As part of our Direct Support Professionals Week, WSC has selected a special employee of the year from our list of employees of the month. It is an honor to name Savara Willis our Employee of the Year! In addition to the award, she receives a $250.00 prize!
Savara does an incredible job working in our Bonair Residential Program. Here are a few shots of her with our team member Eva and also with one of the individuals that she supports day-to-day.
For special needs advocates, the journey to developing a tailored strategy to support and safeguard the most vulnerable in society is marked with many uphill and emotional challenges. It takes time, information and resources to navigate the many complex private and statewide services to ensure eligibility and attention. At times, all issues seem to be urgent when dealing with a disability.
On October 8, the Walnut Street Center and attorney Kimberly L. Kelly will offer a free supportive workshop that will arm long-term special needs advocates with invaluable and effective tools to facilitate and encourage their work. The program will give an overview of general advocacy, plus medical and financial advocacy such as guardianship, conservatorship and trusts. Everyone will leave with a 44-page handbook that addresses how to express views and concerns; accessing information and services; rights and responsibilities; and exploring choices and options. This program is not to be missed.
Kimberly L. Kelly of the Law Office of Kimberly L. Kelly LLP has been practicing law for more than 16 years, concentrating in Guardianships, Conservatorships, Probate/Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Trust Administration, MassHealth Planning, and more. She launched her law practice in 2010 and in 2016 established a partnership with Attorney Baglio and Kelaher to better serve her clients.
We’re celebrating National Direct Support Professionals all week long. We could not continue our mission without the dedicated caregivers who work hard every day to make the lives of the people we serve with disabilities safe, joyful, and fulfilled. From tokens of appreciation, an employee of the year award presentation, icecream socials, and a grand finale celebration to cap it all off. We’re excited to show our appreciation all week to those who make the biggest impact.
Taste of Somerville is the city’s premiere culinary event returns on June 12! This year we’re celebrating in a new home — on the banks of the Mystic River at Assembly Row. Produced by the Somerville Chamber of Commerce Dining & Nightlife Group, the Taste of Somerville is a unique way to experience our dining and nightlife scene.
Last year’s event served over 1,200 guests a comprehensive array of food, drink, and entertainment from 60+ restaurants, bars, beverage providers, and local artisans.
We’re honored to be this year’s beneficiary as we’ve enjoyed teaming up with this fantastic event for the last three years! Somerville was not only our home page many many years of operation but we also maintain our shared living programs in and around Somerville, as well. We are so lucky to be involved in this city, community, and event!
Wonderful news to share with our friends and family this April! The Walnut Street Center has been awarded the Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund (TNSF) grant by Tufts University Community Relations. Our very own Sara O’brien will be attending the event today and representing WSC in receiving this honor.
We want to thank both Tufts University and also our team for all of their hard work each day! We’re honored to be given this spotlight and grant money to continue our work of serving our community members. To learn about exactly what we do and see our mission statement visit our About Page.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. It affects all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, one in every 59 children has autism. World Autism Month marks an opportunity to learn about the ASD and how it impacts more than 70 million individuals around the world such as Jimmy. Jimmy is 22-years-old and lives with his family in Everett. To help with everyday challenges, he attends the Walnut Street Center’s Day Program that combines Community-Based Day and Day Habilitation services. This program provides comprehensive clinical services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing support as well as opportunities to access the community. The Walnut Street Center is a non-profit organization based in Medford serving adults with intellectual disabilities in the Greater Boston area.
“Autism means to me that I learn differently from others,” says Jimmy.
Everyone has a style of learning that works best for them. For Jimmy, he is most successful in a one-on-one setting using visual supports rather than auditory input. Seeing visual supports such as pictures, objects, sign language or text, helps him retain and process information. It may be a reason why he has an interest in painting. Through the center, Jimmy participates in life skills, pre-vocational and educational groups in Greater Boston. He enjoys detailed work at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown and being with the animals at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham.
