DSP Celebration Week

In honor of National Direct Support Professionals Recognition week Jawonio is celebrating the valuable contributions that our DSP staff make to the Jawonio Community by posting personal profiles of a few of our team.

Meet Berbernadette-dorisco-solo-shot-at-fisher-housenadette Dorisca, originally from Nippes, Haiti currently resides in Garnerville, NY and works at Jawonio at Fisher House as a Direct Support Professional. She has worked in this position for the past four years. She also works as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a nursing home nearby. When she first came to the U.S. she stayed at home raising her young son for a few years. When she decided she wanted to go to work, she spoke to a close friend who suggested she take classes to become a Certified Nursing Aide since she was interested in the medical field and helping others. “I like the work because I like helping people. My main goal is to help others.”

Her day starts at 6:30am when she does her rounds and checks up on the consumers she takes care of, helps them prepare for their day with personal care such as dressing and getting breakfast. Then the day’s program, lunch and taking care of the personal needs of the people she works with throughout the day. She finishes up at 3pm.bernadette-dorisco-w-monica-at-fisher-house

“Jawonio is a really good place to work. It’s good because of the consumers and my co-workers. I love the people who I work with here and I feel the love back.”

Bernadette is pictured here with Monica, resident of Fisher House.

Thank you Bernadette and all of the hard working DSP’s who provide excellent care with heart here at Jawonio.

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Jawonio Platinum Award Winner

We were humbled and grateful to receive the Platinum Award, the Tri-State American Heart Association’s highest award for our organizational on-site health & wellness programs.


Pictured below, (left) our CEO Jill Warner receiving the award from JoAnn Parker, Regional Director AHA.

jill pic

Congrats to Viola James, HR Benefits & Wellness Manager seen below with Director of Nursing, Joanne Lupo (right).

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Congratulations to all, and a special “shout out” to the team who planned and beautifully executed the First Annual Jawonio Health and Wellness Fair.

2016 First Quarter Accomplishments


Each quarter, Jawonio reports out to our Board of Directors the accomplishments from each division of our organization.  Below is the first quarter’s accomplishments for 2016.  Please click on the heading of each division for more information.

If you have any questions about the information below, please contact Molly Gibeau-Griffin, Jawonio Foundation Manager at: molly.gibeau-griffin@jawonio.org.



April 18, 2016


  • Completed 118 family intakes in this quarter. Department rapidly growing [active cases – 720].
  • Implementing three DSRIP projects with active participation on three separate committees within each of the Performing Partners Systems. (PPS)
  • Fully implemented embedded Care Coordination in Health Center serving individuals new to Jawonio and supporting individuals who are homeless.


  • Completed nine perfect OPWDD audits this quarter.
  • Completed Johansen and Altman Ct ICF conversions to IRAs. Both programs also converted day programs into Day Habilitation Programs.
  • Hired two managers and one Program Director this quarter.
  • Held Health Fair at TECH Building managed by Dominican College nursing Students.


  • Executed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Cornerstone (formerly Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center) for divestiture of Jawonio’s Article 28 Health Center services and integration with Jawonio’s other related service lines (behavioral health, care management, etc). Submission of Cornerstone’s Federal application pending development of lease for space rental at current site.
  • Hired new psychiatrist and psychiatric social worker in Health Center’s behavioral health area due to growing demand.
  • Formalized and strengthened (grant-funded) embedded care coordinator in Health Center.
  • Implemented standalone electronic medical record (EMR) in therapies (PT, OT, Speech) portion of Article 16 Health Center.
  • Continued improvement and expansion activities in Health Center (optimizing staff overtime hours, implementation of corrective actions for employee performance issues, increasing focus on reducing impact of patient cancellations/no shows through more effective scheduling).


  • Full participation for all preschool programs in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which means that all children now receive snacks and lunch free at school.  The program reimburses the school a substantial part of the cost of the food.
  • Facilitated Parent Training on transition from preschool to kindergarten in English and Spanish simultaneously by Gail Nachimson and Esther Spiegel.
  • Recertified all Katzen staff in ‘Handle With Care:  Emergency Intervention System’, as per NYSED regulations.
  • Secured $4,000 grant from Assemblywoman Jaffee to use for upgrades to Early Intervention classrooms.
  • Received $5,000 donation for equipment in Early Intervention from ‘Sinead’s Green Heart’ from the Murphy family.



  • All programs attended March rally for “Fund the Fifteen” in support of DSP wages.
  • Westchester Day Habilitation and Pre-Vocational Services
    • Reorganized services into teams with a specialty focus in a reorganization. Two team leaders (supervisors) are being recruited.
    • Shedricka Edwards promoted to Program Director of Westchester Day Services.
    • Without Walls program advocated with Human Resources in support of direct care staff and funding of new minimum wages.

