As director of Opengate’s Day Hab program, Deborah Mayo welcomes more than 80 participants and 30 employees to a spacious, warm and inviting facility on Skyline Drive in Hawthorne, New York. The weekday program serves residents from family homes, and homes operated by Opengate and other New York State-based providers. Activities begin at 7:30 am when van drivers perform their vehicle inspections and set out to pick up those in their care, some as far as 45 minutes away.
“It’s like a fine orchestra performance,” says Mayo. “Each player has their individual daily assignments and, together, the result is a musical masterpiece.” She says this as she walks room-to-room among her staff and Day Hab participants all of whom she greets by name while also ensuring that one young man gets his daily stipend for volunteer work at the nearby Goodwill Center.
At Day Hab there is no typical day but when asked to describe one, Mayo says the day includes morning welcome, transition time, scheduled outings or activities, medication distribution, shared lunch, and afternoon outings or activities. The individuals depart in the same vans with a familiar driver and staffer who have worked with them all day. Participants belong to small groups and can be working on an art project or having an Xbox® party at the Microsoft Store at The Danbury Mall. They can be creating walking trails for animals housed at the SPCA in Briarcliff Manor or playing kickball at an inside sports facility in Tarrytown. They can be playing baseball with Westchester’s Miracle League. No matter what the activity is each person is busy, engaged and achieving their individual goals.
WOW – Without Walls
The on-site Day Hab staff hardly ever see the Without Walls (WOW) program participants because they rarely set foot in the Hawthorne building. Instead, they are transported directly to their volunteer work sites or recreational locations for the day. With more than 25 participants, this program is growing as Opengate becomes a forerunner in the field.