“I always want to learn more,” says Jimmy. “I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.”
One of Jimmy’s great interests is history. He is curious by nature and can often be found researching historical topics online. His favorite subjects are World War II and the Samurais. The Samurais were the ruling military class in Japan and grew to become the highest-ranking social caste during the Edo Period (1603-1867).
Daily routines help Jimmy learn and provide a regular rhythm. He never hesitates to hold a door open or assist someone with their bag. It is these small predictable actions that provide calm to his life. Many adults and children with ASD have difficulty making sense of everyday movements, sounds, and activities. What may sound normal or a symphony to others, may come across as white noise to those with ASD. Routines and repetition create an expected, safe, and secure environment.
“I want people to know that I am a good person,” says Jimmy. “I want to meet and talk with people. And I don’t want to be treated differently.”
If you know of a family or individual that may benefit from the Walnut Street Center or are merely looking for a recognized corporate sponsorship program, visit https://www.wscinc.org/ for more information.
Massachusetts Day Habilitation Coalition ELECTS Jay Hayston Vice chairperson
Association Advocates for MA Members that Operate Day Habilitation Programs
MEDFORD, MA – (February 2018) – Walnut Street Center’s Director of Day Services, Jay Hayston was elected Vice Chairperson of the Massachusetts Day Habilitation Coalition, an association that provides peer support, government relations and advocates for policy changes and reimbursement for its members that operate day habilitation programs in Massachusetts. Hayston was previously Co-Secretary.
“I am privileged to join this board that represents some of the best leaders in the field,” said Hayston whose term is one-year. “The opportunity pairs well with my educational pursuits and allows me to have a greater voice in achieving the coalitions’ objectives, such as developing critical programs and engaging with state funders.”
Hayston has more than ten years’ of experience in human services. As Walnut Street Center’s Director of Day Services, he oversees all-day program operations that include Community-Based Day, Day Habilitation, Group Employment, and Individual Employment services. Prior he was the Assistant Director of Day Services. Hayston has a B.A. degree in psychology and an MBA. He is pursuing a doctorate in policy and law.
“We are happy to have Jay Hayston join the officers in the coalition. He will lead our member providers in creating best practices that promote community involvement and therapeutic services for people with disabilities,” said Kristin Falvey of Bay Cove Human Services and the Chair of Massachusetts Day Habilitation Coalition. “Jay has a vision for establishing a peer support network and training opportunities for Directors of Day Habilitation.”
The five-member board consists of Falvey, Hayston, plus Treasurer Carla Guenette of United Cerebral Palsy MetroBoston, Secretary Anne Holton of Arc of the South Shore and Co-Secretary Funmi Korede from Northeast ARC. Meetings are held at the Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester.
Walnut Street Center Inc. is a non-profit agency that provides a wide array of services to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Started in the late 1960’s by a community of parents seeking services for their children, the Center now offers services including 24-hour Residential Support, Individual Home Support, Supported Employment, Group Employment, Community-Based Day Support and Day Habilitation. Residentially, the agency serves over 100 individuals. Services are mainly funded through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) from the Charles River West, Central Middlesex and Metro North Areas. MassHealth funds the Day Habilitation program. The agency is proud to partner with Medford and surrounding communities to provide quality services. To learn more, visit https://www.wscinc.org.php72-38.lan3-1.websitetestlink.com. Like us on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Produced by the Somerville Chamber of Commerce Dining & Nightlife Group, the Taste of Somerville is a unique way to experience our dining and nightlife scene. There was about 80 local vendors to peruse and entertainment to enjoy all evening long; Wednesday June 14th!
What made this event even better? Proceeds from the Taste of Somerville are going to benefit us here at Walnut Street Center and our friends at the Somerville Home. There were also ways to win a bounty of prizes in our raffle, too!
The event featured:
Lawn Lounge / Entertainment
If you joined us outside for all the fun in Nathan Tufts Park, we hope you had an amazing time! To view event photos from our VIP area, please click here.