Empower Recognized as Provider of Choice
Whether it’s receiving state-wide recognition for one of its DSPs, presenting on innovative inclusion programming at the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) conference or being sought as a partner of choice by other organizations, Empower is rising to become a leader in the provision of individualized supports that help people live the lives they choose.
Last month, at Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State annual conference, Ernestine Gayle was honored with the statewide Robert Schonhorn Direct Support Professional of the Year award. Ernestine was selected for this honor because of the love and care that she shows each person she supports who live in one of Empower’s homes. She is driven by the relationships she has built with them. Her greatest satisfaction comes when she teaches the people she supports to do something for themselves. Beyond this important work, Ernestine also is a role model for her co-workers, uplifting them with her positive outlook and showing them the importance of infusing love into the care they provide. Ernestine’s influence is reflected in the fact that the home where she works has the highest employee retention rate of any of Empower’s 11 homes. Ernestine is one of the reasons why Empower is increasingly regarded as a provider of choice in the Western New York region.
Also in October, Empower was one of twenty-six presenters at the sold-out Council on Quality and Leadership conference held in Baltimore, MD. Director of Managed Care Readiness Eric DesSoye and Director of Staff Development and Learning Brandon Jerla along with Jackie McGrath spoke about how involving people who are supported by the agency in new employee interviews and orientations has improved Empower’s recruitment and retention processes. DesSoye who led Empower’s successful effort to earn CQL accreditation in 2018 offered insights into what needs to be done on the back-side of accreditation to move a service provider towards increased inclusion and person-centeredness. Jerla outlined how he began involving people supported in Empower interviews and orientations, and the positive impact their presence has had on employee retention. As a person who is supported by Empower and who regularly assists Jerla with these activities, McGrath highlighted how the experience has improved her personal growth and made her feel like she is more a part of Empower.
Increasingly, Empower is being approached to partner with organizations on projects that add opportunities for people in the community. For example, as a result of its years of collaboration with New York Education Department Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation, Empower was asked to implement a program called Steps to Work at Niagara-Wheatfield High School. Lisa Lindamer who is a school counselor there supported Empower staff by coordinating orientations and providing encouragement to participants. So far, over twenty Steps to Work students obtained paid summer employment and demonstrate improved confidence and communication skills. Lindamer was honored at Empower’s Living the Values luncheon on October 25 along with four other people and organizations that are part of additional collaborations in which Empower has engaged.
Building on its sixty-year service history, Empower employs caring staff like Ernestine who provide the very best care to the people it supports, involves people it supports in an innovative ways to improve agency business and partners with an increasing number of organizations on programs that improve lives. We look forward to the next sixty years of service.