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Self-Care Tips and Tricks from the STAR Committee

The Support, Inc. STAR Committee gathered recently to brainstorm new ideas for a self-care series for employees. The group cleverly named this initiative Fall Into Care and hosted it’s first session yesterday. This three-part series aims to discuss self-care management during a pandemic with different themes for each event. For the second session, the Committee will host a media swap and the third meeting in November will cover winter blues prevention tactics.

From trying new recipes to visiting the Wild Animal Sanctuary, the group covered a range of topics and ideas for remaining upbeat. This outlet also provided an opportunity to vent about the year without judgement. And while it’s great to stay productive, the group agreed that downtime is important, as well. Brene Brown discusses overperforming in her podcast, and a nod to this episode reminded the group that it’s okay to take a break and just chill.

The STAR Committee serves employees of Support with three objectives in mind: Fostering a positive work culture, promoting employee appreciation and encouraging self-care. The Committee understands what a challenging year this has been and will continue to promote internal opportunities for connection within the organization. In addition, further considerations to explore and strengthen relationships amongst host home providers and their teams will be explored, as well. For clients to connect with their peers, please see our weekly LIFE Club updates on the blog for more information.

Sometimes it’s hard to manage self-care when a pandemic requires us to isolate and maintain social distance. But this doesn’t mean there’s not other ways to connect with people. And this certainly doesn’t mean we can’t still find joy in our everyday lives.

The STAR Committee created a flyer to share with employees and members of the agency. Feel free to share your ideas below-we would love to learn more ideas for self-care in 2020!

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LIFE Club Events This Week!

Pop Culture Group is canceled for Tuesday, September 22. Join us again on Tuesday, September 29 at 10am!

LIFE Club:  Scavenger Hunt

When:  Tuesday, September 22 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

What: Join us for an evening of friendship, discussion, and learning! These interactive groups will focus on developing skills and confidence for social situations in a way that is fun and informative! Last week’s game night was so great that we are continuing this week with another scavenger hunt. Be prepared to search for all sorts of things like something you’ve had for a long time, something new, something that is special to you, etc. Let’s get to know each other virtually! LIFE Club is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88541386228 at 5:00pm to participate. Contact christopher.sharkey@supportinc.com or gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Wednesday, September 23

Moving and Grooving is canceled for Wednesday, September 23. Join us again on Wednesday, September 30 at noon!

Thursday, September 24

Touching Stories

When:  Thursday, September 24 from 11:00am-12:00pm

What: Touching Stories is a unique therapy model, specifically designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, that pairs the social and emotional learning of story with sensory integration activities in a way that is educational, engaging, and simply, a lot of fun! We have adapted our Touching Stories for at home use. Gwen and Meredith will first lead participants in a scavenger hunt for the sensory items needed for the stories (all items are common items found in every home) and then will tell the sensory-based stories to the group. Please see the attached list for scavenger hunt items. If you are curious to learn more, please watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcjzvevJ9_w&t=67s. Touching Stories is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86143640216 at 11:00am to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com or meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Friday, September 25

Pop Culture Group is canceled for Friday, September 25. Join us again on Friday, October 2 at noon!

Social Distancing Games

When:  Friday, September 25 from 10:00am-11:00am

What:  This is an excellent opportunity to get out and hang out with friends in a safe and social distancing way. Meet us site-based in the parking lot behind Day Program before we practice social distancing with fun, sensory games. We will notice all the sights, sounds, smells, and feels in a safe and staggered environment. *One of games will involve water play, please bring a towel and/or a change of clothes. All clients and DSPs are welcome!

Instructions:  In order to participate,please contact Gwen at gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com. Please arrive no earlier that 9:30am and be prepared to be picked up no later than 11:30am. Masks will be required for this activity.

Address:  Support, Inc.

                  15591 E Centretech Pkwy

                 Aurora, CO 80011

Items Needed for Thursday, September 24

We’ll do two stories:

A Day at the Beach Scavenger Hunt!

