IPPI CEO, Lou Giramma reflects on a transformational 2019

Colorful poster filled with ideas

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.

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Jason and Kristie Ward believe that healthy families make for strong communities

Meet Jason and Kristie Ward, founders of Ward Advocacy, LLC. In 2012, after both suffering job losses, Kristie and Jason started their business. Fueled by a passion to help children and families overcome life challenges to achieve their goals and with experience in special and general education and community support services, the Wards have grown their business to support Connecticut families through a variety of education services.

Ward Advocacy, LLC offers K-6 tutoring, special education advocacy, basic sign language lessons, and credentialed services for Therapeutic Support Staff (TSS), Support Staff (SS), Community Based Life Skills (CBLS) and Supervised Visitation/Parent Advisement support.

Jason and Kristie believe that healthy families make for strong communities and that is why the Wards support IPPI’s foster care program and are committed to spreading awareness of the need for foster families for youth in our community.

Learn more about Ward Advocacy online on their website, or on Facebook and Twitter.

IPPI’s “Twin Rivers Delivers” program receives grant from the Eventide Foundation

Twin Rivers Delivers receives grant check

Pictured left to right: Jessica Dannat, Katie Kelly, Dr. Dibble, Molly.

Katie Kelly, Project Director of our Twin Rivers Associates Day Program in Stratham, NH, receives a $15,000.00 grant from Dr. Burton Dibble, President of the Eventide Foundation.

The Eventide Foundation, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for housebound women in New Hampshire. We had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Dibble and learn more about his work in the seacoast community to provide resources to woman who have limited access to necessary goods and services.

For the seventh year in a row the Eventide Foundation has generously issued the grant to the Twin Rivers Associates Day Program for “Twin Rivers Delivers!” a free pick-up and delivery service for New Hampshire seacoast area residents. The program invites those who can’t get out into the community to use the free service to pick up and deliver essential items; groceries, prescriptions, personal care items etc. right to their door.

The Eventide Foundation’s annual grant provides the funding for this much needed program to continue. Hats off to Dr. Dibble and the Eventide Foundation for making a difference in the lives of so many!

Darryl’s story is one of transformation and healing. He understands how one caring adult can make all the difference in the life of a child.

Meet Darryl Pervis of DPERV’S TOP BBQ in Hamden, Connecticut. Darryl has a lot in common with our youth in foster care. When he was seven years old, his biological mother became ill and was unable to care for him. Darryl lived in kinship care with various relatives until his mother passed away when he was in his early teens.

Darryl struggled with the death of his mother, expressing his grief by rebelling. He saw the adults in his life as disciplinarians and rather than the nurturing, supporting presence he needed. Darryl began using drugs and committing petty crimes.

In 2007, Darryl was arrested and incarcerated. Darryl’s time in jail afforded him the time to study the Bible and his path was forever altered. Upon his release, Darryl sought out the individuals he had wronged and asked for forgiveness. He renewed his connection with several organizations that had been influential in his life. After incarceration, the Crest/Fellowship House, Shelter Plus, and the Continuum of Care offered Darryl the help he needed to get back on his feet.

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The Vermont Center for Wellness free workshop series wraps up with “Loss and Grief” workshop on December 11th

On December 11th the Vermont Center for Wellness will wrap up it’s free workshop series, that was offered this November and December, with a workshop on “Loss and Grief” that will be hosted by Michael Auyang, LMFT, the Director of Clinical Services at our Connecticut location. The workshop will be held at the center for wellness in Barre, VT.

The workshop series offered a a wide range of topics such as Exploring the Psyche, Impact of Trauma, Ethical Decision Making, and Psychology and Art. The workshop hosts in included IPPI clinicians Peter Burmeister, M.A. and Cyrus Patten, Ed.D., LICSW.

The series was structured so that attendees could chose to take all or any one, or more, of the individual workshops.