Community Employment Services (CES) 

  • Orange County services expansion continues:
    • Seven individuals enrolled in ETP or Pathways to Employment and two ETP referrals pending.
    • Membership and participation in OSCEAN (Orange & Sullivan Employment Action Network).
  • Mental Health Employment Legislative Grant: 23 job saves to date with wrap around funds.
  • Initiated ACCES Youth Employment Services (YES) Pilot Program with New Rochelle High School students, with 10 youth participants after school hours. Participants will receive soft skills and work readiness training, as well as assistance in pursuit of meaningful community work experiences, such as volunteer work, internships, or paid employment.
  • Significant increase of referrals as compared to this time in 2015.

Business Services 

  • Cleaning Services
    • Increased to 163 cleaners in Rockland and Westchester as of 3/31/16.
    • Took over entirety of Rockland County Yeager Complex contract.
    • Started 3-year contracts at Westchester Community College extensions of Mt. Vernon & Yonkers. Added eight part-time positions.
    • Awarded and implemented NYC Environmental Protection Department Laboratory in Valhalla with two part-time positions.
    • Increased Cleaning management infrastructure by two part time supervisors for Westchester and Rockland County sites.
    • Started pilot collaboration for the BOCES/ACCES-VR/Jawonio Green Cleaning Training for 9 week course with 10 students enrolled in a portion of the old workshop. Jawonio revenue – $1,700 per student. Placement will be provided for all students that complete the program in good standing.
  • Corporate Partnership: Unitex
  • Newburgh plant hiring part-time employee through corporate partnership.
  • Continued to meet NYSID disabled ratios (52%) for the first quarter of 2016.
  • Instituted the Santrax call in system for job coaches.
  • Document Imaging
  • Commenced Rockland County Archives contract at $49K, in conjunction with NY State Education contract.
  • Hired two additional disabled imaging associates and one non-disabled due to the expansion of workload.
  • Thrift Shop
  • Average sales for Q1 2016 around $95.00 a day (4hr day).

Consumer Director Personal Assistance (CDPA)

  • Added part-time program assistant due to program’s expansion.

Drop In Centers – (Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, and Ossining)

  • Implemented classes in arts & crafts and community integration outings.


  • PROmiSe
  • Received approval from the Office of Mental Health (OMH) for initiation of a program to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum with a secondary psychiatric disability. This is the only PROS program in New York State to have such a designation.
  • Extending program hours to Saturdays in order to make the program more accessible to participants who are working, those with social challenges who may struggle with free time on the weekends. The Klein family grant will be used to seed the start-up expenses.
  • Received 3-year renewal of PROmiSe program operating certificate; maximum period permitted by OMH.
  • Received William T. Morris Foundation grant to fund services to individuals without Medicaid eligibility.
  • Program Director invited to co-chair Mental Health Committee of Rockland County Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster. This is the planning and coordination body for county-wide responses to all disasters in Rockland County.
  • Jawonio was approved to provide full array of Home and Community Based Services, allowing program expansion into additional funded mental health services for those considered at greatest risk.
  • Senator Carlucci secured a legislative grant to allow Jawonio’s Behavioral Health services to provide targeted services to those needing additional supports following discharge from inpatient services.
  • Increased active participants to 15 for The Front Porch social/ recreation program funded with reinvestment funds, close to capacity. It has generated referrals to PROmiSe and also serves as a step-down from the PROmiSe   All staff are peer specialists and peer specialist trainees who were recruited from the PROmiSe program.



  • Updated Emergency Evacuation policy for Johansen and day habilitation programs.
  • Revised pressure sore policy for CLS and Safe Patient Handling policy.
  • Combined check requisition and credit card policies into general purchasing and procedure.


  • Investigated incidents: 2 audiology and preschool compliance, 6 consumer (4 in CLS, one in New City Day Hab, one in PACE).
  • Assessed person-centered planning concerns in Westchester following human resources investigation. No concerns noted.


  • Campus Redevelopment
    • Began study of camp buildings – retain existing vs. build new.
    • Completed studies for: zoning, traffic, storm water, geotech.
  • Hosted security presentation by the Clarkstown Police Department.


Workforce Development:

  • Rolled out newly revised New Employee Orientation now with greater emphasis on Workforce Transformation elements.
  • Trained 30 additional employees in Mental Health First Aid. Training for all staff will be ongoing.

