Leadership: Interview with Cheryl Houston

Leadership: Interview with Cheryl Houston

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Leadership: Interview with Cheryl Houston

Leadership at Community Services for Every1

As an organization, we always want to celebrate our differences and embrace the rich history we all bring to our jobs. We are fortunate to have a diverse work group that contributes to our agency’s mission and vision each day. As we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of historic leaders, we recognize a new generation of leaders right here at our Agency. Read below to learn about Jessica’s journey at Community Services and her words of wisdom for the next generation of Human Services professionals.

Cheryl Houston headshot

Cheryl Houston has been with Community Services for Every1 for almost 20 years! During her time with the agency, she has held various positions and advanced through leadership. She is currently the Program Coordinator for Community Based Programs. She took some time to answer our questions regarding her leadership role at Community Services for Every1.

Where did it all begin?
Cheryl shares that her journey at Community Services began back in 2001 when she started her career as a Direct Support Professional. Working as a DSP helped her discover the true meaning of patience, kindness, and acceptance. Cheryl stated that she was fortunate to have a few great leaders take her under their wings and offer guidance and mentoring. They helped her tap into her own leadership skills. These very leaders helped her to “dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.” Eventually, she was promoted to Program Manager in 2008. She shares that at times being a Program Manager was a real challenge but it helped humble her and taught her to be open to change.

In 2016 she was promoted to Program Coordinator. Since her time as a Coordinator, she has learned that failure is a part of the growth in order to be successful in her role. Being in a leadership position has helped her expand her skills by having the opportunity to create, oversee, and maintain programs. Over the past 4 years in her role as PC, she has shared that she is happy and very satisfied in her position; she is very appreciative of the opportunity that Community Services has given her.

What do you like about the agency?
Cheryl shares that she loves the fact that the Agency provides learning and growth opportunities for all employees!

What advice do you have for an employee just starting at the agency?
Cheryl advised that incoming employees should take full advantage of all training and growth opportunities such as Ladder to Leadership. These opportunities could provide you with the necessary skills to become proficient in your role.

“Dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.”

Leadership: Interview with Jessica Robinson

Leadership: Interview with Jessica Robinson

Home » Archives for Erika Carlson

Leadership: Interview with Jessica Robinson

Leadership at Community Services for Every1

As an organization, we always want to celebrate our differences and embrace the rich history we all bring to our jobs. We are fortunate to have a diverse work group that contributes to our agency’s mission and vision each day. As we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of historic leaders, we recognize a new generation of leaders right here at our Agency. Read below to learn about Jessica’s journey at Community Services and her words of wisdom for the next generation of Human Services professionals.

Jessica Robinson headshot

Jessica Robinson has been with Community Services for Every1 for 15 years and will celebrate her 16th anniversary in April 2021! During her time with the agency, she has advanced through various positions and has grown into a valued leader. She is currently the Director of Employment and Day Services. She took some time to answer our questions regarding her leadership role at Community Services for Every1.

Where did it all begin?
Jessica shares that she started as a Relief DSP in the Day Habilitation program during her college years. Jessica said that upon graduation she wasn’t sure where life would take her, however, she knew that she loved what she was already doing. After she finished her degree she was given the opportunity to take on a role in management. Each step along the way she embraced the opportunity to learn and was afforded the opportunity to grow. She shares that she now has the privilege of leading the most amazing team that supports the most amazing people she knows.

What do you like about the agency?
Jessica stated that she likes that we are allowed to be ourselves and embrace the diverse strengths that we each bring to the table. She stated that she works alongside people that are so different however shares a common goal of bringing joy and positivity to other’s lives. Each person’s unique talent is what creates the “total package”. She stated that overall she is just so grateful to be a part of her team.

What advice do you have for an employee just starting at the agency?
Jessica shares that when you are asked to assist with a task that is outside of the scope of what you believe you were hired to do, never think, “That’s not my job!” Take this as a compliment, and think to yourself, “Someone sees something in me and trusts me enough to ask for my help.” Use this as an opportunity to learn new things and soak in as much as you can. What better way to set yourself up for future success.

