Community Systems, Inc. knows that our direct support professionals (DSPs) are at the heart of making a positive impact for each of the persons we support. We are so proud to celebrate some of the caring, dedicated, mission-driven superstars at CSI-MA that make a difference in the lives of the persons we support each and every day!
Gwendolyn Baskin works tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of all the people that live in the home she supports. Recently a new gentleman moved in and Gwen made it her mission to help him adjust and feel a part of his new home. She looks at all angles to ensure their supports are designed especially for them. Gwen also keeps in touch with all the guardians to help them adjust to the changes in their lives.
Kara Ficarro has worked for CSI for many years. She will jump and fill any shift that needs to be filled. The ladies love her. Kara spends a lot of extra time helping other homes out. She is looking forward to the CSI’s leadership retreat and furthering her education with SRV training.
Karina Olea has been with CSI for three years and has been serving as the Assistant House manager at a home for the past two years. Karina has worked diligently in serving the people in their homes to find happiness. Karina has supported this home with many transitions and always has a smile on her face. Karina offers her time to help out where ever needed. She is an amazing member to the team and we are grateful for her dedication.
Joe Tocci is the direct support professional every team needs. Up until recently Joe was an amazing relief staff that picked up shifts in several homes. Joe recently committed to a full time position where he brings happiness to the four gentlemen, while still helping other homes where he can. Joe’s knowledge and care of the gentlemen is a beautiful thing to see. As the team rebuilds Joe shares his knowledge with the new employees so that they can grow into strong, educated team members like himself. Joe treats every person he encounters with respect and dignity throughout all of his interactions at CSI-MA!
Emily Gutierrez is a shining star at CSI-MA. She’s highly involved in all aspects of Charlie’s life. Charlie has always envisioned having a big family, and when it wasn’t safe for him to be living independently the opportunity arose for him to become part of Emily’s extended family. Emily has brought a sense of family and of peace to Charlie, that he hadn’t encountered in a long time. Emily shines when caring for and supporting everyone in her department.
Greg Maciel has been with CSI-MA since February. Greg supports Winnie, Torrie & Bobby in one of our homes. Greg supports all the folks and has a caring relationship with each person at that home. Greg enjoys spending time with the folks – taking bike rides with Torrie at the canal, spending time at a baseball game together, going out to eat, as well as many other adventures. Greg is planning mini-vacations with those he assists in this home. Greg respects and cares for their home and is a leader in this home. He is a superstar. Greg faced many challenges while in this home and has risen to the challenges during the transitional periods staying true to the needs and dreams of those he cares for. He is a strong advocate and has been instrumental with training new staff.
Brooke Fernandes brings energy and joy to all that she encounters. She has supported Kathy since joining CSI-MA, and has helped both Kathy’s self-confidence and her independence grow. Brooke supports Kathy as she works at our CSI-MA office twice a week supporting our office team. They also coordinate the “Backpack Program” that provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to families in need through one of our local elementary schools.
Kay Burns does what it takes to support the people at CSI-MA! Kay steps in to support eight individuals to make each of their lives better. She advocates on their behalf and supports them as they continue to live as independently as possible. From a willing ear to listen, to planning outings, to supporting them with daily activities, Kay is there for each of them!
Community Systems, Inc. knows that our direct support professionals (DSPs) are at the heart of making a difference for each of the persons we support. We are so proud to celebrate some of the countless superstars at CSI-VA that make a positive impact in the lives of the persons we support each and every day!
Rob Litchfield has been an awesome support system for over the past 10 years. He excels at cheering those he supports as they acheive several milestones from moving out of a group home to their own apartments to vacations to pet ownership. Rob has time and time again put their hopes and dreams first. On a recent occasion he has helped one gentlemen who was hospitalized in a different state while on vacation for several days. The people supported look forward to seeing him and spending time with him on a daily basis.
Jack Provencal is a gem and superb asset to CSI-VA. Jack’s personality and work ethic shines through on a daily basis in his commitment to the people he supports. He genuinely cares for them and is in their corner cheering them on. His connection to the three new gentlemen living in nearby apartments has positively impacted each of their lives. He has helped one gentleman live a healthier drug free life, another gentleman connect with others and the last gentleman with strengthening several of his personal relationships. Jack has displayed his commitment to CSI in stepping up when there is a need. Jack is a DSP that shows true leadership in his everyday actions.
Amie Molley is an exceptional employee. She is a creative and innovative thinker who uses this skill to empower the individuals that she supports by helping them engage in activities, exercise, promote a healthy life style, and accomplish their goals. Amie is the type of person who will ask, “What is it that you would like for me to do?” as opposed to having you tell her what to do. Amie is a reliable and dependable person who enjoys what she does and is always productive while at work. Is she perfect? No, but she is willing to strive for perfection by learning, maturing, and developing her skills while working with the people we support.
Lauren Pham’s commitment to the people she supports in local apartment is unwavering. Lauren works mostly overnights and as an overnight Lauren goes above and beyond. She researches for things the people supported like, she prepares their favorite breakfast foods and looks for areas she can help her colleagues. And it does not stop there; Lauren volunteers several times during the non-working hours to ensure the people supported are able to achieve things they desire whether it is a special birthday lunch party, driving someone to visit a family member or even an event that is during an unusual time, Lauren is quick to volunteer to help and figure out childcare for her own two children to make it happen!
