The Arc NEWS
Residence Snapshot: Gales Ferry
We caught up with DinaMarie Harris, Residential Manager at The Arc ECT’s supported group residence in Gales Ferry, who was delighted to share an update on how the residents and our dedicated team have been doing during these unprecedented few months.
"One resident attends LEARN Regional Education Center. He likes being home from school, but he misses his friends and teachers. We all work with him to help him complete his assignments, because school hasn’t stopped!
"We have two great artists; one sends drawings every day to his mom to post on her Facebook page. He loves reading the comments and seeing how many likes he can get. His mom has also sewn masks for the agency; she’s a terrific supporter of all that we do.
"And the staff . . . well, what can I say? They’ve just been phenomenal. They’re so committed to making sure the people we support are safe, healthy and happy, and even in this very scary time, attendance hasn’t been an issue. Many of them ask what more they can do to support the men and the home. With every policy change and update, the staff have risen to the occasion.
“I work at the residence in Gales Ferry where four guys live, and they all have such wonderful imaginations. While we shelter in place, we’ve been doing an amazing variety of activities. We have a daily schedule with ideas for each one of the men to keep active and busy.
"We also go out whenever we can, for walks in areas with no one else around where we have a lot of space, and we’ve had two “Drive-by Birthday Brigades” for residents at other houses. Both were great fun for everyone. One resident adores riding in the van, anyway; he just sits back with his favorite Latin pop station and enjoys the trip wherever we go. The residents from all the houses keep in touch with each other on Facebook and Skype. Some have girlfriends or boyfriends in other houses, and they take staying in touch very seriously. Everyone’s eager to get “back to normal,” but they understand it’s important to stay safe, though, and they’re being just awesome.
A sample of shared artwork—
it’s a “Star Wars” theme this week
"I have to say, I’ve worked at other agencies, and The Arc has really been in the lead during this pandemic as far as guidelines and support go. For example, as soon as the announcement was made that masks had to be worn everywhere, that same night someone from the main offices was at all the residences handing out masks and gowns. Our food is delivered weekly, and we have a special “order in” night each week, and people from the main offices drop off other supplies, so we don’t have to go anywhere we’d be exposed. The agency nurse is terrific. Any time one of our staff has exhibited any symptoms at all she’s been right there to do triaging and direct us as to the next steps. I think that because of all this we’ve been able to keep all staff and residents healthy.”
The folks in our residential homes wanted to thank all the heroes, healthcare, delivery folks, and our own team members who continue to provide excellent support through the pandemic, so we installed big heart signs for each of our 22 supported residences.
Monday, May 11, 2020
A Message from Kathleen Stauffer,
CEO of The Arc Eastern Connecticut
A question I’ve been hearing a lot these days from friends, neighbors, participants and co-workers is “When do you think things will get back to normal?” Some states are easing restrictions, and here in Connecticut Governor Lamont is considering re-opening some businesses May 20 – but only if hospital admissions continue to decline. I know everyone at The Arc ECT is eager to start working together again, and our heroes in residential have been on-site all along, but I want to reassure everyone that we’re not rushing into anything. We are only as healthy as our team, both in and out of the workplace.
We are all ready for things to get back to normal! But sometimes the one thing we think that's most impossible is the one thing we must do. Right now, physical distancing remains critical. I am counting on you to help us keep our team, the people we support, and our facilities as healthy as possible.
In the meantime, our virtual programming continues to be a hit, especially all the new ZooRoom activities that include puzzles, interactive games, scavenger hunts, dance competitions, cooking classes, and peer-to-peer hangout chats. If someone you love receives The Arc’s services and hasn’t already joined, email Bonnie at to find out if there’s an activity your loved one might enjoy.
Otis Library is offering a “Financial Preparedness and Recovery” Zoom seminar on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at 10:00 AM, hosted by Pamela Days-Luketich, Community Outreach Officer at Liberty Bank. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SkillUp program, a free online learning platform is offered by the CT Workforce Development Council, The CT Department of Labor, and the Governor’s Workforce Council to help you to upgrade your skills or learn new ones in Administration, Health or Manufacturing.
After our first podcast, we received this lovely note:
I appreciated this podcast greatly. It makes me happy that you all are working so hard. My daughter (who lives at home) has been doing a daily Zoom session with her job coach, and that keeps her so engaged; she really looks forward to her time for the call each day. Although she understands that the virus is the reason she cannot go to her program, we know this will pass in time. The video calls through ZooRoom are really helping my daughter.
I’d also like to remind everyone that there’s still time to complete the Census if you haven’t already. The Arc ECT is a Complete Count Committee and our Self-Advocates have been attending seminars on how to get the word out; getting an accurate count is really important, as our funding depends on an accurate CENSUS COUNT! Please visit census.gov today and be counted now!
A Video Message from Kathleen
This Week's Recipe
A monthly community newsletter recently published the favorite recipe of students who attended the town’s elementary school from 1950-1980. The unanimous favorite was “Mrs. Lee’s Burgers,” which, along with Mrs. Lee apparently, stood the test of time for 30 years. So, since school is in session in many homes, we present School Lunch Burgers.
Halve six English muffins and put them on a cookie sheet.
Lightly toast them under the broiler.
Mix about 1 1/2lbs ground beef with 2 whisked eggs and ¼ cup milk which has added to it ¼ cup oatmeal (quick) or breadcrumbs and any seasoning you like—oregano, pepper, fine herbs, etc.
Spread the muffins with this mixture—thicker on the edges for even cooking.
Broil to desired doneness, and then, if you like, top with an onion slice (or add onion to the mixture), sliced green peppers, mushrooms, then broil till done.
Lastly, top with any cheese you like—mozzarella, cheddar, swiss—and return burgers to off/warm oven to melt the cheese. Add tomato or lettuce if you’d like.