The POW Center for Behavior Services “Runs Wild for Autism”

The Pieces of Wonder (POW) Center for Behavior Services team did a great job getting out there and supporting the Pathfinders for Autism “Run Wild for Autism” event on Sunday. Thank you to all that participated! The event, held at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, featured a 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk to raise funds for autism awareness. The POW Center provides early intervention services for children up to age six that have been diagnosed with autism. Early intervention can impact multiple areas of a child’s life including communication, social skills, academics, and behavior challenges. At POW each child works one-on-one with a trained therapist on individualized goals that focus on developing these skills so that the child can participate as fully as possible with his or her family and community. Learn more about the POW Center HERE.

Amy Fiordelisi believes a positive self-image and identity empowers young women

Meet Amy Fiordelisi, best known as Amy Lisi, owner of Amy Lisi – Artist Collective in Hamden CT. Amy grew up in a family where she was surrounded by love and support and therefore, developed a strong sense of worth. It’s because of this love and support, especially from the woman in her family who were nurturers and mentors, that Amy was able to follow her passions and create a business where she can nurture others by helping them create a positive image and identity.

Amy Lisi – Artist Collective allows each of its stylists to grow and create in the comfort of an upbeat, collaborative environment. When a guest sits in Amy’s chair, she takes her inspiration from their personality and the experiences they share with her. Her goal is to offer a specialized service tailored to meet the needs of each individual guest. Her hope is to free them of insecurities, allowing their style to reflect who they are on the inside.

Amy shares the IPPI vision of empowering individuals. Through her business, Amy supports foster care awareness and offers young women in foster care the opportunity to participate in Positive Self-Care and Grooming workshops that focus on building positive self-identity and awareness.

Learn more about Amy’s work at her website.

Job Path Vocational Spotlight on Jill Buckley and Gariepy Furniture of Leominster, MA  

two women sitting together

Jill Buckley (left) with store manager Ann Marsh (right).

Jill, a participant in IPPI’s Job Path Program in Massachusetts, works in maintenance at Gariepy Furniture. Jill’s IPPI Job Coach approached the owner about hiring someone to do light cleaning in the shop, and Jill was hired in April 2015 and now is responsible for keeping all the furniture show rooms clean and ready for welcoming customers.

Ann Marsh, Gariepy Furniture store manager is “So glad Jill is here! We used to have to do all this cleaning on our own. With Jill’s help, we can concentrate on customers and sales.” Ann went on, “Jill’s work ethic is refreshing. She is reliable, respectful and conscientious – qualities that are hard to find.”

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Described by coworkers as warm, caring, dependable, and professional, Karen lives the IPPI mission every day

Shortly before 9:00am on any given weekday, individuals and staff start to gather outside the Electric Cafe coffee shop at our Massachusetts’s Day Program. They know that Direct Support Professional (DSP) Karen Veneziano will be behind the window to serve up a number of breakfast selections along with her trademark smile.The café, run and managed by Karen, is open for an hour each day and is a popular social hub where individuals and staff have a chance to socialize and grab a bite to eat before starting their day.

Karen has been a DSP with IPPI for almost 9 years, working primarily in the IPPI community-based day program in Massachusetts. As an advocate of person-centered supports, Karen embraces the “no walls” concept of day habilitation which offers individuals the opportunity to participate in community life through planned activities.

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Another CQL Accreditation Achievement for IPPI in Connecticut | The Council on Quality and Leadership

Company photo collage

Meriden, CT – CQL | The Council on Quality and Leaderships posted an article on IPPI Connecticut’s recent accreditation, “IPPI Connecticut has a vision for the future that has been shaped in response to the needs of people receiving supports, families, and their community. This was reflected during the visit in focus groups, in-person reviews, interviews, and the stakeholder event,” says Michael Clausen, CQL Quality Enhancement Specialist. “We were able to see, hear, and directly experience how that vision plays out not only in services, but especially people’s lives.” Through various factors such as a talented and passionate staff, strong self-advocates, transparent approaches, embrace of best practices, and more, it was evident that IPPI remains focused on ongoing organizational transformation. They have expanded upon their people-first culture through language used by staff, organizational community integration efforts, and implementation of person-centered discovery practices.

