Read updates on COVID-19 and Advocates

Life Skills & Learning Center Summer Update

Share: 
Advocates
August 29, 2022

Choices Day Habilitation | Traditional Day Habilitation | Autism Day Habilitation | Community Based Day Supports | Employment Services | Zoom Highlights | COVID-19 Updates | Meet Our Staff | Day Services Carnival

An Update from Advocates Life Skills and Learning Center

We welcome you to summer with Advocates Day Services!

Thank you to everyone who completed the Satisfaction Survey. Your ratings and comments are greatly appreciated. I will be sharing these with the leadership team and, for those that wanted correspondence, we will be in touch.

A very big congratulations to Lindsey Livingston on her nursing graduation and moving into our Healthcare Coordinator/RN role this summer! We also welcomed a few new staff to the Day Services team, with more expected to join us in the fall.

Hold onto that warm sunshine for a few more weeks and enjoy!

 

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Bardasz
Vice President of Developmental and Brain Injury Day Services

 

      

We were all smiles at a recent staff celebration.

 

Choices Day Habilitation

Update brought to you by Bedford Saforo, Choices Day Hab Manager

Summer is in full swing and so is our Choices program! The staff and individuals are busy tending to our Holliston Garden plots, pulling weeds, and watering the plants weekly to ensure the garden is thriving. Fishing trips to local rivers and small waterways are popular outings.

      

Our friends also volunteer weekly at The Blessing Barn in Mendon, organizing and hanging clothing as well as clean and organizing the showroom floor. Individuals supported through Choices recently began attending the Weston Library monthly to participate in curriculum programming related to a variety of themes.

When not out and about in the community, we spend time working on weekly theme activities, getting plenty of exercise, and working on skill development with staff, nursing, and our clinical director.

 

Traditional Day Habilitation

Update brought to you by Charlene Thomas, Crystal Rice, & Devon Brown, Day Hab Managers

Day Hab’s goal is to provide group activities that get everyone involved and working together, while offering encouragement, praise, and leaving room for laughter. Theme weeks are a favorite of ours, including Under the Sea, Multi-Cultural and Diversity, Healthy Living, and the 4th of July. During theme weeks, we create works of art together as a group, with lots of learning along the way.

Our patio is now open for gardening and other outdoor activities! Aerobics and dance groups are also very popular! And everyone looks forward to our building-wide game of Bingo played using walkie-talkies every Tuesday.

   

In food-oriented groups, such as Cooking Around the World and Interactions with Food, we use our imaginations as well as our senses to learn about countries such as Mexico, China, and Canada. We practice words in the other languages, learn interesting facts, and play traditional games while exploring their cuisines through cooking and other food-related activities.

   

 

Autism Day Habilitation

Update brought to you by Zachary Condon, Autism Day Hab Manager

On the move each day, we start our morning with daily trips to the gym where we listen to music, dance, and work out. This is a great addition to our schedule and allows us to participate in activities and games as a larger group, while also taking care of our physical health. We find that if you are not smiling, you are not doing it right!

      

In our cooking group, we’re learning how to cook some of our favorite and maybe not-so-favorite meals to learn how to make healthy and balanced choices. (Although most of it tastes really good!) We make a great team cooking together—Not to brag, but the fact that eating the food is the best part says something about our skills! We also love getting out in the community.

At Pinecrest Golf Club in Holliston we planted and now tend to a bed of flowers. Working on our tans (sunscreen protected, naturally) at a golf course is just a perk of the job!

      

Each month, we look forward to our educational adventures at the Weston Public Library! We’ve met amazing guest speakers —in July we met a photographer and got to check out a bunch of cool cameras and made sun prints! We also have fun doing art projects, enjoying story time, and finishing with a little music.

After a couple-year’s absence, we’re thrilled to return to volunteering with Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to those in need. We look forward to helping our community through this wonderful learning opportunity.

