Ginny Vreeland, Treasured Board Member

Ginny Vreeland and son, Geoffrey

Board of Directors member, Ginny Vreeland, became familiar with Opengate while in the position as a nurse employed there from 1981-1985. When it came time to find suitable housing for her son with developmental disabilities, she already knew where the best place for him would be.

She recalls son Geoffrey’s behavior challenges and how he arrived at Opengate as a frantic, agitated young man. He was eventually able to become more relaxed through the care of staff and programs. Because he is minimally verbal, it takes special attention and time to learn to read his signals and respond appropriately. Now, as a 49-year-old man, he is able to interact more suitably.

Ginny attributes much of the progress and expectations of excellence for the growth of Opengate to the leadership of CEO Brian Hulten along with the professionalism of the members of the Board, and the high quality and dedication of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Over the years, she has seen advancements made in the areas of person-centered programs, community-based resources, as well as activities for the residents. But, she says the greatest part of the expansion of Opengate services has been the training and promotion of DSPs and staff members.

Ginny relates a recent incident when Geoffrey displayed highly agitated behavior for no apparent reason. He was examined by Peggy, who knows him well, yet nothing physically was found to explain his agitation. In this state he was unable to be still, was very restless, refusing to eat, or sleep. He would often pull suddenly away from his one-to-one staff and take off running the halls. During one such episode, he fell. Following precautionary procedures, he was taken to the emergency room for further appraisal. Part of the examination process was a CAT scan, a test in which you must be very still, obviously a challenge for Geoffrey at this time.

The DSPs who accompanied Geoffrey sat with him and sang to him for over 8 hours so that all procedures could be done successfully. Elijah, Dallas, Earl, and William knew exactly which songs would quiet Geoffrey and they remained beside him singing as he was having the scan.

Ginny says, “Where do you find people like that!? Even during one of the most stressful situations they remained kind and calm, treating him with gentleness and patience.” As it turned out, a minor tweak in Geoffrey’s medication was needed and he is now back to himself.

Continuing her praise for the staff, she has observed over the years that they know each resident, their triggers, and what it takes to calm them when needed, treating them all as unique individuals. They are excellent at helping each resident, reach toward their highest potential. She says one staff member told her that working closely with these individuals has made them a better person, and they learned so much from each other.

Her fondest memories of her time at Opengate is the fact that staff members have helped her son reach toward his potential, that he is comfortable and happy, and receiving the best quality of life available to him.

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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Annual Holiday Festivities

December 19 Opengate individuals were treated to the annual Holiday Party held at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains.

Along with a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and their busy Elf, party goers celebrated the holiday spirit with a lovely meal, hugs, and gifts.

Everyone at Opengate wishes you a Happy Holiday Season!

Opengate Executive Staff enjoyed themselves at the Crowne Plaza holiday gathering with Employee and DSP of the Year!

Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you! 

Opengate Executive Staff
Kristin Elkins, Grace Verderame, Brian Hulten, June Jarvis and Victoria Ribon

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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Highlights of Fall Events 2019

left-D’Andre, top middle-Stephen, top right-Nixon & Jamie, bottom middle-Roger, bottom right-Olare & Tracy

On October 30, Opengate celebrated the fall season by attending Octoberfest held at Vittoria’Z On The Lake in Jefferson Valley.

Not only did individuals and staff feast on a sit down luncheon of salad, chicken parmigiana, and ziti with cake for dessert, they were also treated to afternoon festivities including a DJ and dancing. As you can see, no one was left in their seat!

The next day, October 31, we celebrated Halloween with a festive party and costumes. The event was held at the Day Program Building in Somers, NY. Everyone in attendance had a spectacular time!

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, November 2019

We are happy to announce the November Employee of the Month at Opengate, Satish Edwards, Lead Counselor from the ICF Lehr Program.  Satish was nominated and recognized for the love and attention she gives the individuals in her care.  Satish feels it’s important to make sure the house and the individuals are always clean and tidy.  An example of her attention to detail and caring nature was exhibited when she observed an individual’s legs were swelling and would require medical attention.  Satish advocated for the individual which resulted in a visit to the ER and a potentially serious situation being averted. 

Satish has been a valued member of the Opengate family for over two years and was recently promoted to Lead Counselor. She has proven to be a caring team player who believes in our vision and mission. 

Satish, thank you for all that you do with the Individuals we serve.  This recognition is well-deserved.

“Employee of the Month recipients receive a $100 bonus as our appreciation.  We will continue to recognize employees each month, so stay tuned as you may be the next recipient!”

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 is Here!

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 3, 2019 and every day.

It was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

On December 3, 2019, join the movement and give – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, or the power of your voice in your local community. GivingTuesday.Org 

For 50 years we have been fortunate to partner with generous donors to observe the growth of Opengate from a small organization serving approximately 30 people, to a premier behavioral health agency. 

Throughout 2019 we published stories, memories, and individual accomplishments made possible only because, as an Opengate benefactor, YOU made it happen!

The addition of our weekly music therapy program allows residents like Brett the opportunity to express themselves through music. Funded by donations from Mrs. Claudia Marks, the program provides positive responses and reactions from the participants and enriches their experience.

Brett and his peers also attend social functions and parties along with sporting events supported entirely through private contributions. His parents, Dr. and Mrs. Roger Rose, made it possible to build the Rose Greenhouse in Somers allowing us to offer the gardening program in which residents find much pleasure.

Every day your support makes stories like Brett’s possible and assists our mission to give all of our individuals a quality life experience.

The development of new services comes with a price. Opengate scrutinizes each expansion project before approving to confirm that it will be successful. Many new programs are not covered under our regular funding sources and rely on financial sponsors for favorable outcomes. The benefit to individuals, their families, and the community is priceless.

We begin a new year with the goal of creating additional success stories for the individuals we serve, and we ask that you join us to clear the way for further expansion in 2020. Your special year-end contribution will make a lasting impact in their lives.

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

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

Recurring donation button

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