Spotlight on Carolyn Newton, DSP

Carolyn Newton

Carolyn Newton, DSP

Carolyn Newton’s smile and positive outlook has been an integral part of her position as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at Opengate since 2013. She works with a contagious enthusiasm that is felt among those she cares for as well as her co-workers.

Respect and dignity as part of our Opengate mission is taken seriously by Carolyn and her example for other DSPs serves as a teaching tool. Her warmth and comfortable personality engages everyone who meets her.

With a positive outlook on life, Carolyn adapts to any situation she encounters and she has no problem taking on tasks. She understands her duties to the residents and provides an organized structure while planning activities necessary for the success of our individuals.

Carolyn has had the opportunity to work at several Opengate sites where she immediately assesses what’s needed to complete all that she encounters. She has a full understanding of what’s expected of her and continuously rises above and beyond her assignments.

Advocating for the individuals with a positive approach, Carolyn recognizes the importance of leading by example. She works side by side with everyone and does her best to make each person feel special.

Opengate is grateful to have Carolyn Newton as a DSP representing our mission among our individuals as well as her co-workers.


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Be Fair to Direct Care

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For readers who aren’t familiar with the social media hashtag #bFair2DirectCare, it’s become the voice of a campaign for 130,000 New Yorkers with intellectual/developmental disabilities and nearly 100,000 Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who care for them.

The coalition is used as a call to action in the NY legislature to lobby for DSPs to receive a living wage for the work they do. If you’re a resident of NY, we encourage you to join with us in contacting your legislators. It’s as easy as clicking the following link to a list of districts and elected officials: http://www.elections.ny.gov/district-map/district-map.html

Even though a wage increase for DSPs was passed by the Governor earlier this year (after nearly 8 years), what’s now at stake is funding allocated to make up the difference for the increase in individual agency budgets.

The final 2017-18 NYS budget included a $55 million appropriation to take effect December 31, 2017 (so the current state fiscal year) and another one of $55 million to take effect in April 1, 2018 (ie, not until the following fiscal year). This amounts to a two-year commitment to help bring DSPs towards a living wage.

So, you see, the work is not done and we must ensure the upcoming 2018 budget, which will be decided in March, will include the $55 million appropriation to continue funding the wage increase for our DSPs.

As we’ve reported in several past articles, DSPs perform vital primary care for our individuals including administering medications, giving first aid and CPR, de-escalating dangerous situations, behavioral intervention, and providing for the safety of those they support.

Not only do DSPs provide daily care for our individuals, but they must also comply with all regulations, emergency procedures, and mounds of paperwork required for regulatory compliance and Medicaid billing.

Most DSPs in New York are paid between $10-$13 per hour for all they are required to do. Agencies like Opengate are in competition with big box or fast food stores who pay more and are able to raise the price of their product to compensate the difference.

Our mission is always to put our people first, and that includes providing consistent, competent caregivers who take pride in their work and take pleasure in their accomplishments. As we strive to offer more programs and services for our individuals, we must also improve the position of Direst Service Professionals with high standards, competitive wages, and a rewarding career choice.

#bFair2DirectCare holds rallies across the state to bring awareness of the issue to the public and directly contacts State legislators. Everyone can become involved in their campaigns.

Their social media activity can be seen on Facebook and Twitter and we urge you to follow, share, and tweet their posts. Their increase in reach and engagement becomes our way to show support for DSPs all over the state, and more specifically, our Opengate staff.

#bFair2DirectCare Website: http://www.bfair2directcare.com/home/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BFair2DirectCare/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fair2directcare


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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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#GivingTuesday & Year End Donation Appeal

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Thanks to our loyal donors, a positive difference has been made in the lives of the individuals we serve this year. Faithful donations allow them opportunities to experience life beyond their expectations, and we enjoy the pleasure it brings when they excel. We come to the end of another year, reflecting optimistically on outcomes, and looking forward to future successes for our individuals.

Once again, Opengate is participating in the social media campaign, #GivingTuesday which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as a way to kick off charity giving at the end of each year.

Many of the needs of our individuals are not covered by our funding sources and we rely on private contributions to help cover the gaps. Some of those items are community outings, sporting events, educational activities, holiday parties, keeping our facilities up to date, providing health and safety products and services, the latest electronics, and better self-advocacy and staff training.   Every gift creates hours of learning and delight.

The importance of private donations can never be understated. Without this support, many projects would not be possible and our individuals’ experiences would not be as rich.

We launch our 2017 Year End #GivingTuesday Campaign with the goal of reaching even more potential donors. Will you help us? Opengate donors always rise to the challenge and today you are challenged to encourage those in your community to consider their year-end donation as a gift to the individuals at Opengate.

Moving into a new year we stand firm on our mission to provide the best life experiences for our individuals. You are our best partner in fulfilling our mission year after year. As always, Opengate is grateful for the participation of our parents, long term donors, and supporters from the communities we serve.

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Our website has digital options to make contributions for the coming year and subscribe to our newsletter and blog for updates. www.opengateinc.org  

Thank you to all of our donors for your continued support.

 


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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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Employee of the Month, September 2017

Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Lim Kebe for being voted the Employee of the Month for September 2017!

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Lim Kebe, Employee of the Month

What began as a harrowing situation ended successfully when Lim Kebe intervened. One of the residents at our Bernstein house began choking, without hesitation he stepped in and treated the individual. If it wasn’t for Mr. Kebe’s quick decision making, the outcome could have been much worse for that individual and the others that witnessed the situation.

A Direct Support Professional (DSP) since January, 2017, Lim Kebe has shown exemplary service to those in his care, as this emergency situation indicates.

All DSPs are trained in first aid and CPR to handle individual’s emergencies such as this. His lengthy experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities is a credit to his employment with Opengate.

Employee of the Month is an honor bestowed on an a staff member by the nomination and votes of peers within the agency.


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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The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze!

The Blaze

Recently our individuals were treated (not tricked) to a spectacular evening at the Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze at the Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.  

Pumpkins galore, cut and decorated in a variety of styles line the grounds of the manor, illuminated against the backdrop of 18th century buildings and riverside walk.

Shaped into a variety of forms, including the Statue of Liberty, a giant spider web, and, of course, the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, over 7,000 pumpkins create a wonderland for the Fall season.

Sound effects, synchronized lighting, and original music add to the spooky and festive occasion held each year for 45 days and attended by thousands. “The Blaze” is one of the area’s most incredible events with many restaurants and food services offering Blaze themed fare for attendees.

All of our individuals and staff who were able to attend had a most enjoyable time and returned with phenomenal tales of their amazing trip.

Opengate would like to extend our gratitude to Claudia Marks for her donation to make this event happen for our people.  We are pleased that she heeded our call for items not covered by our traditional funding sources so that our individuals can attend events such as The Blaze.


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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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