Benefits and Wellness:

  • Increased Wellness Center participation by 33%.
  • Successfully rolled out new medical insurance carrier to over 300 participants.
  • Increased the Employee Perks Program by joining NYS Business Council, offering additional network of employee discounts, health webinars and community events.

Employee Advocacy:

  • Participated in multi-Agency Rally to ask our elected officials to support better funding for the work of direct care employees.
  • Participated in Inclusive Democracy by spending a day at the NYS Capital. Personally delivered 200+ employee letters to Governor Cuomo’s office (met with his designee), and met with Senators Andrea Stewart Cousins, Terrance Murphy and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer.



  • Raised $500 through 2nd “Eat Here, Give Back Campaign” on Social Media. Partnered with Red Hill Café in New City.
  • Host Kidz Express event. Close to 300 people attended.

Grants/ Public Relations:

  • Madelon Berger, Board Chairwoman, appeared on WRCR Radio highlighting Jawonio programs, services and events.
  • Diana Hess, Guest Speaker at Leadership Rockland Non-Profit Day.
  • Jawonio featured in “New City Neighbors” monthly magazine, March 2016.
  • Received $15K from William T. Morris Foundation for PROmiSe program.

Department Changes:

  • Molly Gibeau-Griffin named Jawonio Foundation Manager. Will run day-to-day operations as well as continue part-time grant writing.
  • Diana Hess transitioned to Chief Development Officer as internal lead for Capital Campaign.

Capital Campaign:

  • Set up Campaign Office
  • Began weekly on-site meetings with Ghiorsi & Sorrenti, fundraising consultants.
  •  Developing campaign materials/theme.

Jawonio’s Kidz Express Honors The Salmon Family

56e6f7d39abea_a3c60eb5df14ee170c56b4f2e581ad63Brendan and Arielle Salmon are twins that were born through C-section at 36 weeks due to a difficult pregnancy. At 26 weeks the doctors detected that Brendan’s growth was not progressing at a normal rate and was starving in utero. The Salmons made the difficult decision to go through with a premature delivery in order to do what was best for Brendan. Arielle came out healthy, but Brendan came out not breathing, weighing less 2Lbs. 14oz.and was in the NCIU until he was considered healthy and diagnosed with Inter Uterine Growth Retardation (IUGR).

The Salmons knew that Brendan would be developmentally delayed in all areas and were worried they would have a hard time finding the help they needed. “From the minute we walked into Jawonio, we knew this was the place for Brendan,” says their mother. He started at Early Intervention at 2-years-old, receiving speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, as well as care in the Audiology Department once it was detected that Brendan had mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears.

The Salmons continued to use Jawonio’s services throughout the years and have become close with the staff. “Having a child with disabilities has changed our lives for the better. Brendan has taught us what the meaning of life is through his struggles,” says their mother. Brendan and Arielle are now 18-years-old, entering a new stage of their lives. The Salmons are continuing to receive support from Jawonio to make sure that Brendan gets the proper guidance at this point in his life. Without Jawonio’s Early Intervention services, Brendan would not have received the care and attention that he needed early in his life. Help Jawonio continue to provide better futures to young children with special needs by donating to the Kidz Express Fundraiser today!

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Jawonio’s Kidz Express Honors The Mason Family

Kimberly and Tiffany Mason are twins that were born 3 months prematurely with complications. Because of the difficulties they had, it took them 2-2 ½ months to come home. Their mother says that her and her husband had no idea what to do, but that’s where Jawonio stepped in.“Jawonio Early Intervention was truly a life changer,” says their mother.

The staff worked hard with Kimberly and Tiffany through physical, speech and occupational therapy. The Masons felt that the Jawonio staff focused on each of their daughters’ specific needs. “What other parents deemed as ‘normal milestones’ were ‘celebratory milestones’ for us! Jawonio understood that and celebrated with us,” says Kimberly and Tiffany’s mother.

The Mason twins went on to attend Jawonio Preschool and the Summer Education Program. Tiffany ended up working as a Jawonio cam counselor for six years and after college she became apart of Jawonio’s Condo Program, living an independent life. Kimberly lives independently in the Bobbi Lewis House. Twenty-eight years after starting with Jawonio’s Early Intervention, Tiffany now works part time for Jawonio as the Human Resources receptionist and Kimberly attends the Nyack Studio Arts day program.“The Early Childhood Services play an integral part in who Kimberly and Tiffany are today,” says their mother. Help Jawonio continue to provide better futures to young children with special needs by donating to the Kidz Express Fundraiser today!

Click to Purchase your ticket(s) or make a donation »