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.
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.
Join UCP Oregon in celebrating “Direct Support Professionals” Recognition Week! We’re celebrating all week long (September 11-17, 2022).
Currently, UCP employs 93 Direct Support Professionals—also known as DSP’s.
UCP’s Direct Support Professionals work one-on-one with our customers. They assist customers wherever needed—at home, on the job, and out in the community—ensuring that our customers have independent and fulfilling lives.
So, the next time you see a Direct Support Professional, make sure to tell them how awesome they are!
Hello! If you're a customer of UCP, a family member of a UCP customer, or a UCP employee, we'd love to hear from you. We'd also love to share YOUR story with the world.
You can share almost anything:
UCP Oregon is excited to announce the winners of the "2021 Employee Recognition Awards!"
These awards were given to employees who provide direct care to our customers, folks who have titles such as Personal Assistant, Support Specialist, Support Coordinator, Personal Coordinator, Assistant Team Leader, Substitute Support Professional, Children's Support Professional, Job Coach, and Employment Specialist.
All direct care staff were eligible to vote for the winners. Each winner received a $100 Visa Gift Card and an award certificate!
If you happen to see one of these employees, please make sure to congratulate them.
PS: there were two winners in every category. We don't have permission to share the names of ALL the winners, so a few folks will not be listed below.
THE 2021 Employee Recognition Award WINNERS
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lena is a “Personal Assistant” in our Supported Living Department, which means that she works one-on-one a customer (Anita), helping Anita live independently in her own home. Recently, we asked our staff to share stories of their everyday work lives, and Lena wrote the following. Thanks, Lena!
By Lena Ruminski, Personal Assistant
Though I have worked for UCP for almost four years, I never knew the kind of joy I could bring someone until this last September when I started working with Anita.
While Anita is a woman of few words (unless asked questions), there is one sure way to know that she is enjoying herself: her eyes. The first time I experienced her unique expression of joy was when I introduced her to one of the best things about fall: Starbucks’ seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte.
While Anita is a mocha gal herself, I convinced her to try the PSL and upon first sip, she was sold. She looked up at me after her first taste—and her blue eyes were two huge saucers as she exclaimed, “That’s good!”
And for the rest of her beverage, after every sip, her wide eyes returned.
After we finished up, we started our walk back to her apartment. I started walking fast (and pushing her wheelchair quickly, too) because I was getting chilly. I heard her say “This is fun!” So, I picked up the pace to give her a bit more of a thrill.
As I prepared to get her back inside her house, I stopped and turned to her. I saw those wide eyes again as she said, “Can we do that again?!?”
Needless to say, we have been regulars at the Starbucks every Saturday shift for our weekly PSL fix.
It's rainy and cold here in Oregon, but we're excited because we have some great news for you!
UCP Oregon was awarded a grant from the Oregon Department of Human Services, which we're using to highlight and celebrate the hard work of our Direct Support Professionals.
We created a "Share the Love" story project, where our direct support staff could share stories about their work life--the fun stuff, the hard stuff, and even the funny parts. Every person who submitted a story was awarded a $100 Visa gift card.
We received so many fabulous stories. We'll be sharing several of them here (see the link below) and on Facebook over the next few weeks, so make sure to check back in.
PS: Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a story!
*DSP's are employees who provide direct support to customers, such as Personal Assistants, Support Specialists, Support Coordinators, Personal Coordinators, Assistant Team Leaders, Substitute Support Professionals, Children’s Support Professionals, Job Coaches, and Employment Specialists.
Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)!
As you might have seen, we recently profiled one of UCP’s customers, Emanuel. Emanuel uses supports from UCP Oregon to work at a Portland-area hospital as a Transportation Aid.
So now we’re profiling one of our employees, Lara, who works with Emanuel. Lara is a Job Coach at UCP, and has been working for UCP for three years.
Here’s what Lara has to say about working with Emanuel:
How long have you been working with Emanuel?
“Emanuel and I began working together early in 2021. At that time, our Supported Employment team wasn’t providing in-person supports due to the pandemic, so initially, Emanuel and I communicated primarily through text message. Over time, we developed the plan we have now, which is a combination of remote and in-person support.”
How would you describe Emanuel?
“Emanuel has incredible perseverance; he maintains his job as a front-line worker in the pandemic while also balancing time consuming personal obligations every day. I appreciate that, despite working exhaustingly long hours, Emanuel still has the capacity to be a forward thinker and outline aspirations for his future. Emanuel is an incredibly caring person and a thoughtful communicator.”
Thanks for the info, Lara!
PS: You can learn more about UCP Oregon’s Supported Employment division (“Employment Solutions”) here.
Did you know that this week is “Direct Support Professionals” Recognition Week?
Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) work directly with our customers, and are the heart and soul of everything we do.
Currently, UCP employs around 120 DSP’s in a variety of roles. DSP’s work one-on-one with customers at home, on the job, and out in the community, ensuring that each customer has an independent and fulfilling life.
Thank you, DSP’s, for all that you do!