Back to School 2016

The floors have been shined, the classrooms cleaned and organized, the teachers trained, and Raymond Hill School is ready for a new school year. One area that has seen major improvements over the summer is the Marjorie Moore School Store. Thanks to a grant from the Liberty Bank Foundation, the school was able to purchase clothing racks, labeling supplies, the hygiene items and other merchandise frequently requested by students, and more to make the store a more realistic retail environment. By working in the school store, our students are able to gain resume-building work experience and skills, and the store boosts the confidence of all students by serving as an inexpensive resource for a new pair of jeans, deodorant, or birthday gifts for younger siblings. The occupational therapy sensory room and therapeutic gym completed in the spring thanks to a grant from CHEFA will be fully implemented this fall. The space, which includes swings, a ball pit, monkey bars, and jumping equipment, gives students an appropriate environment in which to learn how to regulate their emotions. Some of our students live in a state of such constant stress and anxiety that they don’t even know what it feels like to be calm. The physical motion of a swing or a spin board can help to calm a child’s body, teaching them to recognize the difference so that they can then learn to self-regulate. Other students simply have trouble sitting still for long periods of time; for them, the sensory space provides a safe place to take an active break so that they can return to the classroom ready to learn. We are excited for all that this new school year will bring, and especially to see the progress our students will make, both in and out of...

Nutmeg State FCU Volunteers at Group Home...

Five volunteers from Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union spent a late-August Wednesday with us cleaning up the yard of one of our group homes for adolescent girls. Alongside Rebecca Desautels, Lead Group Homes Coordinator, and Gail Lebert, Director of Partnership Development, the volunteers took care of some much needed yard work. As Rebecca told the group, “We don’t have time to work on the yard, because we are working to help adolescents learn to deal with the world around them.” In between raking, weeding, and pruning, the group took a lunch break, and the volunteers were able to interact with a few of the group home’s residents, who were grateful to see the transformation of their lawn. At the end of the day, the yard looked amazing! We are so grateful to our friends at Nutmeg for volunteering their time and muscles to beautify this home where important therapeutic work is being done to help adolescent girls. Learn more about our group homes...

Klingberg Recognized for Increased Cultural Competence...

On June 30 several members of Klingberg Family Centers’ Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Initiative implementation team received a Certificate of Achievement from Health and Equity, LLC, and the Connecticut Network for Care Transformation. The certificate was in recognition of Klingberg’s work toward implementation of changes to advance the organization’s cultural competence. The award was given following Klingberg’s presentation of its progress before state authorities, cultural competence experts, and eleven other human service providers selected to participate in a statewide initiative funded by a grant from the federal Office of Health and Human Services. Klingberg’s implementation team, which represented staff from all areas and levels within the organization, met weekly and participated in four statewide gatherings over the six-month period of the initiative. Following the administration of an agency-wide organizational assessment, Klingberg developed an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Health Equity Implementation Plan, made significant enhancements to its language interpretation capacities, and expanded its website’s Spanish interface. In order to continue the organization’s growth in cultural competence the implementation team has become a standing Cultural Competence Committee. Also, Klingberg will develop a leadership mentoring program to increase diversity in its administrative positions and will increase the cultural competence training it provides...

Blood Drive Organized by Nia Sage Youth...

One of the youth residing at the Nia Sage Group Home is currently working to organize a blood drive with the American Red Cross scheduled for August 8th. The blood drive will be held at Bristol Baptist Church, 43 School Street, Bristol, CT 06010 from 9a-2p; this is her family’s local church. The youth is working to organize this drive as part of a scholarship program with the American Red Cross. She needs 45 people to attend the drive in order to be placed in a pool to win some scholarship money toward future schooling through the Red Cross. She sought out this opportunity on her own and hopes to pursue a career in the nursing field. She earned a 3.66 GPA her last semester in the 11th grade at Manchester Regional Academy. We hope that you are able to come out and support this Nia Sage youth at the community blood drive she has organized. If you would like to sign up to donate, please go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code MHSLSL in the upper right hand corner where it says find a blood drive. The drive should then be listed for August 8th at Bristol Baptist Church. Click on this blood drive and it will give you times to sign up for to donate blood. If you have any difficulty signing up, please contact Rebecca Desautels at Nia Sage (860-571-8877 ext....

Hoffman Auto Group Gives to Klingberg’s Fatherhood Program...

On Wednesday, June 8th, Jeffrey S. Hoffman, Co-Chairman, I. Bradley Hoffman, Co-Chairman, and Matthew S. Hoffman, Vice President, presented a check for $25,000 on behalf of the Hoffman Auto Group to Mark Johnson, Vice President of Development, and Gail Lebert, Director of Partnership Development, of Klingberg Family Centers. The donation is in support of Klingberg’s Fatherhood 360°, a twelve-week program that teaches young fathers how to be more involved and effective dads for the wellbeing and success of their children, even if they do not currently live with them. “Thanks to the Hoffman family and their associates, we are able to offer valuable training to fathers to help them better meet the needs of their children,” said Johnson. Founded in 1903, Klingberg Family Centers is a private, nonprofit multi-service agency providing help to thousands of persons across Connecticut each year through twenty distinct programs besides the Fatherhood Program. Klingberg’s mission is to extend hope and healing to children and families whose lives have been traumatized by abuse and/or neglect in its various forms, severe family problems, and mental health issues. Klingberg’s main campus is located in New Britain, Connecticut, with an additional location in Hartford. For more information about Klingberg Family Centers, visit www.klingberg.org. Hoffman Auto Group was founded in 1921 and represents 10 brands in East Hartford, Avon, Watertown and New London. The company employs 550 people and is now regarded as one of the most successful family-owned businesses in Connecticut. “As a family-owned business, our community and family are at the heart of why we are in business,” said Jeffrey Hoffman. Bradley Hoffman continued, “Having visited Klingberg and seen their amazing work firsthand, I witnessed the critical support and programming they provide for many families. We are pleased to align ourselves with their mission.”...

Webster House Teens Go to Prom

Proms are special events, and they raise many questions for the teens involved about dates, clothing, venue, music, etc. Mix in obstacles such as social anxiety, medical issues, financial deficits, minimal family supports, or sensory sensitivities, and these questions are even more important. The Webster House Medically Complex Group Home had four teens attend prom while navigating all of these important questions, and they handled the experience with grace, poise, and the best of their coping abilities. It was a positive experience for everyone, including the adults who love and care for them. Three of our young men attended the Raymond Hill School prom on May 13th, while one of our young ladies attended her New Britain High School prom on May 20th.  Ensuring that each student’s prom experience was special and magical was the number one goal, requiring various individualized interventions. One of our youth perseverated on the wardrobe selection and whether or not he would be comfortable wearing a shirt, tie, and dress pants due to various reasons including sensory sensitivities. At one point he insisted that he would be more comfortable in basketball shorts and that he assumed his date would not mind.  With the help of three Webster House maternal figures, whom he joked were “nagging and fussing over him,” he was able to select a formal but comfortable outfit that matched his date’s dress and yet still allowed him to bring down the house with his dance moves. Another young man who was conscious of his budgeted prom attire allowance was able to thrift shop with the assistance of one of our male staff. He purchased a shirt, pants, shoes, jacket, and tie on a budget, and ended up winning the award for “Best Dressed” at the prom! He looked especially elegant...