The 25th Anniversary of HMEA's Annual Awards night was recently held at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Milford, MA. Over 360 friends, family members, supported individuals, community citizens and staff attended the celebration and they heard some amazing stories of accomplishments and achievements that were quite awe inspiring.
Larry Tummino, retiring Deputy Director of DDS, was given the
Larry Tummino addresses the crowd as he accepts this Lifetime Achievement Award
Achievement Award for his more than 40 years of helping steer the developmental disabilities community out of the dark era and into the light.
David Hanwell, who has served on the Franklin HMEA Human Rights committee for 26 years, was given the Dr. Francis White Human Rights Award for his untiring advocacy for people with disabilities. Dr. White was the parent of a supported individual at HMEA and a steadfast contributing member of the Worcester area HMEA Human Rights Committee.
Debra Ristaino and Ethel Wescott from the Rhode Island State Council of the Walmart Foundation accepted the Corporate Foundation Award for the $40,000 grant given to TechACCESS of RI for materials and equipment to modernize their facility and increase capacity.
Michael Webb, head pharmacist at Family Pharmacy in Ashburnham, the staff at East Celebrity Elite Gym in Tewksbury, Thomas Houle, Food Service Director at Nashoba Regional School District and the staff at Kuehne & Nagel, Inc. of Franklin all received the Good Citizen Award for their support of individuals at HMEA.
Tara Tocci and Scott McKay, supported individuals at HMEA and Marita Street, from HMEA's IFFS program all received the Eric Rogers Memorial Award for achieving significant personal accomplishments by overcoming barriers and challenges with courage and determination.
Kari Dunlop, head teacher at the Darnell School and Patricia Lynch, IFFS Program case manager, both received the HMEA Award for their consistent outstanding contributions and commitment to high standards.
Gary Reid and Ron Campbell, both supported individuals in HMEA's Shared Living program and Hannah Carlson, former TechACCESS staff all received the Volunteer Award for their volunteer contributions to HMEA or the wider community.
Nicole Heidenheim, a teacher at the Darnell School, won the Board of Directors Award for significantly enriching the lives of the students she supports.
Brenda Diesso, Kathy Garland, Fern Masse and Carole Gaw, all Administrative Assistants in the Day Services programs, won the Team Award for effectively working together for the benefit of everyone supported.
Matthew Dunn and Shirley Chauvin, both with HMEA's Residential division, were presented with the Kevin McMullen Memorial Award for their 100% commitment to the people they support and seeing the best in every person and every situation.
James Mukundi from the TRACS program and Ricky Cavallini from the Hopedale employment program received the Outstanding Employee Award for their exemplary work efforts and ethics.
Valerie Berard received the Shared Living Provider Award.
Craig Marandola from Children's Services received the Kathy Gilchrist Memorial Award for his unyielding devotion to children and their families.
Also being recognized were two 30 year employees, Sue DeBlois, a Residential Coordinator and Luanne Sherman, a Residential Manager, as well as two 25 year employees, Bonnie Norton, a Behavorial Clinician and Morlu Marvie a Direct Care provider in an HMEA residence. Additionally, HMEA acknowledged 53 individuals it has supported for 25 or more years.
Ron Zullo recently joined the HMEA Board in support of HMEA's Finance Committee. His background as a CPA will serve HMEA well in this respect. Ron is the sole proprietor of his own accounting and taxation firm located in Norwood. His firm provides tax consulting and business advisory services to small businesses and their owners. Along with the traditional compliance work (tax return filings), he consults year-round, working closely with small businesses on both planning and compliance.
In 2014, after many years of working in an adjunct role, Ron accepted a full-time position as Lecturer in Taxation & Accounting at Northeastern University. He teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in the areas of taxation and accounting. Ron received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Bentley University. His volunteer work includes involvement in a nonprofit organization which focuses on securing educational rights for children with special needs. He currently resides in Norfolk with his wife and two children.
There's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now a #Giving Tuesday - a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It's a simple idea! Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Share your stories with us at www.facebook.com/hmeainc.
In the Summer 2014 issue of the HMEA Newsletter and on our website a Donor Satisfcation Survey was inserted. We thank the many readers who took the time to complete the survey. The 10 question survey was geared toward how HMEA communicates with its donors, and how often donations are requested. The results below clearly indicate that our supporters feel our donation practices are satisfactory.
The 10 questions asked were:
Q.1 Does HMEA communicate a clear message regarding our mission and the services we provide?
Q.2 Do our communications with you provide you with helpful information?
Q.4 HMEA depends on your financial support throughout the year. HMEA doesn't ask for contributions too often.
Q.5 I was thanked for my contribution(s) in a timely manner.
Q.6 HMEA asks me for appropriate gift amounts.
Q.7 HMEA cares about my needs as a donor.
Q.8 HMEA is in touch with me outside of requests for financial support
Q.9 I would recommend HMEA to my family, friends and associates as an organization to financially support.
