As part of our continued effort to monitor the coronavirus’ spread, Community Systems will make a series of posts that we feel might be useful to our families, employees, and supported individuals.

First among them is an excellent article that comes by way of Scientific American. Arguably, we have entered into the most concerning phase of the infection’s spread, as public gatherings are being discouraged, meeting spaces and large events are being canceled. It leaves us wondering what exactly should we do?

From Scientific American:

As the new human coronavirus spreads around the world, individuals and families should prepare—but are we? The Centers for Disease Control has already said that it expects community transmission in the United States, and asked families to be ready for the possibility of a “significant disruption to our lives.”

Be ready? But how? It seems to me that some people may be holding back from preparing because of their understandable dislike of associating such preparation with doomsday or “prepper” subcultures. Another possibility is that people may have learned that for many people the disease is mild, which is certainly true, so they don’t think it’s a big risk to them. Also, many doomsday scenarios advise extensive preparation for increasingly outlandish scenarios, and this may seem daunting and pointless (and it is). Others may not feel like contributing to a panic or appearing to be selfish.

The article is an excellent entry point on your preparedness planning. Read more at Scientific American’s website.

It is with sadness that we wish Cyndy Davison, CSI CFO good luck and farewell.

Cyndy left her position with CSI at the end of October. Cyndy was hired in 2010 and brought to our organization extensive knowledge, experience and insight to grow our systems and guide CSI to be financially strong to face the future. She will be best remembered for her heart and her commitment to the people we support living full lives in their communities.

Meet James Campbell, Executive Director CSI VA

James joined the CSI Team in February of 2013 as the Executive Director. He came to us from North Carolina where he had extensive experience with disabled youth, and individuals with mental health and intellectual and development disabilities.

We asked James, “How did you become a champion for people with disabilities?”

Here’s his answer: “I identified my purpose and passion while visiting and observing my wife working with children and adults with disabilities in schools, employment and community settings. Witnessing the joy and happiness she experienced, while supporting people with disabilities in achieving their visions and goals, made it obvious that I needed to make a career change.
Weeks later, my newly discovered purpose and passion were tested. As a head coach of a youth football team, I recall two parents walking towards me, beside them was a smiling, tall, and strong- looking young man. As the young man got closer, I noticed his walk was a bit awkward and he was holding his right arm close to his body. He had cerebral palsy. The parents stated, “You’re our last hope, we’ve been everywhere. Our son has always had the goal of playing football; will you give him an opportunity?” I quickly turned to the young man and began a dialogue, which informed me that he was passionate about playing football, so I said yes, but dealt with some upset assistant coaches, parents and commissioner. During his first practice, we focused on his strengths. His upper body strength was better than anyone on the team, he loved physical contact, was quick off the ball and a disruptive force. After assessing his strengths, we concluded he would be our starting nose tackle. He was a dominant force on the field and a pleasure to be around off the field. He was just like all his teammates and coaches, each having abilities and disabilities.”

James is already advancing CSI’s mission to help make the impossible, possible. He recently helped 12 people to transition from 4-person group homes to share living homes with non-disabled roommates. Just like the young man in James’ story, CSI thrives on helping people achieve their vision and goals, providing solutions for others who think the possible is impossible.

Community Systems, Inc. is excited to introduce Janet Butler, our President/Chief Executive Officer.

Ms. Butler has developed and led residential and individualized supports programs for nearly 30 years, primarily with Community Systems, Inc. first as Executive Director of the Massachusetts operations for 22 years and then moving to the position of Chief Operating Officer from 2010 to 2016 and to Chief Executive Officer in September 2016.

Her innovative thinking and dedication to the discovery of each individual’s definition of their own happiness has led to scores of remarkable success stories, most notably with persons considered too challenging to ever enjoy community success or live independently. Ms. Butler brings to the CEO position a deep sense of commitment to the CSI Mission, extensive executive experience and knowledge and the energy and creativity to steer the organization to be a leader in the field of disability services.