YEAR-END UPDATE, FROM THE DESK OF JOHN GOFF, COMMUNITY SERVICES DIRECTOR
Hello, UCP Family!
It is always an honor to share the successes and stories of the Community Services (CS) Department, but not without first recognizing the collective energy of all UCP customers, employees, Board members, and partners. When I think of the past year, I am reminded of the familiar phrase that it truly “Takes a Village,” and I must say that I am grateful to have been a part of this one for close to 10 years!
So, what of the year 2022? I wish I had space to list every situation and scenario navigated, but I can say with certainty and admiration that everyone in the department showed up in a very big way to support one another.
In no order of priority, the CS Department:
I am very proud of all the accomplishments and work from the Community Services Department, and I look forward to another great year in 2023 filled with opportunity, continued advocacy, and growth.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Last year, we shared a list of powerful MLK quotes that was curated by Karen Wang. Karen is the mom of several children, including a son with disabilities.
As Karen writes, “As I plan for my children’s future, I find myself returning to [MLK’s] lessons for guidance. Human rights are for everyone, and we still have a long way to go on our journey.”
These quotes are so good that we're sharing them again.
What are you doing to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
PS: You can read Karen's article here.
We are pleased to announce that Nicole Vivanco has been promoted to the position of Employment Services Director, which oversees UCP's Supported Employment Department.
Prior to this advancement, Nicole was acting as the Employment Services Manager. Nicole took on the Manager position during a very difficult time in the early months of the pandemic.
Thanks to Nicole’s dedication, the Employment Solutions team is thriving, with customers working across the Portland area. Nicole participated in agency-wide strategic planning and implementation. She also fostered productive collaboration with community partners such as mental health and developmental disabilities agencies, area Brokerages, Vocational Rehabilitation, Oregon Commission for the Blind, families, advocates, Board members, etc.
Nicole brings 9 years of experience in the field of supported employment.
Nicole says, “I am so happy to accept this new role within our department, and I am excited to continue to support our customers, employers, and the employment professionals at UCP to find success and meet their career goals.”
She adds, “I’d like to thank our community partners for their collaboration and support. Seeing a person shine—in a job that is a great match for them and their employer—is the biggest motivator for me. Supported employment is so powerful for everyone involved.”
Thank you, Nicole, for everything you’ve done and continue to do. We are excited to begin this new chapter with you.
As we enter a new year, I want to express gratitude toward UCP Oregon’s Direct Support Professionals and Personal Support Workers for their ongoing commitment to support our customers. (Job titles vary by department and role, but all of these employees work directly with our customers.)
What does this support look like?
Employees show up. They show up during inclement weather. They show up when their coworkers and/or customers are sick with RSV, COVID-19, flu, and seasonal colds. They show up by taking on additional work when there are vacant positions, often experiencing unexpected and significant overtime. They show up so their coworkers can have scheduled time off.
They show up to support customers during holidays, ensuring that customers can celebrate the events that matter to them.
And, perhaps most importantly, they show up to advocate, to ask for investments and commitments to the customers they serve. They show up expecting the best from UCP, with focus on a person-centered approach.
A sincere THANK YOU to all employees who provide direct supports. UCP Oregon couldn’t do the work we do without you—the foundation you create is strong and lasting. Our customers are forever grateful and are living higher quality lives because YOU SHOW UP!
Let’s ring in the new year with our heads held high!