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1 Orion Associates, Meridian Services, Zenith Services, Orion Intermediary Services Organization Quarterly Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 2 Summer 2012 The Constellation Headwaters Relief Organization Volunteers Deliver Food to Orphanages Headwaters Relief Organization volunteers traveled to Haiti on April 29, They did so to deliver food, supplies and clothing to an orphanage and to a school we have supported on previous relief trips. The supplies were purchased with over $ dollars of donated funds. The food was purchased at the local market and included several hundred pounds of rice, beans, oatmeal, baby food, oil and other staples. The donations were very gratefully received. Conditions continue to be extremely difficult in Haiti, with the orphanages and schools struggling to feed, clothe and educate the children. The orphanages and schools, to which we provide support, receive no government aid or regular private funding. Therefore, donations such as those collected and delivered by Headwaters directly affect over 200 children. The two schools Headwaters supported with school supplies last fall informed us that they need more supplies for the upcoming school year. Headwaters will begin raising funds and collecting donated school supplies immediately so that the children will have the supplies they need. Those of you who are interested in donating to Headwaters efforts in Haiti can do so on the Headwaters website at Thank you for your generous, ongoing support! Headwaters Relief Organization Becomes a National Volunteer Organization We are proud to announce that Headwaters Relief Organization is now a member of National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). This will allow us to be involved in planning and coordination when disasters occur across the nation. This was a significant achievement for Headwaters, which had previously be designated as a Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster in the local five state region. Cheryl Vennerstrom, our Chief Operating Officer, was named Vice-President of the Minnesota VOAD. Cheryl will bring her wealth of experience in disaster planning and recovery to the table and will work directly with all other volunteer agencies. More information about National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) can be found on their website at The Constellation Contributors Sara Alken Missy Bartkowicz Leota Bemis Sarah Hambrook Melissa Hofstede Serge Katzen Scott Kosloski Brianna Lorenze Cassi McMayer Kari Reinhart Diana Sletten Desiree Smith Sherry Smith Jeni Swanson Rebecca Thomley Jennifer Weismann Colonel Egahn Ehpets, Retired, Editor in Chief When Disaster Strikes We Bring Hope holy newsletters, Batman!

2 The Officers Corner Wage Increases for All Employees How Did We Do It? We were very pleased to be able to issue wage increases to all Orion Associates, Meridian Services and Zenith Services employees in June. While people usually don t ask for an explanation when they receive good news such as this, we thought that it would be beneficial to share with you how we were able to make it happen. In the early years of the company, employee wage increases were a regular annual occurrence, supported by State increases to our rates. In the more recent past, employee wage increases in the human services field were made through annual funding increases from the State, or Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs). The State would issue a COLA, mandating that a percentage of the COLA could be used for company s administrative costs, but that a certain percentage had to be used for wage increases for employees. When we received the COLAs, however, our organization always chose to pass on the entire amount of the COLA to our employees as wage increases. In recent years, however, human services organizations have not received COLAs from the State. The legislative majority eliminated the COLAs and actually began to cut our funding. The result has been some very difficult times for companies in the human services field. While other companies, however, have struggled to survive these cuts through layoffs and wage cuts to their employees, we chose to do neither. What made the difference for our organization was our growth, including additional services, new cases and new residential programs. These provided our organization with the financial strength to protect us from layoffs and wage cuts. We remained financially strong enough to bear the burden of the financial cuts every year without passing that burden on to our employees. Once again, this year, we knew that we were in a strong financial position due to our growth and that we could handle the impact of more threatened cuts. We were very pleased to learn, however, that there would be no cuts this year. In response, we decided to pass on the funds that would have sustained us through the anticipated cuts directly to you, our employees, as wage increases. It is important to note that while we are a financially strong organization, all programs haven t grown equally. Some programs don t receive the State funding they need and struggle to remain financially viable. We could choose to reward those working in the growing programs that are thriving, but not those working in the struggling programs. This, however, is not our choice. No matter what program one may be working in, we believe that everyone is working hard, doing their best to make their program a success, whether it makes money or not. We are one organization and we chose to treat everyone as members of the same team and benefit and are rewarded equally with these wage increases and whatever successes may be in our future. Thank you. Rebecca Thomley Chief Executive Officer The Headwaters Hoedown! 2 Justin at the Hoedown! Headwaters held it s third annual Spring Fling Dance on Thursday, May 31st for Meridian Services and Zenith Services consumers, as well as other guests. All were invited to throw on their dancing boots and to join their friends for a rootin tootin good time! and that s exactly what they did! In addition to good food and activities, there were prizes given for the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl as well as other contests. Every Spring Fling Dance has had a theme. The previous danced have included a 50s Sock Hop and a Disco Dance. We ve included a selection of pictures from the Headwaters Hoedown throughout the newsletter. Enjoy!

