Arthur Palevsky Appointed to the Board of ACANY

ILA Executive Director Arthur Palevsky has joined the Board of Directors of the Advance Care Alliance of New York (ACANY), a nonprofit Care Coordination/Health Home (CCO/HH) agency launched to ease the transition from Medicaid Service Coordination into Managed Care. The new system, based on a health insurance-type model and funding mechanism, has been five years in the making to improve service delivery for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by giving them and family members greater choice when selecting a care environment.

With more than 40 years working in human services, Mr. Palevsky will be a valuable asset to ACANY. In addition to having strong knowledge of program development and quality assurance, Mr. Palevsky (and ILA) played a critical role in founding the Advance of Greater New York (AGNY), the nonprofit provider association that was launched to begin the transition to Managed Care. AGNY and two provider organizations formed ACANY, covering 24,000 Individuals receiving services. ILA Medicaid Service Coordinators are now functioning as Care Coordinators and will be employed by ACANY before July 1, 2019.

Mr. Palevsky’s work with the ACANY’s Board of Directors will enable ILA to be involved in the State’s full transition to Managed Care, while keeping the Agency in the loop about future developments and ensuring the new system continues to benefit the hundreds of Individuals ILA serves.

 

Individual Blooms at Brooklyn Day Hab

For approximately five years, Sully E., a participant in ILA’s Day Hab Without Walls Program in Brooklyn, has developed his employment skills at David Shannon Florist and Nursery in Kensington. He shows up to work each week, assisting with a variety of tasks such as watering plants, transporting floral arrangements, sweeping the floor and making seasonal bouquets for customers.

At the store, Sully has gained independent living skills and increased socialization. He enjoys interacting with staff and the strong camaraderie that exists at the shop. “Owner Joseph Perrotta and his staff have been very welcoming to Sully,” explains Nicole Sawyers, Supervisor, ILA Day Hab Services. “He goes to work like everyone else and he feels like part of the team.”

Sully  has also enhanced his travel training skills. While accompanied by ILA staff, he walks to work from the ILA residence where he lives, successfully navigating streets and saying hello to neighbors on the way.

At work, he takes pride in the festive bouquets he helps to make. His enthusiasm and “can do” attitude is appreciated by his colleagues, especially during holidays. On Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day – the two busiest days in the floral industry – Sully received beautiful flowers in recognition of his hard work and dedication. He proudly showed off the bouquets to ILA staff and Individuals.

Sully’s continued growth and the success of the Brooklyn Day Hab program would not be possible without Joseph and his wonderful staff and without the kindness and generosity of ILA’s donors. Proceeds from last year’s 11th Annual Golf and Games Tournament will help to further enhance the program. “Support for our Day Hab program is vital, so Individuals like Sully can continue to acquire the necessary skills to thrive in the community,” Nicole says.

To learn more about ILA’s Day Habilitation Programs, visit www.ilaonline.org/services/day-habilitation. For information on how to support ILA programs at this year’s golf outing, visit the event registration page at www.ilaonline.org/ila-events/coming-soon-12th-golf-games-tournament.

 

 

Meet Fergie and Coulton

Since February 28, 2018, ILA’s 226th Street residence has been receiving visits from Fergie and Coulton, adorable therapy dogs.

The engagement of the therapeutic service was the brainchild of Lily Smollens, an Individual residing at 226th Street. Residence staff say the new service has been a huge success.

“One of our Individuals said that the therapy dogs help her to relax and to de-stress,” explains 226th Street Residential Supervisor Janet Woolward. “During one of the visits, she was initially in a bad mood, but after petting the dogs, she felt much better.”

Fergie and Coulton currently visit the residence every other week. Janet says they provide “much-needed therapeutic support” and hopes to see the service expand at the Agency. We’re told Fergie and Coulton couldn’t agree more. Many thanks to the dogs’ owner, licensed psychologist Alan Klatt, Ph.D., for helping us to provide this valuable service to our Individuals.

Three New Places to Call Home

ILA recently relocated Individuals from our West 48th Street residence to three new homes in Brooklyn: Tilden Avenue, East 102nd Street and East 91st Street.

“Six of the ten Individuals had been living at West 48th Street since the Manhattan residence opened in 1993, making the move particularly significant,” says ILA Area Coordinator Jonelle Best. “Thanks to our incredible staff and a few sleepless nights, we all worked together to make the moves as seamless as possible.”

The Individuals of West 48th Street and Supervisor Shakeia Thomas meticulously selected the perfect themes and colors for Individuals’ bedrooms, while Clinical Direct Care Counselor Nadia Nermorin successfully transferred Individuals’ medications and oversaw the transition to Brooklyn-based clinical appointments.

