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.
Did you know that November is "National Family Caregivers" Month (NFCM)?
It's a time to honor America's family caregivers, raise awareness about caregiving issues, and (hopefully!) increase support nationwide for caregivers.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Families are the primary source of support for older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S."
Interestingly, DHS also points out that nearly half of all family caregivers in America are over the age 50.
So, this November, please make sure to say an extra big "thank you" to the family caregivers in your life.
And if you are the caregiver in your family, UCP Oregon wants to thank you for your hard work. We see you, and we appreciate you.
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.
We’d like to share some more stories from the storm.
One of UCP Oregon’s Supported Living Team Leaders, Codi Parmelee, did fantastic work, driving staff to and from shifts. Thanks, Codi!
A Personal Agent from UCP’s Brokerage, Jeff Gilbert, braved the storm with our technology consultant, Jeff Couttouw, to get our servers up, with assistance from the Brokerage Director, Sarah Noack. Thanks, guys!
And so many other folks worked extra hours and dealt with treacherous driving conditions. We are so grateful for every one of you. Thank you!