2015 Spring Newsletter - Gem State Developmental Center

Gem State News
Looking Forward to 2015
With the beginning of the new year, Gem State Developmental Center
would like to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for your business
in 2014. It has been a pleasure helping children and adults reach their
goals. We're grateful for good people like you, who make our work
satisfying and enjoyable. We look forward to working with you in 2015
and contributing to your success.
GSDC Reorganizes
Effective February 1, 2015, Gem State Developmental Center reorganized
its organizational operations for adult developmental disability services.
We established a new Clinical Director for Adult Services position, eliminating the existing Clinical Supervisor positions.
The new Clinical Director for Adult Services will oversee all program and
personnel operations for both our Meridian and Nampa Adults Centers.
In addition, Rosalie Landholm, Senior Developmental Specialist and Co–
Owner and Corey Makizuru, Administrator, will continue to jointly share
the role of overseeing the day–to–day operations at the Meridian and
Nampa Adult Programs. They will be on–site, as well as available via
telephone, to address any issues, questions, or decisions that may arise.
Mr. Timothy Schank and Ms. Lori Jo Poole were employed as the
company’s Clinical Supervisors. After much consideration, Mr. Schank
decided not to apply for this new Clinical Director position. We sincerely
appreciated his time with us, dedication, and work towards helping us
provide extraordinary services to extraordinary people. On the other
hand, Ms. Lori Jo Poole applied and interviewed for the position.
Gem State Developmental Center is proud to welcome Lori Jo Poole as
our new Clinical Director of Adult Services. We wish her all the best in
this new endeavor.
As we work together under such provisions, we’re confident that our
organizational change will increase consistency, continuity, and quality of
services. Thank you.
Volume 3, Issue 1
February 2015
Inside this Issue
 Adults look forward to
2015—Page 2
 Children’s Program 2014
Highlights —Page 3
 GSDC Employee “Hall of
Fame” - Page 5
 Next Newsletter—GSDC
Participant ”Hall of Fame”
Upcoming Events:
 Disability Advocacy Day —
Feb 12th
 Miss Amazing Pageant—
March 27th-28th
 Healthy Nampa—April 18th
 Treasure Valley Community
Resource Fair—April 29th
Gem State News
Page 2
Adults are ready for the New Year!
May 2015 give you the opportunity to realize your dreams, rediscover your strengths,
muster your willpower and rejoice in the simple pleasure that life brings your way!
"Do not let the future be held hostage by the past."
The disability is not the problem.
The accessibility is the problem.
~Mohamed Jemni~
ABLE Act helps to close the gap
The “Achieving a Better Life Experience” or ABLE Act was signed into law
by President Obama at the end of 2014. The ABLE act will allow tax-free
savings accounts for people who have a documented disability prior to the
age of 26 and are currently receiving SSI, SSDI and Medicaid services.
This ABLE savings account will allow people to save up to $100,000 for qualified living expenses and up to $14,000 per year in savings or gifts without any penalties to SSI, SSDI or
Medicaid benefits. The target date to start an ABLE savings account is by the end of 2015 so
each state has time to implement the changes.
The ABLE accounts do not cost money to open and therefore, are more accessible for people to
save money and have a safety fund to transition off of services at some point in time and closing the gap that frequently traps people into staying on benefit programs. Other options, such
as a “Special Needs Trust” can be very costly with legal expenses and unaffordable for people
on a limited income. The ABLE accounts will also allow people to save for necessary and unexpected expenses such as durable medical equipment not covered by Medicaid, hearing aids,
For more information, go to http://www.ndss.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Agenda/Creating-anEconomic-Future-for-Individuals-with-Down-Syndrome/Achieving-a-Better-of-LifeExperience-ABLE-Act/
By Lori Jo Poole and Timothy Schank
Volume 3, Issue 1
Page 3
Children’s Program 2014 Highlights
At the end of 2014, the Children’s Program was a huge success for both Nampa and Meridian centers. Both kids and staff alike shared many exciting times and lasting memories.