Individuals’ families were part of the move every step of the way, and also played a role in the selection of the new houses. “Families were given a tour of each of the homes and they loved what they saw,” Jonelle explains.

Two of the homes are ranch-style and contain state-of-the art kitchens, large living and dining areas and beautiful backyards. The East 91st Street residence has a large basement with a rec room for the house’s four Individuals to enjoy. Tilden Avenue is a duplex apartment in which two Individuals reside. Four people each call East 102nd and East 91st Streets home – a great accomplishment, particularly for the Individuals who have attained their goal of having their own bedroom.

So how has the transition been for the ten Individuals? “So far so good,” Jonelle says. “Incidents of challenging behaviors have been infrequent.”

To ease the acclimation process and the adjustment of Individuals living apart from their former West 48th Street housemates, ILA staff regularly organize common dinners and social outings so the new houses can integrate. “The deep family connection is still there,” Jonelle points out.

To familiarize Individuals with their new communities, ILA staff accompany them on recreational outings. “From local stores to parks and museums, the Individuals are getting to know Brooklyn well; some also attend day programs in Brooklyn,” Jonelle says. Jonathan, an Individual from Tilden Avenue, particularly enjoys riding the subway. “He takes beautiful pictures of train signs that he posts on Facebook,” Jonelle explains.

Jonathan’s housemate, Alanton, enjoys having his own room with a walk-in closet, riding his bike in the neighborhood, and the independent living he has been able to achieve at ILA. He’s currently working two jobs to provide for his two-year-old daughter. Alanton recently won visitation rights, enabling his daughter to visit him every other weekend. ILA has also linked Alanton to parenting classes, first aid workshops and other courses so he can receive the continued support he needs to be a successful parent.

Watching Alanton and other Individuals thrive in their new homes puts a smile on staff’s faces. “Our goal is to provide top-notch care for our guys. They are the reason why we are here,” Jonelle says. “We’re thrilled to see them happy in their surroundings.”

ILA Wins Orion Fleet Intelligence Excellence in Fleet Safety Award!

Congratulations to
Independent Living Association, Inc.
on being awarded the
Orion Fleet Intelligence
EXCELLENCE in Fleet Safety Award for 2017!

In recognition of ILA’s continued commitment to fleet safety, ILA has been presented with the 2017 Orion Fleet Intelligence Excellence in Fleet Safety Award.

Orion Fleet Intelligence, the leader in products and services to help companies manage the safety and efficiency of their fleet, released its annual Fleet Safety Awards, highlighting organizations that have a measurable and proven track record of providing a safe and secure transportation environment throughout the year.

These awards are presented to organizations that operate commercial auto fleets as part of their business. To be considered, an organization must be deployed with a qualified fleet safety program during the entire calendar year and demonstrate high levels of safety performance relative to industry benchmarks. Fleets are scored based on specific speeding and aggressive driving data weighted by severity and normalized on a per-mile-traveled basis.

Orion’s deployed customers have performed on average 50% better than the industry average this year, a testament to the quality of Orion’s service as well as the importance its customers place on safety.

ILA is proud to be recognized for our hard work and dedication in ensuring a safe and secure transportation environment for ILA’s Individuals and staff. Congratulations to everyone at ILA and many thanks to Orion for this great honor!

http://www.orionfi.com/fleet-safety-awards

Fleet Safety Awards

ILA Opens Two New Houses

Earlier this year, ILA opened its first two residences in Queens, made possible, in part, by funds raised at last year’s golf outing.

226th Street Residence

The agency’s 226th Street residence, which opened in June 2017, is home to four Individuals who aged out of residential schools located out of state. Each Individual has a bedroom in the beautifully appointed house. Other notable features include a screened-in porch and two yards, front and back, enabling Individuals to enjoy warm weather days together. The residence also has a recreation area in the downstairs portion of the house, a separate kitchen and dining area, and a decorative fireplace.

The residence is centrally located. “The house is three blocks from Merrick Boulevard, allowing for easy access into the community,” explains Tiffany Bennett, Area Coordinator. Individuals walk to the library and stores, or they travel to appointments via public transportation, showcasing their increased independence and social inclusion. Some participate in ILA’s Community Habilitation Program, helping to enhance their self-sufficiency.

Inside the residence, Individuals continue to increase their communication, daily living, and socialization skills. They also take-charge in performing chores, helping to set the table at mealtime, and assisting with food preparation.

233rd Street Residence

In April 2017, ILA’s 233rd Street residence opened its doors, welcoming four Individuals who previously lived at residential schools in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. It is also the agency’s first house solely for Individuals with autism. They maintain different levels of functionality.

The four-bedroom home is staffed by a supervisor and direct support professionals (DSPs), as well as nurses and a part-time behavior intervention specialist (BIS). Individuals enjoy spending time in the backyard and participating in community outings to local stores and restaurants.