Q.10 HMEA effectively informs me about the impact of my gift(s)
The results are:
Question 3 was a "yes" or "no" question and couldn't be tallied in the above graph, however the pie chart below indicates most people who completed the survey do make donations to HMEA.
Forming a Partnership with Garelick Farms in Franklin
In the fall, Garelick Farms, located less than 1 mile from HMEA's Franklin office, invited HMEA to attend a social cookout with all of their employees as a "Get to Know You" event. According to Garelick Farms General Manager, Kevin Begin, "as a company we wanted to support a local charity that is doing great work, helping people less fortunate in our communities where our employees live and work - HMEA is a perfect fit."
Garelick Farms has just under 600 employees at their Franklin plant, many of whom are "on the road" day in and day out. The chance to give back is hard but Kevin saw this as a way to start a long lasting relationship. HMEA CEO, Michael Moloney sees it also as a way for HMEA employees to help Garelick employees who have kids or family members with disabilities with resource sharing and referral supports.
Next up? An HMEA winter coat drive, then a holiday food drive, culminating in Team Garelick participating in HMEA's signature event, HMEA's Annual Independence Walk Run Roll & Stroll in May 2015.
(L-R kneeling) Ethel Wescott and Deb Ristaino from the RI State Giving Council Walmart presents a ceremonial check to Kelly Charlebois, TechACCESS Executive Director
TechACCESS of RI Holds Ribbon Cutting
In celebration of the work completed at TechACCESS of Rhode Island with the $40,000 grant received from the Rhode Island State Giving Council Walmart* Foundation, staff and individuals hosted a Ribbon Cutting ceremony in the fall.
Justin packaging cans at HMEA's Plainville Redemption Center
Janice and Jim Harvey have been giving to HMEA for just over 6 years in many different ways; through the annual appeal, the annual HMEA Independence Walk and Run event, donations direct to the program and supporting HMEA events with their presence. Their son Justin attends HMEA's Hopedale program and as Janice puts it "When we give to HMEA, the funds are put to use immediately to enhance Justin's life, and when his life is enhanced, our entire family life is enhanced." Janice admits that it's really not a matter of how much they give - it matters more that they want to give when and how they can. She says "Justin really enjoys his employment through HMEA. He loves the dedicated and caring staff, his co-workers and friends. It is very rewarding to him and therefore to us as well."
NOW Open for Business...Custom Floral Arrangments for Your Holidays!
Just in time for the holidays, HMEA's Plainville Employment site opened its new florist shop on October 22nd! The Helping Hands Florist is a full service shop, which will be developing new job opportunties and teaching new skills to people with developmental disabilities. Its mission is dedicated to meeting all the customers floral needs while developing and promoting the creativity of our individuals, one arragment at a time!
The shop will be open Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (weekend and evening hours available by appointment only). Prices vary and cash, check or credit cards are accepted. Plan to stop between now and December 31st and receive $5.00 off your first order - just by mentioning you read about the shop in the Autumn 2014 issue of HMEA Newsletter! Come on by or call to select your beautiful centerpiece or bouquet for your holiday table!
HMEA staff at the Job Fair (l to r) Rea Kostopulos, Recruiter; Kor Amos, Staff Advocate; Michelle Donohue, VP of Human Resources; Jodie Toure, Hopedale Employment Supervisor; Tara Murphy and Heather Cutler, Millbury Employment and Day Hab Supervisors respectively.
HMEA Job Fair Proved to Be a Success
On Thursday, October 6th 2014, HMEA held a job fair at the Millbury Center location (6 Latti Farm Road). Company-wide positions were advertised as well as the opportunity to win $100 and $25 gas cards. At the end of the evening, close to 50 candidates attended the job fair. Those who attended were able to view a list of available openings, apply and interview on the spot. Many proved to be strong candidates who have continued with the interview process and are on their way to becoming HMEA staff.
Human Resources Recruiter, Rea Kostopulos reflected on the fair's success by saying "I had never done a job fair at the agency before, so I was anxious to see the outcome. But, I was relieved to find people flooding through the door at 4 o'clock. A team of five staff, including myself, were busy interviewing people straight through 7 pm. I couldn't be more pleased with the turnout and the quality of applicants we received. I am looking forward to planning HMEA's next job fair for early 2015."
Recently, disability advocates gathered at Fenway Park to witness the signing of three historic pieces of legislation by Governor Deval Patrick:
The Autism Omnibus Bill which included a requirement that MassHealth cover medically necessary treatments for children with ASD who are under 21 years old.
The Act Relative to Real Lives Bill which enables individuals with disabilities to determine how to spend their allocated dollars on services and supports they need.
The third bill, An Act Requiring National Background Checks requires that those working with people with developmental disabilities have national criminal background checks done in order to be employed.
For more than 50 years HMEA has provided exceptional services and supports to children and adults with developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges in more than 110 Massachusetts communities.