Choices Summer 2016
Community Options believes in the dignity of every person, and in the freedom of all people to experience the highest degree of self-determination. Embracing this philosophy, Community Options provides housing, support services and advocacy assistance to help empower people with disabilities.
Trustee Gail Balph Gordon and Senator Robert Gordon Honored at Spring Golf Classic
On Monday, May 23rd, Community Options hosted a Spring Golf Classic at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, NJ. With perfect weather, the golfers enjoyed a great afternoon of golf and fellowship. At dinner, Community Options’ Trustee Gail Balph Gordon and Senator Robert Gordon were awarded Community Options’ highest honor, the Betty Pendler Award.
Betty Pendler was widely recognized for her relentless pursuit to provide individuals with disabilities a chance to enjoy all that life has to offer. The Betty Pendler Award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the mission of Community Options: To develop housing and employment supports for persons with disabilities.
Both Gail and Robert Gordon have a long history of advocating for individuals with disabilities. Gail serves on the Community Options Enterprises (COE) Board and has extensive expertise in crisis management, community relations, and political affairs.
Senator Gordon, who serves the 38th Legislative District in the New Jersey State Senate, also serves on the NJ Health and Human Services committee, and has long shared the same views as Community Options regarding opportunities for individuals with disabilities. He has utilized his position as Senator to advocate for the dignity of every person, regardless of disability.
Because of avid supporters like Gail and Senator Robert Gordon, Community Options is able to continue to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to have an impact in their respective communities.
Thinking of Buying Flowers?
Clarence’s Hole-in-One Interview
Clarence came to Community Options for assistance with finding competitive employment. He interviewed and was hired May 13, 2016 at the Fort Jackson Golf Club! Clarence washes and maintains the golf carts as well as drives them around, interacting with the golfers. He also gets to play two rounds of golf per month for free. At first, Clarence only wanted to work in a print shop since he had worked in a similar job in high school. However, after meeting and interviewing with Mr. Matt, the manager of the Golf Club, he accepted the job. Clarence works 32 hours a week. After working there only a month, Clarence’s colleagues consider him part of their team.
Amanda, Employed and Planning a Vacation
In December 2013, Community Options assisted Amanda in getting an interview with Brian Mueller, owner and manager of Blue Coast Burrito in Cookeville, TN. At the interview, Brian offered Amanda a job washing dishes three days a week. It wasn’t long before Brian saw great potential in his new hire and asked her to work additional days and added responsibilities to her position. Amanda has now been working at Blue Coast Burrito for over 2 years. She is a valued employee, appreciated by management, other employees and customers. Amanda’s hours have recently increased again and she now receives a portion of the restaurant’s tip pool each week. As a result of her hard work, Amanda is planning a vacation this summer. She is thinking of going to the beach or to Walt Disney World. Community Options is very proud of Amanda’s success!
More about Amanda Here.
Welcome Home in Texas!
The Community Options staff in Dallas has been very busy this past winter and spring with the transition of five new individuals into homes.
Brian, Johnny and Jarmacus moved into their new homes in Carrollton, TX, while Kathleen and Adrian each moved into their new homes in Garland, Texas. All five individuals are enjoying their new homes and thoroughly enjoy being an integral part of a community.
“I am so happy and proud of the five newest members to our family. As well, I am proud of my team for their hard work to make these transitions happen,” said Jeni Greene, Executive Director of Dallas, Texas. Welcome home to Brian, Johnny, Jamarcus, Kathleen and Adrian!
Cupid’s Chase Corner
Febuary 11, 2017
Registration for Cupid’s Chase 5k opens in July! Now taking place in more than 30 locations, there’s no excuse not to participate! Register early to receive early bird savings. And now, the more money you raise the more Cupid’s Chase swag you will receive.