The Vermont Center for Wellness at IPPI opened this past summer in Barre, VT. The center provides individual, family, and group counseling services to area residents in central Vermont.

The goal is to supplement outpatient mental health services currently available by offering counseling services to treat common mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, relationships, life stresses, responses to critical or traumatic incidents, and similar issues.

In alignment with the mission of our parent organization, The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. (IPPI) the mission of the Vermont Center for Wellness is to build strong communities by empowering individuals to live their best life through evidence-based, compassionate, and effective counseling services.

Learn more about the Vermont Center for Wellness HERE

Register for the “Loss and Grief” workshop on December 11th HERE

Denise Williams specializes in empowering survivors of trauma through her wellness practice, Limitless 101

Meet Denise Williams, Chief Executive Officer, and founder of Limitless 101 in Simsbury, CT. Limitless 101 is a wellness practice offering transformational life coaching, gentle and restorative yoga, guided meditation, reiki and other wellness services.

Limitless 101 specializes in empowering survivors of trauma. While everyone can benefit from a regular wellness practice, Limitless 101 focuses on helping individuals who have experienced complicated or unfavorable relationships with their parents or caretakers, a rough break up with a partner, a divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, physical or emotional imbalance, and any other loss that caused that person to stop breathing, living, or believing in themselves.

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Team IPPI attends the 50th Anniversary CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership: Dare to Dream Conference

The 2019 CQL Conference: Dare to Dream was held this past October in Baltimore, MD. The journey of CQL began in 1969 to establish a new and innovative approach to understanding, assessing, and improving quality. The CQL celebrated their 50th Anniversary, and the conference was an opportunity to look back on their past, reflect on the present, and look forward to the future.

The conference used the previous 50 years to create context and perspective for where the human services field is going in the decades ahead. Best practices where explored to improve the quality of services, and in turn, the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, older adults, and youth.

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Destiny Brown, former foster child, serves as Administrator/Campus Director at Excel Academy, LLC.

Meet Destiny Brown, Administrator/Campus Director for the New Haven branch of Excel Academy, LLC. The academy is a specialized school that provides graduates with a strong foundation for careers in the health care industry.

Destiny is a former foster child, placed in foster care at birth because her biological parent struggled with substance dependency. After transitioning between a number of foster homes, Destiny found her forever home at age nine when her then foster mom adopted her.

Destiny thrived in a stable and loving environment. She completed high school, went on to earn her credentialing as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and started her career in the health care industry.

While working as a clinical scheduler, Destiny met Lynne Kravitz-Singley, a psychiatric nurse. Lynne had previously operated and developed the curriculum for a CNA program for the City of New Haven. When the program’s grant ended, Lynne decided to start her own school, focused on comprehensive medical career training for local residents.

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Like our foster families, Mishanda Harper believes in the importance of community when it comes to parenting

Meet Mishanda Harper. Mishanda is the chief executive officer and founder of Single Mom’s Alliance Inc. In her own quest for support and community as a single parent, Mishanda founded the Single Mom’s Alliance (SMA) to provide a venue to share resources, offer support, and connect woman who have shared experiences.

Mishanda founded SMA in 2018 and has been helping connect and inspire women through her work. Through a monthly support group, the women of SMA support one another through inspiring stories of courage and strength. SMA hosts events that bring single moms and allies together to build community.

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Connecticut Meet & Greet with community partners a dynamic and positive exchange of ideas

IPPI’s Connecticut Foster Care Permanency Services team hosted a Meet & Greet at our Hamden, CT office. This was a great networking opportunity for local businesses and entrepreneurs who share IPPI’s mission “To build strong communities by empowering individuals”.

The community partners had a chance to meet each other as well as IPPI administrators and department heads. Participants shared their individual missions as well as their vision for the future. The group brainstormed ideas and collaborated on how we could more effectively partner going forward to best support each other, the individuals we serve and our communities. We are grateful to all that took time from their busy schedules to attend!