3 The Headwaters Hoedown! June Employment Anniversaries Lynn, Connie and Emily at the Headwaters Hoedown! Jenny and Adam at the Headwaters Hoedown! 15 Years Jennifer Schraut 10 Years Sheri Smith Joyce Thompson 9 Years Kristi Meyer 8 Years Melissa Hofstede LuCinda Sjolie 7 Years Dinah Hornerbrink Lori S Peterson 6 Years Chrisanna Gardner Ann Palacios Lacy Suby RaeAnn Thompson 5 Years Kathy Charon 4 Years Michael Morris Robin Petermeier Tyler Sherman Christina Shidla Ryan Ward 3 Years Jovany Cortes Elissa Dale Micah Eubanks John Heselton Joy McLaughlin Tiwane York 2 Years Agatha Agbonkhese Summer Eads Amber Flinn Gloria Freese Jennifer Jensen Anita Phoenix Temeka Thedford 1 Year Morgan Baker Sandra Bastien-Karanja Jill Dejewski Linda Hayes Kelly Larson Felisha Mannino Allison Marquardt Patrick Murphy Leah Warmate Patrice Wynne Jason and Elias at the Headwaters Hoedown! 3

4 Employees of the Month March, April, May July Employment Anniversaries 14 Years Jennifer Swanson 12 Years Heather Dubuque Angela Lewis Sheryl Vosika 10 Years Johnetta Freeman 9 Years Holly Dasinger 8 Years David Davis Jason Franklin 7 Years Patricia Schultz Susan Biowei 6 Years Jennifer Peterson 5 Years Sandra Bushey Dylan Curto Alyssa Loverink 4 Years Juanita Howard 3 Years Robert Gill Michelle Montroy Shantell Washington 2 Years Timothy Ogren 1 Year Kara Bakken Samantha Barnett Thomas Boons Yvonne Christensen Saran Daramy Emily Darsow Kent Farris Molly Hasbrook Maurice Jones Julie Keller Lamin Khan Yahje Kume Adele Mathiani Michelle Nellis Jennifer Nuehring Heather Olafson Sean O Neil Jessica Swanson March Sharon Kallinen, Program Counselor III Maple Lake SLS Sharon has worked at Maple Lake for about four years. During her time at Maple Lake she has always been willing to modify her schedule to meet the needs of the program and she has done so on many occasions. Sharon has gone out of her way to help with consumer appointments and open shifts on very short notice. She is well liked by her coworkers and by the consumers. Kathy Bridenstine, Program Counselor I In Home Services North Kathy is absolutely wonderful with the consumers with whom she works. She is extremely flexible with her schedule to meet the needs of her consumers. Kathy is always willing to take her consumers on longer trips when they have requested them. She is very patient and kind with everyone with whom she comes in contact. April Vanesha Porterfield, Program Manager Inca SLS Vanesha worked every other weekend at Inca for almost two years before becoming the Program Manager. We were thrilled to add her to the management team. Vanesha consistently demonstrates professionalism with the consumers, staff and team members. She shows a strong dedication to the residents at Inca with helping them achieve their goals. Vanesha is extremely flexible with her schedule and self-reliant about addressing issues as they arise. She is valued member of the Inca team! Jessica Novak, Case Manager Case Management Jessica has worked very hard over the last months to learn her job. She has been a great advocate for her clients and has gotten many of them extra funding. Jessica has been a great team member in sharing resources with her teammates and volunteering to help out. She has been a wonderful asset to Meridian Services and to Anoka County. May Amber Robles Martinez, Program Counselor I In Home Services North Amber is interpreter and staff person for a family that only speaks Spanish only speaking family. She has been a wonderful staff person, regularly making herself available to interpret for her supervisor as well as for the County Case Manager during meetings. Amber also assists with paperwork, helping to prepare it so that it communicates important information to the family. Chantel Duffney, Program Counselor II Silver Lake SLS Chantel is a part-time employee, within her first six months at Silver Lake. In that time she has developed a great relationship with each of the consumers. Chantel often picks up extra shifts to help her co-worker and the Program Manager. We appreciate all of her hard work and dedication to her position. 4

