One of the outstanding abilities of Monica Healey is building teams. Before she began working at Opengate 37 years ago, Monica taught Physical Education, Health, and Science as well as coached basketball and track. A friend recommended she consider an available position at Opengate as Recreational Director to establish a new recreation program.
Monica’s team building skills easily transition to her current position as Senior Corporate Compliance Specialist where she interacts daily with residents and staff as well as coordinates internal audits and special projects/events. The goal is to work together to provide quality services and choices while ensuring regulations are being met.
She also is responsible for interfacing with regulatory agencies when unannounced visits to the program areas are conducted.
Monica and other staff members often interact with the individuals’ families. She reports that family members are quite involved, supportive, and have easy access to staff if there are any concerns. “Quality of life” is a phrase often heard describing the experience of Opengate’s residents, something that Monica and her team play a part in providing for all individuals.
While there are challenges, she states that Opengate is proud to have the ability to assist people with challenging behaviors who were not successful elsewhere offering support for them to achieve.
Some of the changes Monica describes during her time at Opengate include expansion of resources within the community, and throughout the county, which has resulted in opportunities for even more individuals to choose from to achieve their goals. She feels the caliber of Opengate’s services has been a direct result of the expectations of CEO, Brian Hulten, from the homes, to the vehicles, to any new projects. Proposed projects or programs are scrutinized for each item that would be required to be successful. In other words, there are clear expectations and they must be met before the project moves forward.
Special Olympics is a project of which Monica is proud to be a part. For several years she has coordinated the program with other outside agencies as well as Opengate residents. She believes that not only does Special Olympics help to teach teamwork, but also aids residents with socialization and interaction skills.
Listed among favorite memories of Monica’s 37 years with Opengate are picnics hosted by the Grasso family at their farm. A whole day was coordinated to include residents and staff enjoying activities such as hayrides, music, dancing, ice cream, and barbeque. Sporting events were planned along with feeding horses and swimming. It was a full day of fun and games!
Looking towards the future of Opengate, Monica praises the Board of Directors for continuing to move forward with innovative ideas that support Opengate’s mission. She sees all aspects of the agency remaining steadfast in maintaining the excellence Opengate is known for.
In her spare time, Monica enjoys the beaches in summer and ice skating in winter months.