According to Area Coordinator Donna Lundy, the Individuals have “adjusted well to their new surroundings,” and staff have enjoyed getting to know everyone in the house. She credits her team for their hard work and dedication while meeting any challenges that may occur. “I’m looking into additional training courses for management and DSPs so we can best meet the specific needs of these Individuals and enable them to achieve the highest level of independence,” Donna says.

Individuals are attending Community and Day Habilitation Programs, which provide greater structure to boost their comfort levels. “The community has been very welcoming to our Individuals, which has helped ease their transition to ILA,” Donna says. Another positive factor: the 226th Street and 233rd Street residences are fewer than two miles apart, allowing for regular social interaction between the two houses. Barbecues and other recreational outings have helped to foster camaraderie and socialization skills, with many more events on the horizon.

Celebrating a Great Cause on the Green

On October 12, 2017, ILA held its 11th Annual Golf and Games Tournament at Harbor Links in Port Washington, New York. More than 150 donors, vendors, staff, families and other supporters swung for a wonderful cause before raising a glass to the Agency during the lively cocktail hour and evening reception.

ILA Executive Director Arthur Palevsky expressed heartfelt support for the event’s donors and sponsors who help make ILA’s services possible. A moving video highlighted the ILA ACES Day Habilitation Program, which is subsidized by funds raised from last year’s golf outing. The Staten Island-based program serves ten developmentally disabled Individuals, providing educational, recreational and volunteer opportunities in the community. The video is viewable at www.ilaonline.org.

This year’s fundraiser also featured a live auction and a chance to win many prizes including sports and entertainment packages. Tee and Flag sponsor James E. Vassalotti III, R.A., President of architectural firm, James E. Vassalotti III & Associates, successfully bid on tickets to the popular Broadway musical, School of Rock, as well as New York Rangers tickets. James and his son recently attended both events and had a great time.

A Mahjong tournament, perennially organized by Karen Palevsky, was a hit with several of the golf outing attendees, while a lively raffle added to the day’s festivities. Leah Dickerson, parent of ILA Individual Keith Dickerson and a longtime member of the ILA family, happily auctioned off one of her famous hats. Other lucky raffle winners went home with one of ILA’s extraordinary gift baskets. The grand prize was a remote controlled electric pull cart, a golfer’s dream.

For ILA Board Member Lola Simpson, the event was the first Agency fundraiser she has attended. She and her family enjoyed a round of golf and later attended the evening reception. “As a fairly new board member and golf beginner, it was a wonderful experience to immerse myself in the event with guided lessons from Arthur,” Ms. Simpson said. “The golf outing truly showcased ILA’s commitment to transform lives and the collaboration of staff, donors and sponsors to make a difference.  I’m proud to volunteer for ILA and can’t wait till next year so I can help raise more awareness and improve my golf game.”

Emilio DiSiervi, Account Executive, Community Care Rx, also a first-time attendee, remarked, “It was inspiring to be around so many passionate people who champion an improved quality of life for Individuals in need.”

Longtime donor Alan Kifferstein of Economic Planning Group, again showed his generosity as the tournament sponsor. Alan has attended ILA’s golf outing for seven consecutive years. “The wonderful work of ILA keeps me coming back every year. It’s always a wonderful time,” he said.

Executive Director Arthur Palevsky said, “We’re very grateful to everyone who came out to support ILA at this year’s event. Many thanks to our wonderful golf committee for organizing another successful fundraiser, and to our generous donors for helping us meet our mission of high-quality care to the hundreds of Individuals we serve.”

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Thank you to our 2017 golf outing sponsors:

Tournament Sponsor & BENEFACTOR

Economic Planning Group, Inc.

PLATINUM SPONSORS

P.E. Stone, Inc.
The Bentson Insurance Group

GOLD SPONSORS

James E. Fitzgerald, Inc.
Cirocco & Ozzimo Inc.

SILVER SPONSORS

BDO USA, LLP
Hunter Roberts Construction Group

BRONZE SPONSORS

Ace Endico
Bartel Construction Corp. & James E. Vassalotti III & Associates, LLP
Beacon Therapy Services, PLLC
Crossland Ventilation Inc.
John Gallin & Son, Inc.
Norris Mclaughlin Marcus, P.A. Attorneys at Law
On-Track Construction Associates, Inc.
Valley National Bank
Turner Construction Company

TOURNAMENT BENEFACTOR

The Bentson Insurance Group
The Whitty Family

EVENING RECEPTION SPONSOR

Hatzel & Buehler, Inc.