5 Sharing the News! Births and Adoptions! Natasha Moss, Case Manager, with Meridian Services, had a boy Marcelo Patrick Lee, born on April 6 th. Graduations! Toni Thulen, Chief Financial Officer, graduated on June 2 nd, with a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies, from Bethel Seminary. Engagements and Marriages! Whitney Strauss, Medica Care Coordinator, with Meridian Services, is engaged to marry Marcus Penny. Their wedding is planned for September Honors and Awards! Diana Sletten, Human Resources Generalist II, with Orion Associates received her Professional of Human Resources certification on May 11 th. Special News and Announcements! Lara Trujillo, ISO Coordinator, with Orion Associates, will be appearing as Cinderella s Step Mother in Mu Performing Arts upcoming production of Into the Woods, at Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul. The show runs from July 20 th through August 5 th. Information is available at: Thoughts and Quotes! A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier." Tom Stoppard Submitted by Jeni Swanson, Program Manager, In-Home Services, Northern Region, with Meridian Services The real point of being alive is to evolve into the whole person you were intended to be. Oprah Winfrey Submitted by Ann Anderson, Coordinator, with Orion Associates Shout Outs! Shout out to Alyssa Loverink and Kevin Hooker for providing an in-service training for staff at another provider! Leota Bemis I would like to give a Shout Out to Jason King for all the hard work and flexibility as a Program Assistant while at Hampshire!!! Colorado South is very lucky to have you as a staff member. - Renee Rolling I want to give a shout out to the Palmer Lake staff for all their hard work and dedication to the program. The house has come such a long way! Our consumers are doing well and are happy and it is all because of you all and your continued efforts! I appreciate you all tremendously and thank you all. Keep up the great work! - Desiree Smith Shout out to Andrea Hoopman, for being awesome! Samantha Jurichko Shout out to our fantastic HR team who have had to weather many changes in the last few months Thanks everyone for all your hard work and flexibility!! - Cassi McMayer Shout out to the Golden Hills staff especially the overnights for doing a wonderful job working with some tough kids. Matt Roerig A shout out thank you to Pete, Al and Doug. Logan residents and staff love the new porch you built us, it s beautiful and safe now. It s nice to enjoy our back yard for the first in almost four years. We appreciate that you got rid of the tree limbs so they wouldn t fall down on us. On behalf of the Logan consumers, You guys are A PLUS and you ROCK. Maureen Rex August Employment Anniversaries 13 Years Deborah Tamba 11 Years Carrie Lynn Bunker Allyson Johnson 9 Years Kantu Mumba Rachel Pitkanen 7 Years Rebecca Wiitala 6 Years Becky Christenson Djibril Liassou 5 Years Ruth Dejarlais Latrice Dunmars 4 Years Melissa Chinn Fiona Doh Grant Haley Allison Jordan 3 Years Alex Browne Nikki Jones Kate Spenger 2 Years Brittany Bible Renae Dressel Andrew Hahn Samantha Miller Ardelia Nelson Tracy Sellnow Lucy Stewart Jessica Wusow 1 Year Katelin Barraclough Peter Fuller Loura Gboeah Yah James Grace Kanyugi Jody Ann Mason Tasha Moody Jennifer Prunick Shannon Swarthout Christine Swift Laura Westfall 5

6 Consumer Spotlight In Memory of Frank The Tank Ingram April 26, 1976 April 17, 2012 They say that the world was built for two, only worth living if somebody loves you. Frank was loved and will be remembered by all he encountered. Frank was known by a few different names Tank, Superman, but mainly just Frankie. Good chow! There was always music around Frank, whether staff came in to play for him or whether he was simply in the middle of a store, belting out tunes from Prince, Michael Jackson or anything from the 80's. He always hoped that the song "Walking in Memphis" would play on the radio, but whatever played; Frank created a dance move and owned it. Matthew at the Hoedown! Once a year, Frank would get dressed up to attend Prom. He always had a "date," whether he liked it or not. Everyone understood that Frank was only there for the music, dancing and pop. Prom, however, will never be the same without him. Frank was a great people watcher. He made every excuse to go on van rides and would go to places with large crowds, accompanied by his staff, who he called his kids. He would walk very slowly, observing everything. Frank always had a half grin on his face when we passed screaming children or rowdy adults. It was almost as if he knew what was going to happen next. Frank would also watch people try to complete a task, half watching and half playing his videogame. Frank s facial expressions would do the talking, indicating that, I m watching those kids. Frank was one to gravitate towards; he had an almost magical presence. The sun and the moon were topics he often spoke about. We believe that Frank is one of them now and will shine brightly upon us as we remember his life here on Earth. Frank survived by his family, his housemates, the Silver Lake staff, Meridian Services management team, the Marshall's and the Browns. Consumer Spotlight Ray Rulford Ray resides at our Palmer Lake home and has lived there since February He is non-verbal and lives with three non-verbal housemates. During the day, Ray attends Metro Resources Technology Park. He is supported in this program in learning vocational skills and works during the warm months beautifying parks. When Ray is not at work he enjoys spending as much time as he can participating in community activities. At home he spends his time with staff, listening to music, watching movies, taking naps, taking baths, eating and being outside. 6 Yep, mighty fine eatin! Ray is also very close with his father and brother, who live near Palmer Lake. Known amongst his family members as Little Lover, Ray enjoys the time he spends with his family and looks forward to his weekends at home.