“Each person’s unique talent is what creates the ‘total package'”

Leadership: Interview with Brandon Sumpter

Leadership: Interview with Brandon Sumpter

Home » Archives for Erika Carlson

Leadership: Interview with Brandon Sumpter

Leadership at Community Services for Every1

As an organization, we always want to celebrate our differences and embrace the rich history we all bring to our jobs. We are fortunate to have a diverse work group that contributes to our agency’s mission and vision each day. As we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of historic leaders, we recognize a new generation of leaders right here at our Agency. Read below to learn about Brandon’s journey at Community Services and his words of wisdom for the next generation of Human Services professionals.

Brandon Sumpter headshot

Brandon Sumpter has been with Community Services for Every1 for a little over 15 years. During his time with the agency, he has advanced and grown into a true leader. He currently supervises one of our Buffalo IRAs and has been in his role as Site Manager for about 4 years. He took some time to answer our questions regarding his leadership role at Community Services for Every1.

Where did it all begin?
Brandon shares that he started as a Relief Direct Support Professional at one of our Kenmore homes, and then moved on to be a Relief DSP at another northtowns site. After some time passed he decided to make the commitment and become a full-time DSP at one of our Buffalo residences. During his time there he learned a lot and eventually had the opportunity to be promoted to LEAD DSP, also known as Assistant Site Manager. Brandon then advanced into the Site Manager position and has been the site manager for 4 years now.

What do you like about the agency?
Brandon says that he values the fact that he was given an opportunity to be a Site Manager. He shares that he appreciates that he has been given the chance to be in charge of an IRA (Individual Residential Alternatives) and team. He loves that he can strongly lead his team and they all create positive results at the end of the day. He always gives 100% and loves to see things through to the end.

What advice do you have for an employee just starting at the agency?
Brandon says his advice would be to help create a team-like atmosphere between all co-workers. From DSP up to members of management. As a leader, Brandon shares that it is important to show you are willing to do all the tasks you ask your team to do. Don’t expect your team to do tasks that you would not be willing to accomplish yourself. No matter your position you all make up a team. Brandon encourages employees to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and play on those to accomplish various tasks whenever possible.

 

“Create a team-like atmosphere between all co-workers.”

Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities Study

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Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities Study

The National Leadership Consortium is conducting a national survey focused on future financial planning for people with disabilities and their families. Please consider taking this survey if you identify with one of the following:
 
• People with disabilities
• Family members of people with disabilities
• Professionals in the disabilities service sector
• Professionals in the financial planning field, and
• Financial, legal, and disability experts in financial planning and saving for people with disabilities and their families.

Easy Eats for Every1 kicks off

Easy Eats for Every1 kicks off

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Easy Eats for Every1 kicks off

With our new Culinary Arts Coordinator in place, Meredith Schork, we have hit the ground running. Our project is layered with learning opportunities for both people we support and our DSPs.

We have launched Easy Eats for Every1, which is our take on Hello Fresh. It offers healthy meals available in one of three options:

  • Heat and Eat – Ready for the microwave/oven.
  • Prepped just Prepare – Everything is measured and chopped, it just needs to be  put together. Great for people who want to learn to cook but haven’t mastered some of the basics.
  • From Scratch – Raw ingredients typical to the Hello Fresh model.

Each healthy meal kit comes with written instructions and a QR code to our Easy Eats for Every1 YouTube channel. Here, Chef Meredith provides a tutorial for people we support on how to prepare your kit. This allows anyone we support to try a healthy meal while working on skills for independent living.

All of this is done within our culinary classroom with those we support in Employment Services. Having a true demand for prepping, cooking, and portioning allows for authentic learning and work experiences.

Our first Easy Eats kit was 150 Thanksgiving meals for people we support. It was delivered to those living in the community that were alone for the first time, families that didn’t have the means to cook all the fixings, and to some of the folks and staff in our IRAs. The menu included: turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans, roll, and homemade sweet potato pie.

We recently featured a two-ingredient pizza dough packed with protein. We have 50 people we support receiving the Heat and Eat option and 148 people receiving the Prepped just Prepare kits.

Recently, Community Prevoc made 1,200 cookies to be packaged into cookie kits just in time for the holidays. In addition to the traditional sugar cookie cut-outs, there was a gluten-free/vegan option.

We hope to continue this model and expand the kits being available to all the people we support and staff.

Chef Meredith shows a completed Thanksgiving meal kit
A person we support works on packaging a meal kit in our culinary prep classroom
A young man poses with the pizza he prepped in our culinar prep classroom