IPPI’s Vermont Center for Wellness brings outpatient mental health counseling services to area residents

Our recently opened Vermont Center for Wellness in Berlin, VT provides individual, family, and group counseling services to area residents in central Vermont.

Our 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.

Partnerships with other mental health providers and agencies are important to us. We take a relational approach to building our list of stakeholders and referral partners. We strive to be collaborative, strengths-based and take a non-competitive approach to serving the area’s mental health needs.

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IPPI Achieves CQL Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation

Group of people at a meeting

IPPI staff, stakeholders, and individuals collaborate to transform supports and services.

Meriden, CT – IPPI Connecticut has been awarded the four-year Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. This award confirms that the organization embraces person-centered solutions to improve the quality of life for people receiving supports and services.

IPPI works with 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, which provides creative and dynamic service for the people cared for by the agency.

“The CQL Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation is a great honor for this agency that was achieved because of the hardworking staff, stakeholders, and the people served by the agency who dedicate themselves to a shared vision of transforming IPPI’s supports and services,” said Lou Giramma, IPPI’s CEO. “CQL has helped our agency shine a light on what we do well and provides us with a path towards improved service for everyone in our care.”

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IPPI Massachusetts celebrates staff at annual Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony

Staff at Employee Appreciation Awards dinner.

(Left – Right) Harvey Rodriguez, Christine Lowe, Lissette Perez, Jason Burdett.

IPPI Massachusetts held its annual Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony on June 20th at the Colonial Hotel in Gardner, MA. The staff was treated to a barbeque dinner and a free raffle. The highlight of the night, however, was the awards ceremony.

Each year IPPI employees and providers have the opportunity to nominate anyone they believe is deserving of an Employee Appreciation award. The award recognizes those who represent the core values of the agency.

We’re proud to announce this year’s winners! Congratulations to all of you!

Direct Support Professional Award – Residential: Benjamin Danquah
Presented to residential services staff members who have consistently performed above expectations over the last year.

“Ben is the consummate professional, always identifying the next steps and working toward solutions that support Lunenburg.”

Direct Support Professional Award – Day Program: Amayra Davila 
Presented to day program staff members who have consistently performed above expectations over the last year.

“Amayra meets the individuals where they are at, gently coaches and pushes them to challenge themselves and is a supportive instructor, job coach and caregiver for the individuals she supports.”  

Continue reading for the full list of award recipients.

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Christine Lowe graduates the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Institute

Join us in congratulating Christine Lowe, a recent graduate of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership Institute (CLI). Christine serves as the Asst. Director of Residential Services for IPPI in Massachusetts.

Christine was one of eighteen applicants chosen, from a field of 400, to participate in the nine-month CLI program. Applicants are chosen based on their history of demonstrating the potential to lead within business or community, are considered high performers and on a leadership track, are committed to the success of his or her sector and community, and able to see beyond their own position to understand the influence she/he has on success of company and community, among other criteria.

The 2019 CLI graduating class was honored at the Chamber’s 35th annual Business Meeting held this June. The Chamber states, “The best leaders know that training their successors to be competent, knowledgeable and well-connected community leaders is crucial for the North Central Massachusetts community’s economic vitality. The Community Leadership Institute was developed to support access to the region’s many organizations, industries and business leaders as part of the succession plan not only for individual businesses but for the community at large in this 21st-century technology and knowledge-driven economy.”

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IPPI clinical team honored with the Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) Network’s 2019 Outstanding Applied OBM Interventions award

Liz Sellinger (last on right), Katie Cyr (2nd from right), Tamara Shook (4th from right)

IPPI clinicians Elizabeth Sellinger, Director of Education and Behavior Analysis Services; Katie Cyr, Program Director; and Tamara Shook, Clinical Supervisor, spearheaded a three-year project and an on-going effort to empower employees through a comprehensive performance management plan at the IPPI Learning Academy in Connecticut.

The Learning Academy, with locations in Stratford and Naugatuck, serves students in kindergarten through grade twelve with a variety of disabilities including autism, emotional disturbance, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities. Referrals to the school are made by school districts and/or parents.

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Mid-Atlantic Human Service Corporation Opens First of its Kind Center For Kids with Autism in Forest Hill, MD

Pieces of Wonder (POW) Center for Behavior Services ribbon cutting

Lou Giramma (IPPI CEO), Sandy Chilton – (MD State Dir.), Kristen Colyer – (MD Dir. Children’s Services), Mike Chater (IPPI Board Chair).

On Wednesday, June 12th, Mid-Atlantic Human Service Corporation opened the Pieces of Wonder (POW) Center for Behavior Services. The center will offer early interventions for children up to the age of six who have received a diagnosis of autism and have been recommended for intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services.

At Wednesday’s open house and ribbon cutting, nearly 100 people visited the center, touring treatment rooms, learning about the services offered and hearing from agency leadership about its vision for the work ahead.

POW Center is the first of its kind in Harford County and will provide access to families and children who would not otherwise have access to these types of services. “Our staff will help our children learn to talk and communicate, learn life skills like going to the bathroom and getting dressed, social skills such as making and playing with friends,” said Kristen Colyer, Director of Children Services for Mid Atlantic Human Service. “We’re going to transform the lives of the children that we serve and I’m proud to be a part of that service.”

Mid-Atlantic Human Service Corporation is a division of The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. (IPPI), which provides services to adults and children with developmental disabilities and other special needs in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont.

“Our mission is to build strong communities by empowering individuals, and I can’t think of a better way to build community than to work with kids so that they can grow to be healthy, powerful adults,” said Lou Giramma, IPPI CEO. “It is the foundation and building blocks of any community. This is a momentous occasion.”