The kids learned and grew together as a group in both center and community based activities, where they were able to build upon personal skills and goals. The children grew
together and built stronger friendships among each other and in their communities.
As the school year approached in August, the after
school program began. The kids transitioned smoothly
into their new schedules, both staff and kids fell into
the new routine with excitement and ease. Over the last
few months, the kids have had holiday vacations in
which they were able to participate in several fun
community activities and outings. Both centers visited
the Meridian Farmstead Corn maze, where they were able to take a hayride to pick their
own pumpkins.
During Thanksgiving break the kids were
able to express their thoughtfulness and
thanks to their families and friends
through several craft and activity projects.
The children at the Nampa center were
able to make dog treats for a local animal
Throughout Christmas vacation, the children learned the importance of giving to their
communities and their friends and families. The children made Christmas cards, holiday
ornaments, gingerbread houses, and participated in a gift exchange with their peers at the
As the after school program goes on, the children will continue learning and growing in
many “PIECES” of good character. They will learn about several different positive character traits that they may use in their homes, schools, programs, and communities.
Several of the
include traits such as:
Honesty, Respect, Creativity, Patience, and Consideration.
By Lynee Adkins
Gem State News
Page 4
GSDC Celebrates Employee Longevity
among its staff
Company longevity is a rarity in today’s employment world of high layoffs/turnovers and low retention/loyalty. DID YOU KNOW? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers
had the average job tenure of 4.6 years in 2012, that’s up from 3.7 years in 2002 and 3.5 in 1983.
FYI: GSDC’s average is 7.9 years with several staff with 7+ years of employment who’ve called
GSDC their 2nd home. We acknowledge these staff with this amazing employment milestone and
take this opportunity to thank them and share personally from them what they love about Gem
State Developmental Center!
I enjoy the people/families we help, the work
we do, the opportunities to make a difference,
& the pursuit to better the lives of people with
developmental disabilities. I’ve appreciated our
family–oriented work environment, the privilege
to team with compassionate and respected
colleagues, experts in the field, and valued our
ongoing contributions to the foundation, establishment, and evolution of developmental disability services in the state of Idaho for the betterment of all.
The family-like atmosphere, caring
staff, & having the ability to help
clients improve their lives for the
better have kept me in the safe
harbor of GSDC for so long.
I enjoy my job, I enjoy advocating for the wonderful people I
work with. They often do not
have a voice and need someone
to advocate for their needs. I
enjoy making sure their voices
are heard.
Volume 3, Issue 1
Page 5
GSDC Celebrates Employee Longevity
Follow your passion and don’t
settle. Do what you love!
The clients keep me fulfilled in knowing even the little things they do is
both rewarding to them and me.
Working with people that have a
common vision is a powerful experience. This is an exceptional
place to work with extraordinary
staff and participants!
I love making a difference in
the clients’ lives. It’s never a
dull day at GSDC…each day
is very challenging, but also
I stayed at GSDC because they treat
employees with dignity & respect. I love
to work with the children & have fun at it.
I openly admit I continually find fulfillment in
my career here at GSDC. Perhaps, because I
continue to care so much about the people I
have the privilege to work with each & every
day. This has clearly contributed greatly to my
longevity and joy.
Volume 3, Issue 1
Page 6
GSDC Celebrates Employee Longevity
I love the kids I work with and seeing the progress that they make and
opportunities they have to become
independent. I also appreciate how
supportive administration is of the
The smiles & laughter that I
bring to the clients is what
makes my job fulfilling!
I’m so blessed & enjoy working for an
agency that cares for their participants & employees. I truly enjoy the
wonderful people who are always
smiling & working together to achieve
goals & make a difference in the lives
of so many. It’s actually the difference they have made in my life that
propels me to stay.
It is an amazing feeling to see the kids make
breakthroughs in their abilities and know that I
helped them get there. I love the passion for
people with disabilities in the hearts of our administration and how supported I feel as a supervisor to implement things within our programs. It
is an amazing company to work for.
Gem State Developmental Center
818 NW 15th St.
Meridian, ID 83642
(phone) 888-5566 * (fax) 888-5578
By Jessica Lowry