As we near the end of 2019, I have been thinking on all that we have accomplished as an agency in the last 12 months. Creating an exhaustive list would be impossible. Each of the Individuals, Students, and Clients we have supported, educated, and nurtured has spent the last year growing and developing in unique and profound ways. These small victories, success stories, and transformational moments are what motivates each of us every day. There are literally thousands such stories and are too numerous to list here. A few agency milestones, though, rise to the top. I’d like to take a moment to share so that we can reflect on them together.
Two IPPI employees, Nicole Dufour (NH) and Marian Mulbah-Poquee (MD), were recipients of ANCOR’s 2019 DSP of the Year award. Chosen from nearly 350 nominees, Nicole and Marian were selected for their exemplary dedication to the work, creativity and innovation.
Connecticut and Massachusetts operations each achieved The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) accreditation this year. Massachusetts received Quality Assurances Accreditation and joins Connecticut, which received this three-year accreditation in 2016. Connecticut officially achieved CQL’s Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation this year as well. IPPI’s partnership with CQL gives our agency a framework for providing quality, person-centered support and enhancement through self-assessments, reviews, interviews, on-site visits, focus groups, data analysis, ongoing support and more.
Our board of directors has two new faces. Larcina Carrington Wynn, president and owner of Carrington Financial Services, LLC, joined the board in September. Josh Mello, a realtor with KW Pelletier, RE, joined the board in July. For more than 20 years, Mrs. Wynn has provided accounting and financial services to the New Haven, Connecticut community. Ms. Wynn is the agency’s first African American to serve on the board of directors. Mr. Mello, a former elementary school teacher and currently a successful real estate agent, offers the agency a unique perspective of the geographical area in which IPPI-MA operates. For the first time, IPPI’s board now has representation from each of our states, ensuring that the unified agency perspective is embraced throughout the entire organization.
In June, IPPI officially opened Pieces of Wonder (POW) Center for Behavior Services in Maryland. The center offers applied behavior analysis (ABA) services for young children who have been diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum. To date, the center has 16 children enrolled and continues to grow.
In New Hampshire, IPPI continues to receive requests to serve more Individuals. Work is, therefore, underway to expand into the Manchester area. By opening an office in Manchester, we will increase capacity to better serve the needs of the community.
We began providing mental health counseling in Vermont, with the birth of the Vermont Center for Wellness. The outpatient clinical practice, based out of the Vermont office, just wrapped up a five-week workshop series. The series included clinicians from throughout the agency and provided workshop participants the opportunity to explore a range of topics.
The agency committed to pay increases for our direct support staff this year. All of you who provide direct care and support are the valuable foundation of our organization. We want to support you and know how much you are valued. We will continue to make efforts to better compensate all direct care/service providers in the agency and are committed to a $15 minimum wage for all employees by 2021.
As you can see from the list above, 2019 certainly was a year of accomplishment. I am looking forward to the new year and its promise for the agency.