There is so much to say about Taylor, that describes how outstanding she is in all she does. To say that she is responsible and dedicated to her job, is an understatement. Taylor is always ready and willing to go above and beyond, not only with the wonderful people that she supports, but with all the staff that she works with. There is no job that Taylor isn’t able to address with creativity and expertise. Always willing to learn, never afraid to ask for help, and always getting the job done. Many thanks to Taylor and the wonderful others that strive for excellence at CSI each and every day. Taylor and the CSI family of workers are truly the backbone of such a wonderful organization, the foundation of hope, and the future, that will continue to serve our communities with such grace and superb service.
Jason Christensen is a wonderful employee for CSI and for the people we support. Jason has supported all of the people in getting the most out of their life. He has encouraged them to discover their dreams and find ways to achieve their dreams. He has helped people support arrange vacations to see concerts and see their favorite sport teams at home. Jason has demonstrated patience beyond belief and offers stability for all those around him. He is an absolute treasure to the people he supports at CSI-VA.
Jeff Haskins is a quiet and mild-manner person who began working with us after meeting the people supported through his previous job as a transportation provider. He enjoyed his position, but felt an inner drive to do more. He inquired at CSI and eventually came on-board to work directly with the people he was driving to work. After acclimating to our culture and mission, Jeff dove in and began integrating the people we support in the community. On the weekends, he came in during his off-time to take people to church and eat lunch afterwards. Jeff works with a lady who is notorious for having a cantankerous attitude, but she fell in love with Jeff and always requests to have him work at her home. They go to church together, go shopping and he takes her to spend time with her sister. Jeff is someone who thinks positively and can execute difficult tasks. He’s not a person who needs to be micro-managed. Rather, when given a specific task, he can figure out the best ways to solve the problem in an autonomous manner.
Community Systems, Inc. knows that our direct support professionals (DSPs) are at the core of making a difference for each of the persons we support. We are so proud to celebrate some of the dedicated, mission-driven superstars at CSI-CT that make a positive impact in the lives of the persons we support each and every day!
Michael Killiany is one of the most mission minded Direct Support Professionals you could ask for! Mike has been with CSI for almost six years and has worked in two different locations. He has been supporting three young gentlemen for almost three years now and has formed a wonderful relationship with each of them. These relationships are based on compassion, caring, trust and mutual respect. Through his actions and interactions with the gentlemen it is clear that their well-being and safety is always first on his mind. He knows the gentlemen’s goals and visions and works hard on a daily basis to assist them with finding happiness in their lives. He is able to keep a level head in any situation and proves to be a superstar staff every day. Thank you Mike for all that you do!
Jennifer Bensey offers her artistic talents and creativity to the ladies and gentleman who she supports. Jennifer goes above and beyond to ensure there are always projects available for everyone to work on. Day Services is a cheerful, vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere in part due to the consistent stream of artwork on display. Jennifer’s commitment to the people we support and our mission is evidenced by her dedication to ensuring people are provided with active meaningful days. Thank you Jennifer, for all you do every day and for adding a bit more color to our lives!
Michelle Kioko is a true example of what it means to be an exemplary staff! She has introduce the ladies to the world of travel. The ladies have visited and enjoyed Fort Ticonderoga, Walt Disney World, the Bahamas, Boston and Lake Champlain, just to mention a few. Michelle also excels with using CSI resources in the most resourceful manner. She shops and cooks the most amazing, healthy and nutritious meals, all while remaining under budget.
Jennifer Rogers was hired at CSI in August 2017. Jennifer started as a per diem staff, and it was very obvious, right from the get-go that Jennifer was an amazing staff and emulated CSI’s values and mission statement. In December 2017, Jennifer took a full time position. Jennifer has been a consistent, reliable and often a calming influence for the gentlemen she supports. We are very blessed to be able to assist Jennifer and have her on our CSI Team.
Patricia Adkins has flourished in her unique roll of DSP building relationships with all of those she works with. Patricia has recently taken on the additional task of Job Development. Patricia “hit the ground running”; she has been instrumental in much needed employment advertisement, meeting with a potential employer, and identified areas for growth. Patricia doesn’t hesitate to take every opportunity available to her to teach those she works with; whether its work ethic or how to complete tasks. Patricia is an asset in each role she plays and we are lucky to have her. Thank you Patricia for all you do!
Martin Onyango is a DSP who consistently goes above and beyond for the people he supports. Martin helps the gentlemen to achieve their visions and their goals. He is quick to volunteer to bring them on vacation and has brought the guys to Disney, the Poconos, and Niagara falls just to name a few places. He is a great team player and is always willing to help out his fellow co-workers.
