A Christmas Letter to Siffrin Friends:
Greeting Friends and Supporters,
Thomas Jefferson once said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
As 2020 began, we initiated new ground-breaking services. We continued to develop the collaboration between Siffrin and Kent State University Stark, to house our Siffrin Academy, and it was publicized quite well in the Canton Repository. We received several positive comments from legislatures and the general public, as well as from our peers throughout the county. This association soon led to the opening of a similar program at Kent State University, Trumbull County. This endeavor was publicized on local television. We also applied for and received a grant from the Stark Community Foundation (SCF) to help fund the Academy in Stark County. The SCF also believed this program was innovative and necessary, and we were, and are, very appreciative of their assistance, support and validation of what we do. There was also interest from Wayne College, University of Akron, in starting an Academy at their Wayne County location, to be revisited in the spring of 2021.
At this same time, our operation was being surveyed by three surveyors from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Shortly after the review, we received word that we were awarded a 3-year accreditation status, our 7th consecutive 3-year status award. Another validation of our quality services by an independent entity. This survey yielded the least amount of recommendations in our history of being reviewed by CARF.
Then in March of this year, the world changed for all of us. We closed our office, except for the Finance department, and began working at home. Communication between staff became primarily electronic and grants were pursued to supplement our operations. Interaction with the county boards, the Department of DD and OPRA intensified so we could stay informed on everything from safety measures, to financial opportunities, to maintaining service delivery to our individuals. Staff engagement became even more essential in order to retain enough staff to carry on meaningful services and to deploy staff where they were most needed. We gave bonuses to staff to show our appreciation for their heroism, working on the front lines as the pandemic escalated to unanticipated numbers. In the beginning stages, we were able to maintain the safety of all our individuals and staff, but as the Governor opened up the community, there were more and more opportunities for the virus to penetrate our protective layer. I do think we were able to take the necessary steps to keep the majority of our people safe, even after several incidents of exposure, and we continue that diligence today.
Our Day Service programs began operating out of the homes, we initiated instruction remotely with great success and our staff adapted to every curve ball thrown their way. We cut back severely on transportation for both safety and financial reasons. The Ohio Department of DD limited the number of people we could serve in our respective locations, so once again we adapted accordingly. Even now we are creatively organizing home services to maintain the safety of our individuals and staff, which takes a strong relationship and clear communication with our respective county boards.
For this year, 2020, and especially from March through December, I could not be more proud of all aspects of the Siffrin organization. While success could have been measured by just maintaining business as usual, as a group, Siffrin was creative, innovative, persuasive, engaged, loyal, kind and successful in carrying out our mission and vision during the worst of times. The Board of Director’s was supportive and understanding of what the staff were going through. The administration took all precautions, some working from home while others-maintained office operation. Management and Mid-Management staff worked hard to cover shifts, work shifts and maintain communication with each other, as well as with county board personnel. Support staff maintained the office staff needs and at home worker’s needs, as well as web site information. Direct Support Professionals worked many hours at the risk of their own health and the health of their families. I will add that in the midst of all of this chaos, our staff still helped their fellow staff by providing the resources so Thanksgiving meals could be delivered to Siffrin staff families in need. Our Siffrin staff also collected and provided over 236 toys to a South Canton elementary school so they could distribute them to identified families in their district, making sure children will have presents under the tree.
Our staff do not wish things were easier; they wish things were better. They chase success with a passion that says we not only can make things better, we will make things better.
A Happy New Year to one and all. Embrace the season of light and joy for, not only, the gifts you have been given, but those that you can give as well.
Special Thank you to Cynthia Best, Director of Residential and Community Support in Mahoning County, for coordinating Siffrin's 12 Days of Christmas.
Thank you to everyone who donated toys this year. Your generosity is appreciated at this time of uncertainty. You helped Siffrin deliver 231 toys to a local elementary school. This exceeds our goal, and we couldn't be happier to play a part in brightening Christmas for those children in need.
Merry Christmas to All!
Santa’s sleigh was loaded and sent on its merry way to deliver meals to 12 families. Due to the overwhelming response of donations totaling more than $1400 and non-perishable food items, Siffrin was able to provide them with everything to prepare Christmas breakfast and dinner. Thank you to everyone who gave to Staff Supporting Staff this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Special thanks to HR for coordinating all of this.
Siffrin would like to thank everyone who has helped with our Staff Supporting Staff campaign. Siffrin is grateful for the contributions of volunteers from Zion Lutheran Church for their annual support of those in need during this season.
Tara MacLean, Director of Human Resources (left) and Lisa Robarge, HR Specialist, getting ready for deliveries.
Staff Supporting Staff
To Staff, Individuals, Partners and our Community,
It has now been seven months since Siffrin took appropriate actions to guarantee the health and safety of those we serve and our dedicated staff. Some programs were discontinued, some were relocated and others took place electronically. We initiated safety precautions, acquired PPE’s and put policies into place for the safety of all. While we certainly continue our diligence and sincerity in maintaining a safe environment, we are taking steps to return to providing services and addressing the needs of our individuals. Our day service programs are opening back up with limited numbers of participants to maintain the required physical distance. We are transporting individuals to day services again with limited numbers in our busses. Siffrin has been a leader in the field in conducting virtual learning, and we continue to be creative in developing electronic instruction for those who choose to participate. The two Siffrin Academies have also resumed services, and there has been increased interest in persons wanting to enroll. It is through the combined efforts of Siffrin’s Board of Directors, Administration, Management and Direct Support Professionals that we have been able to minimize the effect of COVID in the organization. Siffrin will continue to keep abreast of the latest trends and patterns of this pandemic and act preventatively to ensure everyone’s safety.
Bradley L. Vincent
Making a Difference
Tammy tells WKBN News why she donated her stimulus check to local charities. How kind and generous, Tammy!
A Statement from the CEO
Siffrin’s purpose, mission, philosophy, and culture are based on the premise that all persons have equal rights and should be able to freely and without distinction, safely integrate within their communities. We believe that regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability all persons should be treated with respect and dignity. Siffrin will maintain an open dialogue, discussion, and thus, awareness among our employees and stakeholders about the importance of equal treatment of all people within our organization and the community. It resides within us all, the responsibility to change the negativity in our world and restore the hope and promise of justice for all.
Bradley L. Vincent
We are pleased to announce that Siffrin has been issued a three-year accreditation from CARF International. The survey which took place in January applies to our services in Employment Support, Job Development, and Community Housing. This marks the 10th consecutive 3-year accreditation from CARF which is the highest award. We continue our dedication and commitment to improving the lives of those we serve since our first survey in 1993. This accreditation will extend until March 31, 2023.
Value of CARF Accreditation
CARF accreditation signals a service provider's commitment to continually improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community. Providers that meet our standards have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best available.
Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
Siffrin Academy saw its first location open in 2017. Based at Siffrin’s Mahoning Regional office in Austintown, Ohio, the program offers postsecondary education and pre-vocational training. This program is geared to those transitioning into life after high school and those on a path to employment.
Siffrin Academy in Stark County will be underway soon at Kent State University Stark Campus. The university setting will allow those enrolled in the Academy to interact with students on campus and allows those KSU students to work with those in the Academy as part of a mentoring program. The relationship between KSU Stark and Siffrin will give participants a unique opportunity to make their own choices with their education in an integrated learning environment.
Siffrin Academy Launches a Location in Stark County
Brad Vincent, Siffrin CEO and Denise Seachrist, Dean of KSU Stark