  1. Shredded up newspaper (just a couple sheets)
  2. A plastic bag
  3. Something that smells like flowers (real flowers, a candle, perfume, etc.)
  4. Sandpaper (or something that feels gritty – a pumice stone, or the rough side of a scrubbing sponge)
  5. Vanilla (or something that smells like vanilla)
  6. Bubbles (you can get them at the dollar store or grocery store, but if that’s not available, a little  dish soap in water)
  7. Aluminum foil
  8. A towel
  9. Band-Aid

Writing Our Own Story!

*Let’s work together and create our own story for Touching Stories. The only thing you need to bring is yourself.

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COVID-19 Resources from the Arc

The Arc has released a list of COVID-19 resources to share for people with disabilities, their families, and the workforce that supports them. As we know, COVID-19 and other public health crisis disproportionately affect people with disabilities. Luckily, the Arc has taken action steps to close the gap on these inequities.

In addition to their advocacy work on the hill for essential workers, the Arc has produced several Plain Language documents to explain the pandemic in basic terms. The Arc is also hosting a Town Hall online on October 7th to discuss their response to COVID-19 and future plans.

For more information, refer to this link. And for more information regarding the Arc of Colorado, refer to their website. Here, you will find specific information such as where to find testing, and guidance on returning to day program and school. The Arc of Colorado also relays several resources for rent and food assistance and links to HCPF updates.

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LIFE Club Events This Week!

Tuesday, September 15

Pop Culture Group: Cartoons and Animation

When:  Tuesday, September 15 from 10:00am-11:00am

What:  Pop Culture Group is an opportunity for clients to come together and connect over their common interests and explore new ideas at the same time. Come explore different styles of cartoons, animation, and comedy through illustrated art. We will learn, laugh, and watch in this upcoming session focused on cartoons and animation. This one is for the tv lovers! Pop Culture Group is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83324855770 at 10:00am to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. All are welcome!

LIFE Club:  Game Night

When:  Tuesday, September 15 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

What: Join us for an evening of friendship, discussion, and learning! These interactive groups will focus on developing skills and confidence for social situations in a way that is fun and informative! It’s time for another game night. Join us as we learn some new virtual games and discuss what some of our favorite games have been. Let’s get to know each other virtually! LIFE Club is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88541386228 at 5:00pm to participate. Contact christopher.sharkey@supportinc.com or gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Wednesday, September 16

Moving and Grooving:  Strength

When:  Wednesday, September 16 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

What:  We will join together to discuss life’s stressors while improving the physical health of our bodies to create a healthy lifestyle by learning helpful social and exercise habits. Thisgroupwill incorporate a different movement activity every session. This week is all about strength. What makes you strong? We will discuss different types of strengths and how it relates to both our inner and outer selves. This is a great opportunity to be active during a virtual time. Adaptable for all abilities! Moving and Grooving is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85277454478  at 12:00pm to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact ashley.treiber@supportinc.com or meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions.

Thursday, September 17

Touching Stories

When:  Thursday, September 17 from 11:00am-12:00pm

What: Touching Stories is a unique therapy model, specifically designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, that pairs the social and emotional learning of story with sensory integration activities in a way that is educational, engaging, and simply, a lot of fun! We have adapted our Touching Stories for at home use. Gwen and Meredith will first lead participants in a scavenger hunt for the sensory items needed for the stories (all items are common items found in every home) and then will tell the sensory-based stories to the group. Please see the attached list for scavenger hunt items. If you are curious to learn more, please watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcjzvevJ9_w&t=67s. Touching Stories is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86143640216 at 11:00am to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com or meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Moving and Grooving:  Adaptive Yoga

When:  Thursday, September 17 from 12:45pm-1:45pm

What:  We will join together to discuss life’s stressors while improving the physical health of our bodies to create a healthy lifestyle by learning helpful social and exercise habits. Thisgroupwill incorporate a different movement activity every session. Let’s slow down and take a day to get back to basics. We will stretch and focus on our inner strength by using adaptive yoga techniques. This is a great opportunity to be active during a virtual time. Adaptable for all abilities! Moving and Grooving is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83907174169 at 12:00pm to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact ashley.treiber@supportinc.com for any questions.