Oluwatosin Gbadamosi has consistently proven to be an exceptional DSP assisting the gentlemen residing at two homes. Tosin works very hard to ensure that the guys are living their vision every day. He provides opportunities for the gentlemen to explore activities and places that are of interest to them. When Tosin is working, the guys are always on the go doing something fun! He is very attentive to their needs and assists them through situations with respect while maintaining dignity. He encourages and assists the gentlemen with maintaining their homes. Tosin has a great relationship with all the guys and is able to work well with each of them as there is a sense of mutual respect. He has assisted the gentlemen from one home on their vacations to Rhode Island last year and is planning another vacation with one of the guys to the Cape in the near future. Thank you Tosin!
Edna Chiu is truly a star. She is extremely flexible and does whatever she has to do to make the ladies she supports happy. When she is asked to do something she gets it done right away with no hesitation and she looks for new ideas every day. Edna is a beautiful example of a super star staff!
Deanna Lilley has been a staunch advocate ensuring the health and safety of the people she’s supported for the past three years. She has formed wonderful relationships with each person and is truly loved by them. Deanna has proven to be a very reliable and dependable member of the team. When the home was without a manager, the new director often turned to her for assistance which was offered without hesitation. This past spring, Deanna assisted two of the gentlemen she supports on a magical five day Disney vacation in Florida. This trip presented challenges at times which were always countered with a positive can-do attitude and the gentlemen had a wonderful time! Thank you for all you do Deanna!
Spencer Curtin has been a wonderful addition to the CSI family. He is an outgoing and thoughtful member of the team who has an innate ability to find the positive in situations. Spencer enjoys spending time with the gentlemen both in their home and finding fun and exciting activities in their community. He is highly regarded by the gentlemen he supports and his fellow team members. Thank you Spencer!
Community Systems, Inc. knows that our direct support professionals (DSPs) are at the core of making a positive impact for each of the persons we support. We are so proud to celebrate some of the dedicated, mission-driven superstars at CSI-DE that make a difference in the lives of the persons we support each and every day!
We would like to recognize and thank Thomas Terrell for his service and the great work he does with GH. Thomas has taught GH yoga skills which has transformed into a new hobby that is physically and mentally beneficial for GH. Thomas was able to build a trusting relationship with GH while teaching him yoga. In addition, GH has learned a new coping strategy which helps him to live a happier life in the community.
We would like to thank and recognize Daretta Saunders for her unwavering commitment to helping persons to achieve their dreams. Daretta is known for her ability to build healthy and trusting relationships with each person she supports. She values their right to make their own choices and goes above and beyond to help them exercise their rights. Daretta does not see challenges/obstacles as roadblocks; she instead builds bridges and tunnels to go over, through and around perceived barriers, making the journey full of new experiences.
Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month? Despite the field we all choose to work in, it came as a surprise to many of us.
While each of us has a skillset – either a natural aptitude or interests that we chose to pursue further education in, the majority of us can say that we’ve been given the opportunity to showcase those skills. Our friends, family, co-workers, and the company we work for itself has encouraged our growth; our individuality; our unique talents. Unfortunately, that statement doesn’t hold true for a significant number of people with disabilities. There is a distinct lack of job roles filled by people with disabilities. Are people with disabilities any less valuable? No. Are they any less able to contribute? Very likely not. Despite that, the Bureau of Labor & Statistics reports that over 80% of people with disabilities are unemployed.
On a routine basis, CSI applauds and shares the small business owners that open up restaurants, movie theaters, bakeries, and the like, not only employing, but celebrating the staff members with disabilities in our communities. Most often, these community businesses are founded by friends and family members of those with a disability; a direct reaction to their loved one being unemployed by “mainstream” companies. We have admiration and endless applause for everyone who has chosen to found their own company in response to being told “no” by larger companies, but we can’t help but ponder how to best support and encourage those who don’t find themselves in a position to start their own company for a multitude of reasons. Furthermore, how do we best support those under the CSI umbrella to chase their dreams? We can see the spark of creativity, the desire to contribute, the yearning to grow in many of their eyes; it’s just a matter of finding the right position at the right company.
CSI is so proud to be able to provide guidance and support to a number of people in growing their job skills and finding meaningful employment. Our Connecticut office has been a shining star in this process! It’s a joy to see people we support taking pride in their work, be responsible, proud and hardworking team members as they engage in their community. That we can share quotes and success stories is a testament to the dedication of our community partners, each of the supported individuals who successfully find employment, and our amazing job coaches.
“We value the partnership we share with Community Systems, the housekeeping teams help us keep our facilities clean so that we can serve our ministry and we support the efforts of Community Systems in providing employment. The coaches are dedicated to providing top notch service and we appreciate their consistent attention.”
Stephanie Pitman, Business Manager
Silver Lake Conference Center
“CSI has a very effective workforce, always reliable, always productive. CSI staff give 110% supporting individuals who work here”.
Robert Cristaldi, Manager
Napa Auto Parts
While we dream of a time when it’s not needed to raise awareness of National Disability Employment Awareness month, we continue to be encouraged by the small steps in our larger communities. Every company, large or small, that hires someone based on their ability, not their disability is one step closer to lowering that staggering figure of 80% unemployment.
We want your input! Have you encouraged companies in your community and/or the company you work for to open up positions to those with disabilities?