunteer their and energy and come to Fernald to judge the residents' works so the Ceramic Awards show could continue. These volunteers have also supported Fernald by donating a wheelchair van, a brand new ceramics kiln and thousands of dollars to keep the program going. Ceil has also been instrumental in making recreation events at Fernald a success, such as the Special Olympics Summer and Senior Games, the Fernald Chorus, supporting the Ability Club and Self Advocacy events and the special holiday celebrations. Ceil has enriched the lives of the Fernald residents with her bubbly personality and unique teaching style.

Carol Zurek - Statewide Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Supports, Thomas Anzer, Director of Human Rights, Roberta Lewonis, Community Systems Director, Metro Region

Carol, Tom and Roberta, together with colleagues at the Department of Mental Health, produced a Human Rights video that is used as a training tool for deaf and hard of hearing individuals and the staff who serve them. The tape provides important information to individuals, staff, family, case managers and clinical staff on how to protect human rights of individuals served by DMR and DMH. The video is a great example of interagency collaboration and a way to use resources efficiently for long term benefit.

11th Annual Meeting of M.A.S.S. on November 15th

On Saturday, November 15 th, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong will hold its 11 th annual anniversary conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10 Lincoln Square in Worcester. This year's theme is "Wave of Change." DMR Commissioner Elin Howe will present the opening remarks and MRC Commissioner Charles Carr is the keynote speaker. For more information, call 1-508-747-8111.

Announcing the All New!

MassMATCH-the Massachusetts initiative to Maximize Assistive Technology in Consumer's Hands has completely redesigned its website, The new site includes new features, such as, the AT School Swap, the AT Services Directory, enhanced Get Help, GetATStuff, and Consumer Advocacy. MassMATCH is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. MassMATCH is one of 56 state-level AT initiatives in the United States. MassMATCH's mission is to promote the use of assistive technology and assistive technology services to enhance the independence of people with disabilities, enabling equal participation in all of life's activities

News from the Central/West Region

Central/West Annual Recognition Ceremony

The Central/West Region held its annual recognition ceremony on September 9, 2008. Staff receiving Regional Recognition Awards included Christopher Fox, Maura Squires, Catherine Beaver, Joyce Belisle, Mary Johnson, Barbara Eldridge, Candace Cassin, Karen Waskiewicz, Penny Queipo, Karen Utley, the Egan Drive Relocation Team, Jean-Claude Attoumo, Rosemarie Stebbins, Mary Ann Smith, Darrin Artioli, William Barry, Edward Manley, and Kathleen Dearborn-Weed. Also, over 125 staff was recognized for years of service to the Department.

Annual Interfaith Connections Celebrated on October 22nd

The Interfaith Connections Project of Western Massachusetts celebrated its annual Interfaith Connections Service and celebration on October 22. Four people were recognized for supporting full participation of individuals with disabilities in their local parishes and churches. Those recognized were Mary Lou O'Connor and Claire Ann de Jongh of the Wachogue Congregational Church in Springfield, Rev. Dan Johnson of Calvary Baptist Church in Turners Falls, and Rev. Barbara Seamon of the First Congregational Church in Montague. Interfaith Connections includes the Central/West Region of the DMR, Council of Churches of Greater Springfield, the Roman Catholic Church of Greater Springfield, the Western Area Office of the United Church of Christ, the Behavioral Health Network, Multicultural Community Services, and concerned local citizens.

News from the Northeast Region

Northeast Region's Central Middlesex Talent Show

The Central Middlesex Area Office and the DMR providers in this area hosted a Talent Show on September 10, 2008 at Temple Emunah in Lexington. The variety talent show played to an overflowing audience and was truly magical. All at the Central Middlesex Area Office were thrilled about how well-received the event was and how fantastic all of the performances were. The show highlighted the talents of 30 individuals and the art and craft work of many more. It proved, once again, how vital integrated events are, and reminded us that we must view the individuals we support, not based solely on their disabilities and needs, but based on their abilities and talents.