LUNCHEON SPONSOR

Tower Drugs Pharmacy

COCKTAIL SPONSOR

Tower Drugs Pharmacy

GOLF CART SPONSOR

MBAF, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors

DRIVING RANGE SPONSOR

Tower Drugs Pharmacy

TROPHIES / AWARDS SPONSOR

Tower Drugs Pharmacy

FLAG SPONSORS

 

BDO USA, LLP

The Bentson Insurance Group

Cirocco & Ozzimo Inc.

Economic Planning Group, Inc.

Hatzel & Buehler, Inc.

Hunter Roberts Construction Group

James E. Fitzgerald, Inc.

P.E. Stone, Inc.

TEE SPONSOR

711 New York Painting & Decorating Co., Inc.

Ace Endico

Ann Falutico Architect PC

Bartel Construction Corp. & James E. Vassalotti III & Associates, LLP

Beacon Therapy Services, PLLC

Briscoe Protective System

Cirocco & Ozzimo Inc.

Community Resources Capital Foundation

Crossland Ventilation Inc.

Economic Planning Group, Inc.

GDO Contracting Corporation

Hatzel & Buehler, Inc.

James E. Fitzgerald, Inc.

John Gallin & Son, Inc.

Norris Mclaughlin Marcus, P.A. Attorneys at Law

On-Track Construction Associates, Inc.

P.E. Stone, Inc.

The Bentson Insurance Group

Trooper Foods Inc.

Valley National Bank

 

Board Member Brings Passion and Insight to ILA

“I’m inspired by people making big differences in their communities,” says Lola Simpson, one of ILA’s newest board members, elected in December 2016.

That was the biggest appeal about joining a nonprofit board, which is why she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer her services on ILA’s Board of Directors. Ms. Simpson brings valuable insight and expertise to the table, including two decades of experience working with city government and nonprofits (both on-staff and as a consultant) in the following areas: data management and reporting, program research and evaluation, technical assistance planning and implementation, business process analysis, technology management, contracting, and budgeting.

Her distinguished career in city government began when she was accepted into the LaGuardia Management Fellowship Program after leaving graduate school. As a fellow, Simpson worked as an analyst, rotating at several oversight and line agencies learning the challenges of policy and program implementation.

During her later career at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Simpson worked for several reform initiatives in the mid-90s and early 2000s focused on decreasing foster, increasing preventive services, and improving data collection and internal systems to monitor contracted provider agencies’ accountability and performance. Ms. Simpson was instrumental in initiating and managing a web-based application to automate preventive services data to effectively monitored contracted agencies’ prevention services to families and children across the city. She served as Director of Management Analysis, Research and Planning at the agency for nine years.

Currently, she works as Senior Director at OneCity Health, which is currently reforming the state’s Medicaid waiver program, and is responsible for operations, administration, contracting, and payment for the NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest Performing Provider System (PPS) in New York City. Prior to OneCity Health, Simpson held a similar role for a year at NYC Health + Hospitals, streamlining large contracts and fiscal procedures with several community-based social justice organizations and stakeholders including the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and Office of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene. She assisted Central Office Finance in the External Appeal Pilot implementation to develop a centralized appeal process across the 11 hospitals, and helped recoup lost revenue from insurance denials for medically necessary procedures. Ms. Simpson was part of a HHC Options Steering Committee looking at strategies to improve and increase access to health care for uninsured populations. She also held an eight-year position at Metis Associates, a national research and consulting firm, where she advised federal, state and local governments, and foundations across the country on policy, program research, evaluation and implementation, and data collection and reporting improvements in areas of child welfare, social justice reform, and community development.

Ms. Simpson credits years of analyzing data and evaluating programs as an ideal fit for ILA. “Understanding the importance of data in the workplace, particularly in human services, is critical to understanding the populations you’re serving to successfully meet their needs,” she explains. “It’s a powerful way to justify why a program is needed. If donors see ILA is meeting its performance measures and outcomes, the more likely programs can continue to receive proper funding and support.”

Ms. Simpson is committed to helping ILA enhance outcomes for Individuals so they continue to meet their goals and live full, productive lives. “As a board member, my goal is to help the agency grow and function at the highest level possible, while serving as a model for best practices.” She believes it’s important to tour ILA’s residences so she can meet the staff and Individuals behind each program.

When she’s not working, or serving on the ILA Board, Simpson volunteers for New York Cares, a nonprofit dedicated to improving education, revitalizing public spaces and fulfilling community needs. Every August, she participates in a beautification project at a city school and helps to prepare classrooms for the new academic year.

Education is a cause close to Simpson’s heart. She’s the mother of two children who are currently pursuing degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University. Guiding them along new and exciting paths is one of life’s highlights for Simpson. She never hesitates to discuss their futures to prepare them for success.

The same could be said about her work with ILA. “Impacting lives has always been one of my biggest goals. As a board member, it’s rewarding to know that our efforts have the capability of improving Individuals’ lives.”