The Daybreak fundraising team has been making great strides in highlighting the importance of recycling. Recycling leader Lillian Lewis has been with the agency for over three years and in her time she found that in the typical Daybreak day the agency goes through a significant amount of plastic and reusable materials. Lillian began to collect and store the bottles we were putting into the trash and taking them to receive cash refunds on recycling. Shortly after beginning to recycle Lillian quickly involved the people she works with in the act by both teaching them the importance of recycling and teaching them to recycle the reusable items they had. Some of the people we serve even go as far as bringing bottles they use outside of program to Lillian with the goal of saving the planet in mind. When asked what brought about the interest to take recycling to the next level Lillian responded with “I just thought saving the planet should make a difference especially at work.” The recycling program has made a great impact in our fundraising efforts. Lillian teaches a valuable lesson, “a little bottle goes a long way.”
Daybreak recently conducted its annual holiday show and it was a success, to say the least. Every year the agency encourages the individuals to use their unique talents to express themselves in various creative ways including singing, dancing, acting and generating artwork. In this recent show, the response was overwhelming. The number of potential performers was so vast that the allotted time for the show could not accommodate! Additionally, the turnout of family members and friends to support the event was so great that there were not even enough seats to hold them all! Thankfully, that fact did not deter them from attending. The willingness of many to stand just so that they could see and experience the show is a testament to its intrigue as well as the joy that it brings to all. “I love that,” said Michael (one of the team leaders from the Woodlawn location) of multiple on-lookers who were excitedly recording one of the performers. “They don’t even know her, but they are so into it; that’s beautiful!” I couldn’t agree more.
We had our usual host, Matthew (an individual from the Yonkers location), to introduce the different performances and entertain the audience. Of course, if you have ever witnessed Matthew in action, you know he did not disappoint. He was also accompanied by his usual co-host, Jene (our Training and Intake Coordinator). Together they amused the crowd with their playful banter and humorous introductions.
Many people were also impressed by the array of performances, something Jene mentioned herself. “This show had a lot of creativity,” she said, which was definitely noticed by many and met with great enthusiasm. The individuals were very eager to perform, so that others could cheer them on and enjoy what they worked hard to prepare.
“We did it!” Ernesto (an individual from the Woodlawn location) said to me very excitedly after we finished a dance we performed as a group. He and others were so proud to have practiced and performed a group dance, especially because the audience cheered loudly and enjoyed it greatly.
In essence, that response was the purpose of the show, to have our individuals prepare artistically and present something that they could be proud of to their family/friends. We their staff members were honored to assist them in any way we could to give it their best shot to produce artistic expressions that entertained, inspired and brought immense joy to the hearts of all who support them. In spite of their limitations, our individuals were able to capture the spotlight as well as our hearts with a wonderful display of creativity, showcasing their interests and unique abilities in a show that was truly like no other. +
Here at Daybreak we have always placed an importance on integrating the people we serve into their respective communities. This can be by teaching the rules of the road or the act of taking a nearby train. One huge way we have integrated our individuals is by supporting them through volunteer placements at several Volunteer Worksites. Volunteer Work Sites such as TJ Maxx, Stew Leonard’s and Immaculate Conception Church give our individuals the opportunity to serve an important role in a business as well as establish a rapport with a business that could potentially hire them in the future. Over the past year Sherelle Baize has been leading the charge in evaluating volunteer worksites for our program as well as maintaining direct correspondence with the management at the volunteer worksites. In an exclusive interview Sherelle let us in on her worksite process and mentioned how many worksites doubt the ability of our individuals. Sherelle described that “promoting ability is what we do best,” and she will continue to do her part to influence progress at Daybreak.
How does Daybreak promote independence? I went around the Woodlawn location asking this question to each staff I could find and it was to no surprise that each person had a different response. Different interpretations as to what independence means and how it is used to encourage the best in the people we serve and in staff alike.
Starting with the DSPs, because they work most directly with the people we serve, I received some intriguing responses to our burning question. Daybreak promotes independence by allowing the staff to develop the Personal Outcome Measures (POMS), for the people we serve based on their various abilities. Then using POMS as well as volunteer experience to help them develop their strengths and improve in the areas that require more assistance. The staff utilizes various methods such as giving choices, providing empowerment and motivation, social advisement, and giving prompts along with supervision of certain tasks. As well as allowing the people we serve to complete tasks on their own, only providing assistance when needed.
Many staff promote positive reinforcement to encourage consistent and appropriate behavior that is essential for functioning as an independent adult. The staff engages with the people we serve to find out their interests and what they would like to work on, by asking questions and allowing them the opportunity to try out many different activities. Allowing them the opportunity to fail and learn from their mistakes, teaches the people we serve that it is okay to mess up, as long as you get up and try again.
We encourage their freedom of speech and celebrate their individuality while acknowledging that we are direct role models for the people we serve, therefore we must lead by example; Always! Independence is exercised within our DSPs by allowing full creative freedom while working alongside our team leaders and supervisors. No two days at Daybreak are ever the same and neither are any of the people we serve. With independence comes great responsibility, and we take pride in fully preparing the people we serve for their future endeavors.