By Executive Director Gail T. Brown, CRC, LRC, LCSW
The importance and value of family and friends cannot be understated and that is why New England Village takes special pride every year in organizing its Family Day event. Over the years, however, this day has become something that staff looks forward to as much as the individuals we serve and, as expected in any close tight-knit community, we have developed personal meaningful relationships with the family and friends of individuals supported. There is no question that this event generates an enormous amount of love, happiness, and joy for everyone in attendance.
Family Day 2017 was a huge success thanks to the efforts of so many. It really does take a Village to plan and orchestrate this annual event so that individuals supported by our programs have an opportunity to share and celebrate with family members. Family Day is truly the event where we come together as one caring supportive community. Fortunately, the weather couldn’t have been better! This year was one of our biggest and best events to date with 475 people in attendance.
Now that things have settled down and we’ve returned to a more normal routine, I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to Ginger Comeau who was back this year as Chair of the Family Day Committee, along with committee members Mary Stanley, Coleen Caliri, Victoria Gill, Akari Hayashi and Dolores Rezendes. Secondly, I would like to thank all of the managers and staff who organized each site and hosted the residential and day program luncheons. Finally, many thanks to Joe Sances, James Adams, and Rick Murad in our facilities department for preparing our grounds for the day—from hanging up our Family Day banner, setting up and taking down the many tables and chairs, to delivering ice and other important details.
Family Day was full of entertainment and activities with the interactive music provided by Daddy-O, hay rides, face painting, pumpkin decorating, raffles, art projects and the impressive “wall of fame” in the administrative hallway of the Sheingold Building. Families also had a chance to see and purchase our organically grown vegetables from the farm. I received many compliments from family members and individuals about the day.
Congratulations to our award recipients: Regina Diener and Peter Hill – both Self-Determination Award winners, Ann Malinowski and Lan Baker – our Direct Support Professionals of the Year, and Amy Saschuk – NEV’s Supervisor of the Year! We also celebrated our dedicated staff who achieved significant years of employment, as well as resident milestone anniversaries with Beth Sheingold and Glenn Carey commemorating 45 years at New England Village! Celebrating all of these anniversaries is a true testament to the mission of New England Village.
Above all, Family Day was successful because of all of the hard work, enthusiasm, and dedication of the NEV staff and I extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all who contributed to this wonderful day!