Read the full CQL article HERE 

About CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership is an international nonprofit, virtual organization dedicated to the definition, measurement, and improvement of personal quality of life. CQL’s vision is a world of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people. Learn more about CQL by visiting:

About The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. provides services and supports to individuals of all ages who experience developmental disabilities. Founded nearly 40 years ago, IPPI’s mission to build strong communities by empowering individuals permeates the work of the agency, providing highly individuated care to everyone who turns to IPPI for support. IPPI’s service footprint spans throughout New England and in Maryland. Learn more about the transformational work happening in a community near you at

IPPI CFO, Erica Hare, recently appointed to a four-year term on the Vermont Commission on Women

We’re pleased to announce that our Chief Financial Officer, Erica Hare, has been appointed to The Vermont Commission for Women.

The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) is an independent non-partisan state government commission. The group is governed by 16 Commissioners and an Advisory Board and Council of representatives of 27 organizations serving girls and women in Vermont. The purpose of the VCW is to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls in Vermont.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of the furtherance of the work of the mission of the Commission on Women and contribute in any way that I can and be honored to do that,” stated Hare. Read the Times Argus article HERE.


The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. Hires New Chief Financial Officer

Montpelier, VT— The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. (IPPI) has hired Erica Hare as the agency’s new Chief Financial Officer. Erica will lead IPPI’s financial strategy as the agency continues to expand its service reach, unify its financial processes, and plan for future growth and development.

Hare brings nearly 20 years’ experience managing financial and administrative operations for several large nonprofits, including Academic Medical Centers in her native New York City. She is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where her portfolio included Finance, Human Resources, Fundraising and Alumni Affairs.

“We are pleased to welcome Erica to the IPPI team as our new CFO,” said Lou Giramma, CEO of IPPI. “Erica brings a wealth of experience in leadership of large nonprofit organizations, an extensive background in finance and strategic planning, as well as the leadership qualities needed to guide our agency into a new phase of responsible growth and development.”

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IPPI Connecticut hosts Ice Cream Social meet and greet for new foster parents

Man and woman attending Ice Cream Social

IPPI Connecticut’s Permanency Services Foster Care team’s licensing division hosted an Ice Cream Social on Tuesday evening for our new foster family applicants. The next step in the application process is completing a series of parenting classes that start in September. The classes are a requirement of the CT Department of Children and Families for fostering.

The meet and greet offered the group an opportunity to meet each other as well as the licensing team. One of our long time foster parents, Marilyn Jones, also joined the group to answer questions and share her experiences. Marilyn provided valuable insight into the challenges of understanding the trauma many of our youth in care have experienced and also spoke of the friendships she’s made along the way.

The night was a great success and we are grateful to those of you who have opened your hearts and your homes to do this transformative work. Learn more about our fostering with IPPI HERE

IPPI Business Systems Analyst, Ryan Sullivan, presents at the Therap Multi-State Provider Conference

Ryan Sullivan presenting at Therap Multi-State Conference

Business Systems Analyst, Ryan Sullivan (right, closest to screen), presenting.

IPPI Business Systems Analyst, Ryan Sullivan, along with IT Director, Scott Schulman, and MA Director of Administrative Services, Jennifer Peck, attended the Therap Multi-State Providers Conference last week in Denver, CO. Therap is a web-based electronic documentation application designed specifically for agencies supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The specialized conference offers an opportunity for Therap users from multi-state provider agencies to meet each other and key Therap staff in a small conference setting. Ryan presented our work with Domo, a business management platform. His presentation included dashboard creation and the integration of Human Resources, Financial and Therap data, enabling us to run analytics and other essential functions.

Tiffany L. Robinson, a former foster child, holds an MBA, founded a company, has a full-time job, and still makes time to give back to our youth in foster care

Meet Tiffany L. Robinson, MBA, social entrepreneur, CEO/Founder of Eloquent Ingenuity™ LLC, and Planning and Development Coordinator for the Community Action Agency of New Haven.

A native of New Haven County, Tiffany is a former foster child who spent 10 years in the foster care system due to a voluntary surrender by her biological parents. Her journey is one that many of our youth in foster care can relate to. The search for identity, the desire to belong, learning resilience, discovering independence and navigating self-awareness. Through determination, perseverance, and a passion for learning, Tiffany excelled.

Tiffany’s passion for learning, leadership and giving back, fueled her to create Eloquent Ingenuity™ LLC, which offers training and development to entrepreneurs.

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