Across the nation there is a growing movement that is increasing the adoption of “Person-Centered Planning” (PCP) as the method used to develop service plans for persons served with developmental or intellectual disabilities. In contrast to previous and existing systems which have typically been driven by the provider/caregiver system, service design and delivery methods within our industry are evolving to include the person served as the focal point of the development process. You may find yourself asking, “What exactly does it Continue reading
A blog post by
Gail T. Brown, Executive Director
Since starting my job here at New England Village, I can easily say that I am now a “high mileage” driver, logging in close to 45,000 miles a year. Most of these miles are traveled on Massachusetts highways – the Mass Pike, Route 495, Route 3 and Route 6, although I do also travel frequently on local streets through many cities and towns across the State of Massachusetts. We have a beautiful state and actually I don’t mind all of the driving, although I do think our highways need some attention and repair. Traveling through all types of weather conditions doesn’t bother me and even with all of the snow this past year, I continued to log my usual weekly miles. I consider myself a very safe and defensive driver, but to be honest, I have been known previously to have a “lead foot.” I now pay careful attention to travel conditions, obey the posted speed limits and have an excellent driving record.
I love the month of May. The spring air makes a shift around Memorial Day, a reason why many consider the holiday weekend the “unofficial” start of summer. Pools are opened, beach stickers are on the SUV’s, campgrounds welcome visitors and boating trips begin their fishing excursions. There is something about water that makes it an attractive way to beat the heat while having fun.
As I participated in a recent Celebration of Life honoring long-term Village resident Michael Hackmeyer, I was struck by the sincere love the community had for this wonderful person – a love that was mature, organic and reciprocal. Michael truly lived a full life at New England Village; one of adventure, creativity, humor and kindness.
Often at the Village, we appropriately applaud our creative and expanding services, dedicated staff and the individual successes achieved by our participants – all of which is wonderful; however, one thing I think we tend to take for granted are the genuine and heartfelt relationships that develop between our participants. Continue reading
This is the third post in a continuing series featuring resident testimonies given at an EOHHS Public Forum in response to the Massachusetts DDS Draft Transition Plan for Compliance with the HCBS Community Rule:
Hello I am Charles Nolan. I have lived at New England Village in Pembroke for almost three years and I have Down Syndrome. I chose New England Village because I lived at home with my parents for almost all my life, and I wanted to become more independent. Continue reading
This is the second post in a continuing series featuring resident testimonies given at an EOHHS Public Forum in response to the Massachusetts DDS Draft Transition Plan for Compliance with the HCBS Community Rule:
Good Evening. My name is Annette Daly. I live at New England Village in Pembroke. I have a seizure disorder and benefit from having staff to supervise me. I have lived at NEV for 4 years, it is my home.
Before I moved to the Village, I lived in Brockton with a different agency. With them I moved often and didn’t like feel like it was at a place I would choose to call home. I wanted to Continue reading
My name is Jessica Simoes and I live at New England Village. I moved there from Mass Hospital School in 2006. My life has changed so much for the better since moving here. I have learned to advocate for myself and I am a more independent person. I have goals for myself and New England Village helps me meet them.
I went to Cape Cod Community College and graduated with a certificate in retail and childcare. I use what I learned in college in my community. I started my own jewelry business, and I work with 3-5 year old children at South Shore Science Center.
I also volunteer in my community. I volunteer at Wingate Nursing Home. I take classes I enjoy out in the community. I have taken art classes and a stained glass class. I have a membership at the YMCA and I exercise there every week. Continue reading
After 16 months of employment at the Village, I’m better able to appreciate some of the opportunities New England Village offers to the individuals we serve. I recently transitioned into the program manager role and although it has been challenging at times, I feel I have been given the tools needed to assist the women in my program as they explore their own areas of self-development and growth. Inspired by the Village’s mission statement1, I strive to advocate for these women and help support them in leading lives no different than the life I would choose for myself or a loved one. Continue reading
Change is something we have all experienced at one time or another and it is an essential part of life. Change could mean new opportunities and it can be energizing and exciting; however, as most of us know, adjusting to change is not always easy. Whether it be something we chose to do, need to do or are forced into – change can be challenging. There is always the risk that the road to change, as well as the end result, might not be what we expected. Continue reading
Oftentimes staff are the ones learning important life lessons from the individuals they serve and this is one case where I certainly did. When I worked at a previous agency there was an older man called George who was quite a character. He would quietly tell you something quite mundane, then look you in the eyes, flutter his hand side-to-side and quietly say, “Keep it on the hush,,,, keep it on the hush.” It made you feel like you were speaking with an undercover spy who was sharing with you the greatest of secrets.
One day George passed me a piece of paper and when I looked at it there were several lines of connected, handwritten, v’s running across it. To my great surprise, when I asked him what it said, he looked alarmed and said to me, “Rick, you don’t know how to read?” Well, if George made it to this age believing he could write, I wasn’t going to break that news to him; instead, I said that I didn’t have my reading glasses and asked if he read would read it to me. Carefully studying the v’s he “read” back that I was invited to his birthday party at 3:00 at his house. I told him that I might be able to get there and asked him what he would like for a present. He quickly responded that he would like a wallet and ended with the inevitable, “keep it on the hush” as he walked away.
When the day of his birthday came, I didn’t feel like travelling to his town or attending a party where I wouldn’t know anybody; thankfully my wife convinced me to go. When I knocked on the door his adult foster care providers introduced themselves to me and when I told them who I was, they sighed with relief. They told me that George had done nothing for a week, but tell people you were coming. They were afraid that if I had not showed up, it would have ruined his birthday. I had no idea that it mattered so much to him that I was there!
George came out to see us and I introduced my wife. He excitedly took us on a tour to see the barbershop in his bedroom. George wanted nothing more than to be a barber, so his foster care providers purchased a real barber’s chair and put it in the center of his room. George could not have been prouder and he would shampoo people’s hair, taking the utmost care to provide a “top of the line job.”
Later we sang happy birthday and George started opening his gifts. Approximately half of the gifts were wallets and I carefully watched him open each one, wondering how he would react. He taught me a lesson that day. There wasn’t a hint of disappointment that he now owned enough wallets to last several lifetimes. Instead he opened each one, read who it was from, smiled from ear to ear and thanked the giver, telling them it was a wonderful wallet and just want he wanted. I realized that to George, the material present wasn’t the gift at all. The gift was that the people closest in his life all came together to celebrate his birthday and that they cared for him, just as he cared for them. The wallets were simply a way that he could always remember that birthday and the people who were lucky enough to be part of it.
So in conclusion, I hope you enjoyed the story and as George would surely advise you, “Keep it on the hush…. keep it on the hush.”