View the Grand Opening Photo Album here

To learn more about the Pieces of Wonder Center for Behavior Services, visit www.ippi.org/powcenter 

About Mid Atlantic Human Service Corporation, a division of The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc.

The mission of The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. (IPPI) is to build strong communities by empowering individuals. For more than three decades IPPI, a non-profit human service agency based in Vermont, has provided treatment and supports to people living with developmental disabilities and special needs throughout New England and Maryland. For more information, visit www.ippi.org

IPPI foster parent Ellen McDermott receives the Connecticut Alliance of Foster & Adoptive Families (CAFAF) 2019 Outstanding Foster Parent award

Ellen (center) receiving her award. Ellen (left) and IPPI Clinical Case Manager, Angela Ferrucci.

Our Permanency Services Division is thrilled to announce that longtime IPPI foster parent Ellen McDermott was honored by the Connecticut Alliance of Foster & Adoptive Families (CAFAF) as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Foster Parent award. The award recognizes outstanding foster parents based on nominations from the fourteen Dept. of Children and Families offices working with foster families in Connecticut. Ellen was nominated by social worker Cynthia Putney, of the Waterbury, CT office.

IPPI Clinical Case Manager, Angela Ferrucci, who has been working with Ellen for over fifteen years, had this to say, “Ellen is one of our most experienced and dedicated parents. Her ability to work with this challenging population, understand their behavioral and clinical needs, and advocate for them is admirable. Her commitment to sticking with them through extremely challenging times is commendable and embodies the true meaning of permanency. Ellen’s ability to work collaboratively with outside providers and various systems of care is amazing; she is an excellent representation of our agency. I cannot think of anyone that deserves this recognition more than Ellen.”

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Erica Marriott’s story is one of empowerment and determination.

Overcoming incredible challenges, Erica is running towards a very bright future. One of her biggest fans, IPPI case manager Abiba Jimma, couldn’t be happier. Erica says she is grateful for Abiba’s help and support during her tenure with the Foster Care program at IPPI. Erica has found the family she was searching for. She said of foster mother Isatu, an IPPI Direct Support Professional, and her son, “I have a family that isn’t related to me by blood, but they’re my family.” Watch Erica’s story by NBC Connecticut.

IPPI foster parent Pauline McRae receives the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation’s 2019 Excellence in Caregiving award

Pauline McRae (center) with her niece, daughter and Gordon and Maggie Hartman at awards ceremony.

Pauline McRae (center) with her niece, daughter, and Gordon and Maggie Hartman.

Recognition honors caregivers with “hearts of gold” who go above and beyond for their clients and friends with special needs

IPPI’s Permanency Services Division is thrilled to announce that Pauline McRae was presented with the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation’s 2019 Excellence in Caregiving award. Joining twenty-four other recipients, Pauline received her award at Morgan’s Wonderland Resort in San Antonio, TX on April 1, 2019.

Pauline and her husband Anthony specialize in fostering youth with special needs. For close to two decades, Pauline and Anthony have provided exceptional care to several children. One child has been with the family since 2001.

The couple parents with compassion and integrity. They are committed advocates who serve as a voice to the youth they serve. Pauline makes each child feel like a valued member of the family. The youth in her care thrive in an environment where they are respected and appreciated, gaining the confidence to participate in activities they may have shied away from previously.

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ANCOR names Nicole Dufour and Marian Mulbah-Poquee DSP of the Year 2019


Described as “fearless and trustworthy” by her colleagues, Nicole Dufour is a strong and compassionate advocate for the individuals she supports.

For the last 25 years, Nicole has been the home provider for an individual with intensive support needs. When he first came to the agency, “people were afraid of him because of how dangerous his behavior was,” while his limited vision and verbal skills made communication nearly impossible. Nicole was unwavering in her belief that this individual could live a fulfilling life, so she began working hard on his communication, behavior and self-soothing skills. Today, she has not only helped him to safely and meaningfully socialize with family and friends, but has taught others how to interpret his preferences. One colleague who witnessed this transformation happily reported that he now has “numerous people in his life who appreciate and value his presence.”

Nicole’s natural talent for compassionate service combined with over 30 years of experience as a DSP makes her an obvious candidate for leadership. She has served as a mentor among her agency peers, a statewide trainer, a member of several teams committed to improving service quality and staff retention initiatives, and an effective Transition Coordinator. When an individual with intensive needs transitions to her agency, Nicole works with the team to learn about the individual’s priorities, select a DSP who is a good match for their needs, and provide tailored training for support staff.

It’s no wonder, then, why Nicole was named New Hampshire’s 2019 DSP of the year! they are and what is most important to them—and making sure that their voices are heard.

Watch Nicole’s ANCOR interview here.


Described as a “role model for other DSPs in the agency,” Marian Mulbah-Poquee is a strong and silent supporter for the individuals she serves. She lets them take the lead and “dictate what they want for themselves,” then figures out how she can assist them.

A critical part of facilitating independence is supporting individual choice. Marian encourages the women she serves to pay for their own purchases and handle their own money. In this way, they not only exercise agency over their shopping choices, but also learn about financial responsibility. Marian also supports autonomy inside the home, where she teaches them safety skills, gardening and basic home care so that they can spend more time living independently.

These skills for self-advocacy and autonomy translate into civic participation in the public sphere: each of these women is an active participant in a local advocacy group. The group provides the women with an opportunity to learn about issues affecting their community and provide their opinions. The women have become so active in the group that Marian supported their efforts to attend Developmental Disability Day in Annapolis, so that they could advocate for themselves with lawmakers.

Marian wants the individuals that she supports to be involved in their community in as many different ways as possible. As a tireless advocate for “her ladies,” Marian provides them with the space and choice to lead full and independent lives.

Watch Marian’s ANCOR interview here.