Community Options Enterprises Transforms
Community Options Enterprises has recently undergone a transformation in its infrastructure. In an effort to improve its operational efficiency, changes have been made in the organizational structure. COE has appointed Dina Casalaspro as Managing Director of Employment & Development Services. She provides oversight to all COE operations. Andrew Park continues to oversee all operations of the entrepreneurial businesses as Managing Director. In addition, three Regional Directors, covering the northern, central, and southern regions, will provide day-to-day oversight of all meaningful day habilitation programs, School To Employment Program (STEP) and supported employment in their respective regions. Yasmin Qazilbash has been appointed Regional Director of the southern region. Meghan Hunter has recently been promoted to Regional Director of the central region. Katie Valle has been hired as Regional Director of the northern region.
“Through this reorganization, we hope to grow and expand all our employment services by increasing our contracts with local high schools, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Division of Developmental Disabilities,” says Svetlana Repic-Qira, Regional Vice President of New Jersey. “We want to assist more individuals in developing their skills to attain and maintain gainful employment. I feel confident that with this team in place, we will be able to accomplish that.”
The Red Ribbon Academy, the specialized medical day program in Wayne, NJ, continues to thrive. The Red Ribbon Academy has been widely received as a quality program for individuals with complex medical needs. Due to its success, a second program is being developed in Hillsborough, NJ. This program is scheduled to open this summer. Ayesha Patrick has been appointed Managing Director of the Red Ribbon Academy and will oversee efforts to expand the program.
Our Leaders Matter: Executive Training and Development at COI
Community Options, (COI) is investing in the future of the organization by providing high potential executive level staff with a chance to develop and hone their leadership and management skills and competencies. Community Options has partnered with Duke University Management Training and Corporate Education Group (CEG) to provide certificate programs for individuals and organizations seeking to optimize performance through professional development. The courses offered through the Duke University and CEG Alliance encompass key executive level competencies such as performance management, advanced leadership, strategic thinking, communicating effectively, and
leading change initiatives.
Community Options takes great pride in offering its executive staff Leadership Certifications from Duke University and CEG. Thus far, eleven executives have completed and provided positive feedback. According to Jeni Greene, the Dallas region Executive Director, “The Leadership Certification Program provided me the tools to be a more effective manager. I’m able to use many of the tools in my operation to instill a high performing team”. Another Executive Director from the Philadelphia region, Nick High, believes “the program has given me the opportunity to look at my leadership style with a critical lens. It has provided me with the ability to focus on both leading a team today and continuing to build one for the future”. Other Executives in the program were able to immediately put into practice what they learned and have also shared their learnings with their respective management teams in order to develop their team’s leadership skills. Meredith Quinn, Executive Director for Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, thinks “the program has become a wonderful resource for me that I can now utilize in Management Training for my team”. Community Options is committed to strengthening Directors so that they can successfully lead the organization into the future.
Community Options’ Expansion into Maryland
In November 2015, Community Options began establishing an operation in Rockville, Maryland. Community Options opened their first home in Maryland on February 29th, 2016. Soon thereafter, three people with disabilities were living in their new home.
The Maryland office has since renovated and opened up additional homes in the Rockville/Silver Spring area. Community Options supports twenty-four individuals and has six beautiful homes. In addition to residential services, Community Options also provides supported employment services, personal supports, and has two day programs in Montgomery and Howard Counties.
The Maryland team looks forward to continued growth and success.
Read more here.
The Daily Plan It West Opens
Community Options opened up its first Daily Plan It nineteen years ago in Princeton, NJ. Today, Community Options now operates four Daily Plan Its in New Jersey: Princeton, Morristown, Moorestown, and the Daily Plan It West located at the National Office in Princeton.
The Daily Plan It West, the newest location, offers ten offices, a state-of-the-art conference room, guest reception services to tenants and provides access to a fully equipped copy center to serve local business owners and executives looking for an office to rent.
In addition to being a great office space for tenants and their businesses, Daily Plan It West in Princeton is designed to support people with disabilities in a day habilitation program that offers meaningful activities.
For more information regarding this Daily Plan It or other locations, please contact Andrew Park at Andrew.Park@comop.org
Save the Date
A celebration of Community Options' 20 years of service in New York City.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
six o’clock in the evening
Cocktails, dinner and silent auction