Employee of the Month, March 2017

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Congratulations to Michael Simpkins who was voted Employee of the Month!

Throughout his time at Opengate, Inc., Michael Simpkins has been observed going above and beyond his job description.

Each holiday he can be seen putting up the seasonal decorations and quite often participating in arts and craft projects with the individuals.

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Michael Simpkins, Employee of the Month

Michael consistently shows genuine care and love for the individuals he works with and it’s obvious to all that he loves his job. He always comes to work with a smile and positive attitude.

He’s an excellent role model for his peers, never complains and always speaks positively.

The Employee of the Month is elected by a vote of their peers.

To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Light it Up Blue for Autism Awareness

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Officially April 2 is deemed World Autism Day and across the world it’s celebrated by lighting up blue on buildings, homes, and businesses to bring attention to autism.

April is also National Autism Awareness month set aside to educate communities and bring awareness to autism. Promoting and recognizing the complexities of autism, as well as fostering inclusion and acceptance, is a large part of the planned activities at organizations like Opengate who serve many individuals diagnosed with autism.

Liz Dama, who works with individuals in our Day Program, has declared “Blue Tuesdays” during the month of April where everyone wears blue in recognition of the national campaign, Light it Up Blue.

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The accepted symbol for autism awareness is puzzle pieces of many colors representing the complexity of the condition. Each color reveals an enhancement of the nature of autism, as well as the possibilities for a life well lived through proper understanding and awareness.

“Interests and talents can turn into careers. Developing and nurturing these unique abilities can make life more fulfilling for a person with autism.” – Dr. Temple Grandin

Those with autism present vast levels of capability and each individual deserves to be met where they are, learning to best use their talents and skills. Opengate fosters an environment of consideration and care through programs and services designed to support the individual based on their ability.

liub_2017By wearing blue, or planning community awareness activities, it’s hoped that the message will reach far and wide during the month of April, and beyond, that individuals with autism have much to contribute to our world when they are accepted, understood, and encouraged.

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To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

 

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April: Autism Awareness Month

April Autism Awareness Month The puzzle piece logo representing the many facets of autism is recognized worldwide as the symbol for this puzzling condition  colored by its mystery and complexity.

Like an integral piece of the puzzle, those with autism search for their place to “fit in” and integrate within a society where they may often feel isolated. As complex as the disorder can be, the needs for those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be just as complex, from specialized therapies to ongoing care.

According to the Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) who monitors the prevalence of ASD, it has risen from one in 150 in 2000, to one in 68 in 2010, and although there is no known cure, there are successful treatments, therapies and approaches that benefit those diagnosed with ASD.

Although autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, the puzzle logo also designates hope through it’s bright primary colors. Each color reveals an enhancement of the nature of the condition, as well as the possibilities for a life well lived through proper understanding and awareness.

As those with ASD transition into adulthood there are more pieces to fit into the puzzle such as employment, housing, and independence. Opengate, an Emerging COMPASS Agency, assists these individuals to make informed choices that will ease the transitions and offer them opportunities that may not otherwise be available.

Included in the Opengate mission statement: “Opengate realizes the rights of developmentally disabled individuals to become part of the mainstream to the maximum extent of their capabilities. “

Those with autism present vast levels of capability and each individual deserves to be met where they are, learning to best use their talents and skills. Opengate fosters an environment of consideration and care through programs and services designed to support the individual based on their ability.

In observance of Autism Awareness Month each April, we ponder over each piece of the jigsaw puzzle logo and observe how to best educate the public and contribute to the enrichment of those living with autism as well as their families and caregivers.

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To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Consider Legacy Giving

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Legacy giving is is a form of philanthropy that involves contributing one’s assets through wills and estate plans to enhance the mission and work of a charitable institution.

Most people make charitable donations throughout their lifetime, yet only approximately 10% create legacy gifts, mainly because they were never asked to do so, or do not understand the importance of this form of contribution.

“The benefits of legacy giving to agencies such as Opengate is to give the agency the ability for long- term financial stability and sustaining the services we provide to our individuals, many whose parents are our reliable donors,” says Brian Hulten, Chief Executive Officer. “It also allows us to give those parents the peace of mind that their children will be cared for after they are gone.”

Opengate encourages our friends to be recruiters for Opengate, sharing your positive experiences with others and having conversations about our long-term goals.” says Randi Rios-Castro, Chief Operating Officer

Almost everyone has the ability to create a legacy gift. It’s not just for the wealthy because no gift is too small and every gift has the ability to impact on someone’s life. There are many forms of legacy giving and none are difficult to create. “Even if you aren’t a parent of one of our individuals, but stand by our mission with regular donations, your planned gift is important to continue your own philanthropic legacy,” says Hulten.

Opengate has simple legacy giving programs in place and we offer anyone the opportunity to consult with someone on our staff about which program suits their needs best.

According to Randi Rios-Castro, Chief Operating Officer: “We feel our agency’s mission is too important to leave to chance, and reliance on our dwindling share of government funding has created the need to greatly enhance our legacy giving programs.” In fact, in order to have long-term survival, all non-profits recognize the need to diversify revenue streams. Legacy giving is one way to go into the future by expanding Opengate’s donor base and knowing the agency’s work will be sustained.

Each legacy gift has a significant impact on the future of Opengate and, especially, for the individuals we serve. Generous donations not only assist with the everyday expenses, but also allows us to make improvements in our resources for adults with disabilities and ensuring their future includes the stability they so deserve.

The success of legacy giving is measured by extensive participation from others in the community as well as regular donors. “As always, Opengate encourages our friends to be recruiters for Opengate, sharing your positive experiences with others and having conversa- tions about our long-term goals,” says Rios-Castro.

To receive detailed information about how you can create a legacy gift to Opengate, please call or email Randi Rios-Castro at (914) 277-5350 or randir@ opengateinc.org.

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To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Help Save Our Services

Save our Services

Medicaid changes are upon us!

ACTION ALERT!

On Thursday, the House of Representatives is going to vote on the Affordable Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA), which would repeal the Affordable Care Act and include historic changes to Medicaid. We need you to tell Congress NOW that THIS BILL IS UNACCEPTABLE because as written, it could harm people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities by reducing how much Medicaid funding they receive. The bill does this by changing Medicaid to a per capita cap program, which would fix set limits on how much Medicaid can spend per person. It is important for you to ACT NOW because this Thursday’s vote is the first major step for the bill to become law, before it goes to the Senate for final approval and the White House for the President’s signature. Members of Congress are facing significant pressure from Congressional Leadership and the White House to support the bill and they need to hear from you loudly and multiple times this week.

Before you go home today:

Call Congress to tell them this bill, as currently written, causes unacceptable harm to people with IDD. We have instructions and a short script ready for you here

Email Congress – use our email action tool to send a pre-written message to your own Members of Congress. Feel free to personalize it. You will need to fill out the form so our tool can identify your Members of Congress.

Congress needs to hear from providers in large numbers for this message to register, so please share this alert with all your networks – colleagues, employees, self-advocates and families, your members and your allies. This is the time to enter the fight – you do not want to look back and regret not having spoken up at this historical moment in the Medicaid program. Together, we can save our services!

*Reprinted from ANCOR newsletter

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To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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