Northeast Leadership Institute Graduation

On October 22, 2008, the Northeast Region graduated its 10 th class from their "Northeast Leadership Institute" . Nineteen participants completed the seven-month leadership development program. Pat Cronin, Director of Staff Development and Training for the Northeast Region and Deborah Reidy of Reidy Associates gave the opening remarks. Amanda Chalmers, NE Regional Director congratulated the graduates and awarded the certificates. To date, 154 people have graduated from the Northeast Leadership Institute.

The Northeast Leadership Institute brings together people who are committed to becoming more effective leaders in the field of developmental disabilities and to provide them with state of the art information and strategies on leadership

Middlesex Community College Direct Support Program Graduation held on September 22nd

A graduation ceremony honoring students who recently completed the Direct Support Certificate Program at Middlesex Community College (MCC) was held on September 25, 2008. Amanda Chalmers, NE Regional Director, Julie Mirras, Coordinator of the Direct Support Certificate Program at Middlesex Community College; Patricia Cronin, NED Director of Staff Development, Clea Andreadis, Dean of the Social Sciences and Human Services; Sharon Dunbar-Link, Faculty from MCC; and Fred Nazzaro, Lowell Area Director DMR, offered their congratulations to the graduates. To date 258 have graduated from the Northeast Region's three participating community colleges' Direct Support Certificate Program: Middlesex Community College, Lowell; North Shore Community College, Lynn; and Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill.

Northeast Region's August 2008 International Cookout

The Northeast Region enjoyed an International Cookout on August 22nd. The event was co-sponsored by Northeast Residential Services (state operated community residences), A.F.S.C.M.E, S.E.I.U., and the Hogan Regional Center. It was a joint celebration with labor and management to promote cultural pride and diversity. Several hundred people attended, including staff as well as individuals served by the department. It was held on the grounds of the Hogan Regional Center. There were more than 50 international foods to choose from including food from countries such as Haiti, Nigeria, Cambodia, Jamaica, Liberia, the Dominican Republic, and Syria. Live entertainment included dancers from Rwanda, a Scottish bagpiper, and a bouzouki player from Greece. There were also displays of cultural art and artifacts.

Northeast Region's August 2008 Nutrition Conference

On August 5, 2008 the Area Office Nurses from the Northeast Region and Allison Herrick, the nutrition intern for the summer, hosted an all-day conference for individual, families and staff on healthy eating. Called "Feed your body, Fuel your Life, there were 147 attendees from 24 different agencies that provide support to individuals served by the department. The topics covered were: healthy eating and portion control, diabetic diet, kidney failure and the need for a renal diet, and celiac disease and the gluten free diet. Our break times allowed the attendees to sample various homemade snacks (made by the area office nurses) for people with specific dietary restriction (low carb, low potassium, gluten free) and recipe cards were available for staff to bring back and try themselves. Resource lists were provided that listed wonderful web sites that provide free down load recipes, diets, and more specific information on renal disease, diabetes, and celiac disease.

News from the Facilites

Wrentham Developmental Center's 100th Birthday Celebration and Reunion a Resounding Success!!

On Sunday, October 5, 2008, many came to the Wrentham Developmental Center to celebrate its centennial birthday. Lions Club volunteers assisted with parking; Paul Payeur, the Disc Jockey extraordinaire, spun his CD's under the Charles McGrath Pavilion while food was served. Later, everyone made their way into the beautifully-decorated gymnasium for the formal program that included remarks by Reverend George Bolton, Flossie Ward, DMR Commissioner Elin Howe, Assistant Commissioner Diane Enochs and Wrentham Facility Director, Nicholas D'Alusio. A moving dedication speech was given by Cindy Shepherd about the lifetime of service by committed parent, and tireless advocate, Dick Krant, in whose memory the Administration Building at Wrentham was now been dedicated. Dick's whole family was in attendance to join in the day's festivities. Following the conclusion of the formal program, the family, Commissioner Howe, and Assistant Commissioner Enochs joined Nick, Cindy and Dick's son, Bryan, at the Administration Building for a brief dedication ceremony and plaque unveiling.

This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.