Friday, September 18

Pop Culture Group: Show and Tell

When:  Friday, September 18 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

What:  Pop Culture Group is an opportunity for clients to come together and connect over their common interests and explore new ideas at the same time. Join us as we explore the exciting genre of mystery. We will learn, watch and solve in this upcoming session focused on mysteries and unexplained phenomenon. The game is afoot! This week we will “get a clue” about what makes mysteries work. This is what we have all been waiting for! Bring your talents, enthusiasm, and support for our friends as we show off our talents and talk about our favorite hobbies. Make sure to invite everyone in your house to show off your new skills in performance! Pop Culture Group is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83324855770 at 12:00pm to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. All are welcome!

Items Needed For Thursday, September 17

We’ll do two stories:

Scavenger Hunt for Little Red Hen!

Find the following items:
1.3 pennies
2. A squishy pillow (with a pillowcase)
3. A rolling pin (If you don’t have that, a can or a bottle will do!)
4. A water glass
5. A spoon
6. A piece of bread

You should be sitting at a hard, flat surface for this story

Writing Our Own Story!

*Let’s work together and create our own story for Touching Stories. The only thing you need to bring is yourself.

shelby

Shelby Reese Promoted to Day Services Supervisor

Please join us in congratulating Shelby Reese on her recent promotion to Day Services Supervisor.

Hi everyone! My name is Shelby Reese and I am the new Day Services Supervisor. I grew up mainly in New Mexico, but have also lived in Texas, Arizona, and now, Colorado. I have wanted to live in Colorado for most of my life, so I am so happy to finally be here!

I have a bit of a unique background- I got my bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico State University and started working at a Nuclear Power Plant outside of Phoenix right out of college. It only took 3 years working as an engineer to realize that my work was not enriching my life or allowing me to grow as a person. I made a huge leap of faith, uprooted my life to Colorado and decided to try out a career centered around helping people!

I started out as a DSP in July of 2019 and soon found out how a job helping people can quickly change your perspective on life. I was no longer just a number at a huge company, but someone who could make a difference in the lives of an under-represented and misunderstood population. I would leave work happy, fulfilled, and proud of what I had done for the day. In March of this year, I had the incredible opportunity to transition to Staffing Coordinator. In this position, I was able to pair my process-oriented mind set with my compassion for helping people. It has been so much fun to help create and implement a hiring and training process.

In my next role, as Day Services Supervisor, I hope to continue developing new skills, overcome new challenges, and, most importantly, ensure our clients are receiving meaningful sessions with our DSPs. I am very grateful for the opportunities to grow my career here at Support.

In my free time, I love live music, hiking, camping, snowboarding, traveling, and, of course, dogs.

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A Note From Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

To: All Support, Inc. Staff, Families, and Providers

From: CEO Bentley SmithIn light of recent events over this past week including another incident of social injustice, I want to acknowledge the impact that this has on our entire Support, Inc. network, and especially our Black community. With these types of events, compounded by the pandemic, wildfires, and even hurricanes, it makes for a trying time. But through these trying times I am encouraged by the growing support from key communities, along with the efforts of our own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council that was created in July. Having a group of dedicated Support, Inc. staff focused on navigating these times gives me comfort and encouragement. Below, I would like to share a communication from this group:

To our Support Inc. Community,

We are saddened by the continued display of social injustice in our communities. In our current social climate, our company has committed ourselves to answering the call for creating change. Supported and encouraged by Founder Dennis Kirkman and CEO Bentley Smith, our company wants to dedicate resources in time, presence, education, and financial support to variety of social justice issues. Our first step was to create a committee of Support Inc. employees ranging from Directors to DSP’s and across our various departments.

