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Expanding options for people

Friday, June 3, 2016Mosaic at Home Logo

This post by Linda Timmons appeared today on the Mosaic blog, MosaicPossible.org.

Sometimes something in plain sight remains hidden.   
 
That is the case for Mosaic’s host home services.  For more than 20 years, we’ve provided host home services in locations across the country.  It is a relationship-based model where the person receiving services lives with the person providing services in their home.  They live pretty much like roommates or an extended family.   
 
That’s why host home services are hidden in plain sight.  Host homes don’t look like group homes with staff members coming and going; they look like any other home in the neighborhood, or any other apartment in the building.  
 
Host homes have proven to be highly successful, both for the person receiving services and the person providing services.  They often create long-term, caring relationships.
 
Mosaic is expanding our host home services and we’ve created a new host home brand called Mosaic at Home.  To help people understand how it works, we’ve created some videos that tell the stories of people receiving services and people providing services.   
 
In this first video, you’ll hear some Mosaic at Home providers talk about why they do what they do.  Like all direct support work, it takes the right kind of person to be a Mosaic at Home provider.  And, like many of our direct care professionals, we’ve got some pretty amazing people as Mosaic at Home providers.
 
You’ll hear more about Mosaic at Home in the coming weeks and months.  It’s not a new way of serving people, but it is becoming a more popular way of serving people.  When you listen to the stories, I think you’ll see why.

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A Prom in Beatrice thanks to People First

Monday, May 23, 2016 Beatrice Prom crop
 
In April, the People First chapter at Mosaic in Beatrice (Nebraska) sponsored a prom in collaboration with nine local churches. Here is part of the story (published in the Beatrice Daily Sun):
 
"For one special evening, special needs men and women of all ages gathered in the gymnasium at Mosaic's Beatrice campus Wednesday night to celebrate a prom with friends and family.
 
Girls, boys, adults and elderly people with intellectual disabilities sang and danced with several church youth groups from Gage County as the two communities interacted in an event that stands out in a season full of proms.
 
Several parents and members of the Mosaic staff stood to the side and watched with pride and full smiles as the students and prom participants danced with one another.
 
At one point many in attendance joined to form a giant conga line that snaked around the gym. Later, a group of dancers took time teaching the cha cha slide to others in attendance.
 
“It’s awesome to come here and play games and share fellowship,” said Greg Carpenter of Christ Lutheran Church. “It lightens their day and they were looking forward to it. We try to do outreach with the kids.”
 
It’s always a good thing for them to interact with the other kids and it’s something that they look forward to, he added."
 
Read the whole story here.

More than a service provider

Thursday, May 5, 2016Scott and Jim

You know there is something amazing going on when a 27-year-old talks about a 61-year-old as his best friend.
But that’s what Scott Biehler says about Jim Wise, the man he supports.

Jim was receiving services at a Mosaic group home in Fort Collins.  Scott was a part-time worker who got to know him.  The two shared a love of football, silly jokes and insults (think ‘lewd, crude, rude bag of pre-chewed food dude’ from “Hook”), and just hanging out having fun.   

Scott says the two of them share the some personality.

When Jim was young, before a car accident left him in a coma-like state for nearly 20 years, he was an athlete who played baseball, skied and was a champion rodeo cowboy planning to be a veterinarian.  Scott is a high-energy, creative, soon-to-be-married tri-athlete.

A while back, when they made the decision in Colorado to transition as many people into host homes as possible, Jim was one of those people.  And Scott became his provider.   

Watching the two, you’d think you were watching two good buddies.  When asked about his job, Scott once said that he figures he’s retired and just gets to hang out all day with his best friend.

The two keep active, doing the things friends do – they talk sports and watch them on TV, eat out regularly (every Monday they’re at a local ribs joint), they grill out and have friends over to the house.   

Recently Scott took Jim skiing.  It was the first time Jim had been on the slopes in 40 years.  Scott pushes Jim in a specially made jogger when he runs races and so far they’ve competed in more than 50 of them.   

They also work to improve Jim’s skills.  Scott makes it fun by doing things like shooting a Nerf gun or playing catch with Velcro mitts.  They work on speech by doing their own version of a sing-a-long (Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” seems to be a favorite) and by helping Jim create and use conversation starting cards with questions for others.  

