Below are just a few stories of how we’ve helped clients create bright futures, enrich their lives and deal with challenges.
The journey of self-discovery and transformation that leads to greater independence is exactly why I love being a Support Coordinator. As part of Ross’ dedicated support system, I have watched him grow and thrive.
Getting to know him and understanding what he wants out of life has helped me work with Ross and his tremendously supportive mom to put together a team that is assisting Ross to reach new heights.
In the spring of 2021 Ross obtained a part-time job as a ride operator at Six Flags Great Adventure. Ross was rehired for the 2022 season and is now receiving supported employment services and transportation to work that are being paid for through his DDD Supports budget.
Ross has gained a great deal of independence over the last year, which has prompted him and his support team to begin the process of obtaining a housing subsidy. Ross was thrilled to hear about the different possibilities and has been working closely with his support team to find his dream apartment! It has been a joy guiding Ross in identifying and coordinating services to live his best life.- Rachel Baldwin, Support Coordinator
My client David ran into some issues with his social security payments that required assistance. As his SC, I assisted David with filling out an appeal with social security, navigating calls with SS administration and getting his issue resolved. The social security administration can be very confusing, and our agency is here to assist our clients in tasks that will benefit them while maintaining their independence. David values being able to do things on his own, so throughout this process, I provided assistance while still maintaining his autonomy. – Evonne Malnati, Support Coordinator
For quite a few years, Suzanne had a major medical condition which did not allow her to attend her work center with her friends, which made her feel left out. She would often ask about when she could return. Once her condition improved, her Support Coordinator was able to make a referral and see things through so that she could begin attending her favorite work center again. Suzanne is back to work and is very happy! – Suzanne’s mom
I am working with a married couple in the Supports Program. In review of their needs, I recommended a Supports Broker to them. They have been introduced to new community opportunities and federal programs such as getting approved for SNAP benefits. They did not realize how much it would help them until they received their EBT card and explored new nutritious foods and produce when they went grocery shopping. They are so happy that they have a variety of food options instead of solely relying on groceries from their nearby dollar store to feed a family of five. Additionally, I was also able to get them a new bed and a full bedding set due to a recent emergency. They are very thankful for their services through Spectrum Care Management and Counseling and look forward to exploring new community services. – Nicole Bassolino, Support Coordinator
Tony was an employee at Shop Rite for nearly twenty years, however, recently became unhappy and wanted to explore other employment options. Tony was linked to career planning services and received assistance from a job coach to determine new employment options. Beginning in January 2022, Tony gained employment at a Starbucks that is not an easy commute from his house. Transportation services were arranged and Tony contacts them directly to schedule his rides for work. Tony is now very happy and enjoys working at Starbucks. He calls his Support Coordinator after his shifts to talk about his workday and how great of a job he is doing. – Toni Lyn Brindisi, Support Coordinator
Mike is in the Supports Program and lives at home with his single mother. Mike suffers from frequent, debilitating grand mal seizures so his mom is hesitant to have him attend a day program. With my support, Mike has been able to access services he and his family never thought possible through his DDD budget. Wanting to keep him active and in shape, the team decided to reach out to a local MMA studio to see if they would take Mike as a member. I was able to work with the head of the studio, who had no prior experience working with someone with DDD services and get them set up to be paid directly out of his budget so that his mom didn’t have to pay for it. Mike has since been enjoying his MMA classes after being medically cleared.
He is also enjoying weekly music therapy classes (with door-to-door transportation included), thanks to his DDD supports budget. The biggest achievement with Mike, however, will be coming in the spring semester of 2019. I helped he and his mother go through the application process at Bloomfield College as a non-matriculated student. Attending a big college is something his mother never thought possible. I accompanied and helped Mike and his mom navigate through the campus tour to find out any information needed to get him enrolled in a class of his choice with the proper classroom setting supports needed. Michael is now in the midst of completing his very first college application and I will request the class be paid for through his DDD supports budget. Mike and mom couldn’t be happier! – Barbara Pierson, Support Coordinator
Bethany has accomplished a lot this year. When I first met Bethany, she was living with her parents and not working. I made a referral to the Division of Vocational Rehab and she has found a job she likes. She got a part-time job working as an assistant on the bus with children and with infants in a child care program.
Bethany is now receiving supported employment services and is doing well. Bethany and I worked on getting her a housing voucher and she now has her own apartment. She became engaged and is living with her fiancé. I am so proud of her. She has the awesome support of her parents and is doing great. I had to tell her father that Bethany is very lucky to have such great parents.
– Lorrett Waiters, Support Coordinator
Ian was working for a while, but when his place of employment closed, I sat with Ian and his mom to go over what his goals are and building long-lasting skills to find a more rewarding employment experience. Ian has some communication difficulties; however, when he sings, he does not have these difficulties. I found a place where Ian could have singing lessons which helped him learn how to breathe in between words and pace himself. This has led to improved communication which allows him to be more confident.
In addition, tutoring services were also added. The skills he is learning with both of these services have changed his life, allowing him to be the person he has always wanted to be. We will soon be adding swimming lessons to his daily routine and the goal is not only to be a better swimmer but to learn how to follow directions in a structured environment. It has been a joy finding and coordinating services for Ian and seeing the happiness in his success. – Jaclyn Saldivia, Support Coordinator
Tony lives with his elderly mother. She had difficulty accepting help from others while having a concern that Tony be well cared for when she is no longer able to care for him. It was difficult to get her to accept help, but when she was admitted into the hospital, we needed to get help right away. Thankfully, we were able to contact an agency to set up community-based support services immediately. We have strong relationships with agencies and found one to step in within a few hours. My supervisor went to the home as I was away. She ordered Tony dinner and waited until an individual from the hired agency was able to get there. We have a very close relationship with both his mother and Tony. Tony calls me regularly to talk about the latest sports games, etc.
We are now in the process of getting Tony moved into a group home. It has taken trust and respect to get his mom to get to this level of accepting the help she needs. We recognized the danger of having to act last minute and assured Tony’s mom that it was better to get this move situated before an emergency arises. We contacted DDD for emergency placement, he was approved and is now having his mother join in on the visits to the group homes so that she is confident in the home where Tony will soon live.
– Jaclyn Saldivia, Support Coordinator
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Hellen Keller
At Spectrum CMC, we pride ourselves in the team approach. When emergencies arise, we want to make sure you have our contact information and know you can count on us to assist. Last fall, we received a phone call from a local police department sharing with us that they had one of our individuals with them. Sadly, the individual witnessed his mother get hit by a car. When police arrived, the individual could not communicate what had happened but he handed a business card to the police officer. That business card was mine and that small gesture facilitated a phone call for us to step into action.
Within an hour, we were able to have the individual picked up, brought home to gather some personal belongings, and took him to a residential setting to spend the night. We worked tirelessly to have this individual emergency certified for the Community Care Program and be able to reside in a wonderful group home. Our agency worked closely with the local police department to notify the extended family of this tragic event and later be able to sit down with a team of professionals to explain the passing of his mother to this individual. We, of course, do not like when tragic or emergency situations occur; however, you can count on us to help you during those difficult times. – Laura Junta, Support Coordination Supervisor