Support Inc. has chosen to create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Effective 7/1/2020, Support Inc. embarked on a mission to address, explore, educate, learn about, and respond to the diversity of the human experience. To do so, we have created a DEI Council and Committee to identify ways to impact our community and improve equality both inside our organization and outside of it.

Guided by a set of ideals, this council strives to encourage and support our company’s full understanding of diverse cultural perspectives and backgrounds by listening to personal experiences and calling on the use of critical thinking, empathy, and a deeper appreciation of others. Additionally, we will work to create an inclusive, equitable, culturally competent, and supportive environment where employees model behavior that enriches our community.

Our objective is to lead and hold the organization accountable in the incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the work at Support Inc.

Our DEI Initiative is Guided by several ideals:

  • Be present and respect the space
  • Share your experiences, use “I” statements
  • Assess your safety and use your discernment
  • he stories of others are theirs to share, maintain confidentially and trust among the group
  • Step up, step back
  • If you experience yourself making judgements, ask yourself where those feelings came from
  • Consider and address the impact of actions rather than focusing on your intentions
  • Consider your privilege
  • Acknowledge pain or offense in the moment using “ouch” and have the option to discuss it or not at that time
  • Confront, critique, and challenge your discomfort

We have defined Diversity our Core Principles:

Definitions

Diversity: The range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values systems, national origin, political beliefs, and cultures.

  • Diversity means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. It’s a set of conscious practices that seek to understand and appreciate the interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.

Equity: Ensuring that everyone has support and access to the resources needed to be successful and identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of communities most impacted by systemic oppression.

  • Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions and systems, as well as in the distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society and institution.
  • Equity differs from equality. Equality refers to treating everyone the same but does not necessarily lead to equitable outcomes because diverse communities have diverse needs and have faced varying obstacles and inequities.

Inclusion: Ensuring that people of all backgrounds, identifies, abilities, perspectives, and beliefs have an equal opportunity to belong, achieve, and contribute to their communities. An inclusive organization and community promote and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect where all people are recognized for their inherent worth and dignity, talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living.

Cultural Competence: An understanding of how organizations and individuals can respond respectfully and effectively to people from all cultures, economic statuses, language backgrounds, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, gender identifications, sexual orientations, veteran statuses and other characteristics in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values the worth, and preserves the dignity, of individuals, families and communities.

Meeting weekly, our objective is to create change amongst a wide scope of issues experienced in our community. That scope is vast and encompasses a lot of aspects, which can be a large weight to carry and one we are excited to do so.

Our Scope

The committee will guide the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion at our institution through the following:

  1. Assessing the implementation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan
  2. Monitoring the development, implementation, and evaluation of standards for cultural competence for employees and care givers
  3. Providing input on organizational policies and procedures to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues
  4. Focus on organizational policies and procedures to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and make recommendations when appropriate
  5. Evaluating and recommending solutions where organizational inequities exist
  6. Informing and consulting with clients, caregivers, contractors, employees, and leadership regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  7. Ensuring the maintenance and dissemination of best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion in institutional policies, teaching, training, hiring, and retention of employees and contractors
  8. Serving as a resource for guidance and consultation regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion issues for employees, clients, caregivers and contractors
  9. Disseminating information about ongoing professional development training around diversity, equity, and inclusion for employees and contractors
  10. Seeking regular feedback from contractors, caregivers, clients and employees to inform decision-making and understand opportunities for improvement
  11. Sharing the work of the committee with the Support Inc. community

To date; our group has created a DEI Charter to guide our efforts, we have created a questionaries’ that will be available to our community for feedback in the creation of initiatives, reviewed our implemented Discrimination Policy, and created a Further Education List for DEI initiatives to be distributed soon. Additionally, we are developing a strategic plan to address trainings and internal/external initiatives.