I have worked in the human services field my entire career, most of that supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While completing my bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services during the mid-1990s I began working at a summer camp for kids with disabilities and substituting at a respite facility. Once I graduated, I moved into management positions, and began pursuing a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Worcester State University. My career included several years working with individuals with developmental disabilities in Vermont, as well as two short periods working with homeless families and elders in a managed care program.
As you have heard previously in Bob’s letters, change is the only predictable thing in our field right now. This change, driven both by the desire to serve our individuals better, while also spending less, presents a significant challenge to continue to provide high quality services. I spent much of my time as COO for CLASS focusing on quality and efficiency. In the past two years we have become more efficient, while continually focusing on improving programming. This remains one of my top priorities as CEO, along with ensuring that CLASS continues to offer new and innovative programs that enhance the lives of individuals we support.
As I write this letter, the Massachusetts Legislature is working to draft the budget for next fiscal year. At this point the numbers look promising – however they’re not done yet. There is also encouraging legislation moving forward to better protect the individuals we support from abuse and to support the education of our workforce through a school loan repayment program. It is exceedingly important that we all remain informed about the changes to our system and the funding sources, and when needed, stand ready to advocate on behalf of families, caregivers, loved ones and ourselves.
I look forward to working together with the CLASS staff, Board of Directors, the communities of the Merrimack Valley & Northeast Massachusetts, and the individuals we support to ensure everyone touched by CLASS has the opportunity to experience a life of opportunity for personal growth and active, meaningful engagement in their community.
President & CEO