 

Community Based Day Supports

Update brought to you by Eric Dwinnells, Senior Case Manager

Strawberry picking, walking in the park, and bouncing around at the trampoline park are a few new activities we’ve enjoyed recently! We’re also keeping busy with our volunteer work at Meals on Wheels, Project Just Because, The Pearl Street Café/Food Bank, the MetroWest Humane Society, and more.

At the Weston Library, we took part in a special program and learned about photography. Speaking of libraries, our paper mache masks were once again on exhibition at the gallery in the Needham Library throughout July.

On site, we started an awesome new daily workout routine with DDP Yoga. It’s a no-impact workout that gets your heart rate up safely. Everyone looks forward to it each morning! We also had a pretty intense Connect 4 tournament, and we’re working on fun new craft projects like collages and faux vintage tin signs.

 

Employment Services

Update brought to you by Colleen Graham, Employment Program Manager

Gary Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) - Competitive Integrated Employment

After 30 years of working at Natick Labs, Gary retired but wasn’t ready to be completely out of the workforce. In May, he began a job as a cart attendant at Home Depot and greets customers with his big grin and friendly demeanor. Gary already enjoyed some of the perks Home Depot offers their staff such as the Memorial Day and Fourth of July cookouts. He looks forward to more interactions with customers and more activities with his peers.

Tom  Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

As a steadfast and strong employee of Home Depot in Framingham, Tom has learned a lot in his 17 years with the company. He enjoys being responsible for the parking lot, as well as his wonderful coworkers and the friends he has made. Jodi, Tom’s supervisor, shares, “Tom is dedicated, compassionate, and loves his job. We are thrilled to have him on staff.” Tom hopes to continue working at Home Depot until it’s time to retire.

 

Zoom Highlights

Update brought to you by Scott Finan, Rehab Aide

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to spend months isolated at home, technology enabled us to offer quality programming and stay connected through Zoom. Throughout the past two years, I had the pleasure of hosting Zoom calls with many of you.

Exercise kicks off each Zoom call. We work our major muscle groups and then get our hearts pumping with cardiovascular movements. Dance videos are a big hit! Especially when they feature popular songs from the 80’s and 90’s or when they’re set on the beach. When we’re not breaking a sweat, we learn how the human body works as well as the importance of exercise and nutrition to keep our body strong and healthy.

After our exercise, we discuss the “theme of the week.” Popular themes include Dr. Seuss, Community Heroes, Culture and Diversity, Rainbows, Space, and Movies. We learn interesting facts, play trivia, conduct science experiments, and more. We even got a behind-the-scenes look at how movies are made!

Zoom was a wonderful way to stay in touch with you over these two difficult years. It was rewarding to see you having fun and participating during the Zoom calls. While we are thankful to have many of you back at the day program, we look forward to welcoming all of you soon. If the last two years taught us anything, it’s to appreciate any opportunity we have to connect with each other. Keep moving and stay well!

 

COVID-19 Guidelines Effective 8/1

  • Screening remains in place in the morning; attestation forms continue
  • NO temperature screening at the end of the day
  • OPTIONAL MASK wearing for clientele while in the building, outdoors, in the community
  • REQUIRED MASK wearing when on the van for all transport (if able to wear), including Advocates vans for community outings
  • ISP and Annual Review Meetings will begin in person with specific guidelines in place
  • Appointments or visits must be scheduled in advance for in person
  • Advocates Day staff will continue to wear masks at all times and be tested for COVID-19 weekly

 

Meet Our Staff

Kimberly Gonzalez | Senior Case Manager

How long have you been at Advocates?
5 years

What brings you joy at work?
Making the individuals that I work with here at Advocates happy and smile!

What is one thing many people don't know about you?
I’ve never been on an airplane.

Who inspires you at work?
The individuals :)

What superpower would you like to have?
I would like to be invisible.

 

Day Services First Carnival

From games to balloon animals, yummy carnival eats and treats, and the staff dunk tank—it was an awesome day of happiness had by all! Check out the photo gallery below.