When asked about why he chose this life, Scott said, “(I’m) very strong-hearted. I know I can carry a load for two.  Since he can’t do everything, I know that I’m strong enough that I can carry it for him.”

Truly, something amazing is happening.

Familiar face, familiar smile and laugh

Wednesday, May 18, 2016Lynda Ogden web

Lynda Ogden, a 20-plus year employee at Mosaic, said she can’t imagine “being anywhere else or doing anything else.”
 
Lucky for Mosaic.
 
As a Program Training and Development Director, Lynda has traveled to all but two locations where Mosaic serves and is a familiar face for training and facilitating meetings.  She is also a familiar laugh and smile in those settings – if you know Lynda, it is hard to imagine her without a grin on her face.
 
“I love being able to touch a life and I always hope that I can leave each person in a better place,” she said.  “I love the variety of what I do, the places I go and the people I meet.”
 
Lynda’s career working with people with disabilities began when she became a teacher’s aide in special education in 1980.  Immediately, she “fell in love” with the children and having the opportunity to help them grow and become more independent.  
 
She quickly moved on to working as a day services coordinator.  Always up for a challenge, it wasn’t long before she started working in training when she was asked to provide supports for a 60-bed ICF-MR.  In 1988 she became an executive director and six years later, moved to Nebraska and started with Martin Luther Homes as a program training specialist.   
 
“I continue to say that I have the best job in the organization,” Lynda said.  “I have had so many opportunities to work with people across the country, and I have made such good friends over the years.”
 
The job also helped her learn to be ‘friends’ with herself.  The extensive travel away from her family and dogs, coupled with the alone time, has prompted her to learn a lot about herself.  
 
“I have found that I like spending time with myself.  I had to grow into that.”
 
The driving force for Lynda after nearly 40 years in this field is the same as it was when she started:
 
“I came because I loved the people I worked with and I stay because I still love the people I work with,” she said.  “I only hope that I have been able to give half as much as I have received over the 20-plus years that I have worked here.” 

This story originally appeared on Mosaic's blog, MosaicPossible.  Sign up to receive stories like this regularly in your inbox.

A day late, but thank you to all Mosaic Administrative Professionals

Sparklann Sparrow

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sparklann Sparrow won’t choose between quick or thorough, between kind or efficient. In her role as Administrative Assistant for Mosaic in Delaware, she makes sure she is both.
 
“I always want to make sure I’m doing everything I’ve committed to,” she said. “I try to go the extra mile like I would want people to do for me.”
 
The extra mile means doing those extra things, like drawing out a map if someone stops in the office asking for directions, or calling employees to remind them they have a mandatory training the next day so they won’t miss it.
 
Sparklann lives up to her name – you can hear her infectious smile through the phone. When asked about the unique name, she said she has come to thank her father for it, then adds that her sister is named Diamond and her brothers, Golden and Sterling.
 
Sparklann has been with Mosaic for nine years and had previously worked at a bank, a hospital and other jobs. But after coming to Mosaic, she plans to stay around for the long haul.
 
“You can tell that the people here really care about what they’re doing,” she said. “The mission statement has God in it. That’s all I need. What more could you ask for?”
 
One of the things Sparklann loves about her job is the thing that makes Administrative Professionals so valuable: she wears a lot of different hats. They include her administrative role like answering the phone and helping people with password resets, HR duties (she is working toward a bachelor’s in HR management), chairing the staff development committee and serving on four others, she is even supervising a person served by Mosaic as a part-time front-desk staff member.
 
She is never bored.
 
“Every year I’m growing more and doing more,” she said. “I never feel stagnant, never feel that I’m not growing or don’t have the opportunity to learn more. I do a lot, but I like the challenge. I like being busy. Most of the time I’m disappointed the day is over because I have more to do.”
 
Make sure that today – Administrative Professionals Day – you thank the Sparklann in your workplace for all they do to keep us organized, on time, and prepared; to make our letters look better, our visitors feel welcome, and our files in the right order; to calm us down and rev us up.
 
Our workplaces could not function without them.

(This appeared on Mosaic's blog, Mosaic Possible, yesterday.  Visit the blog to sign up and receive posts.)

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