7 From the Suggestion Box... We received the following suggestion on May 4, 2012: We usually address anonymous suggestions in the newsletter. This time, however, we ve decided to respond to a suggestion made by someone who identified herself. Samantha Juricho, Case Manager, expressed an important concern in her suggestion and, while I did respond to her directly at the time, we thought that we should also respond publically as it would give us the opportunity to share important information with everyone. Is it a possibility to have access to secure ? I recently have been having trouble obtaining electronic copies of needed documents because I cannot request it without a secure . Case Managers send personal and confidential information all day every day via , I m guessing it is a needed commodity to follow HIPAA practices? Our Response: Samantha s suggestion raises a very important concern. in our line of work absolutely must be secure not only to comply with HIPAA practices, but to insure employee confidentially, to minimize the risk of a violation of the Vulnerable Adult / Maltreatment of Minors Act, as well as to meet the Data Practices requirements under which we operate. That said we want to assure you that our is secure, both in terms of hardware and software, and fully meets HIPAA and other security obligations. Not only is our secure currently, but it is updated regularly to remain secure. Matt at the Hoedown! You ve observed correctly that our system is not the same as those used by the counties, but it s simply a matter of their having chosen one system to achieve security while we ve chosen another. If you are having trouble obtaining electronic copies of needed documents or have other security related concerns, we recommend that you contact the Marco Help Desk. I m confident that they d be able to help you resolve the problem. Thank you! Consumer Spotlight Curtis Erickson Curtis has been with Meridian Services for eleven years. He lives at Northwood with three housemates, with whom he has a very close relationship. Curtis enjoys going on activities with his housemates as well as oneon-one activities with the staff. Some of his favorite activities are go-karting, going to movies, bowling and dancing. He also enjoys a quiet evening at home, coloring pictures of airplanes. Curtis is a very happy, easy going person, ready with a smile. The staff always say that you can t have a bad day when Curt is around. We really enjoy having Curtis at Northwood. Curtis saves his money for a big trip every year. Last year, he travelled to Florida and enjoyed spending time at Sea World, where he swam with the dolphins. This year, Curtis just returned from Santa Fe, New Mexico. He works at Achieve and has been there for twenty-five years. Curtis also works at a Holiday station, where he mops floors, but where he also gets to enjoy a hot dog, pop and a Twinkie. Steven at the Hoedown! 7

8 Orion Associates 9400 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, Minnesota PRESORT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID TWIN CITIES, MN PERMIT NO ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED A Night Without Vegetables, or A Treatise on the Subtraction of One Variable By Serge Katzen It was a night dark and stormy as I sat in my bedroom, the thunder outside rolled likewise did my insides, for suppertime was nigh and my body knew it well. From whence the marching orders of my household came, a decree that stated rather plain. 3 elements to a meal, 3 components must there be - Chicken, Rice and a veggie. That night the caretakers prepared a dinner most exquisite, I couldn't' wait I couldn't at one more minute to have a bite, to eat it. Upon the fire I did see, the usual pans and pots, 1,2,3. It was finally supper time, the caregivers announced, I scurried from my quarters a smile about my face. One thing was however missing from my plate, I spied 2 of the 3 components but the 3rd was nowhere to be seen, No vegetable, no vegetable! I thought with delight tonight, one thing's different, we're not having any green. where I to say this allowed, I would be thought of as mean. My mind blasted off to faraway realms wherein physics did not apply, to no vegetables, the citizens broke bread and they drank wine. The Id, Ego and Superego all in Unity, this was a good change they said, for once, they agreed. When the revels in mind were done, the 3 did repair, back to their living quarters to take rest and leave. Though to my dismay when I woke, I spied a 3rd pot. Woe, Woe, the failure of now, what a cruel reality. In mourning I sat at my chair, but about my face it did not show such a happy night did end in an awfully tragic low. And it continued to rain... Author's note: I do not dislike veggies at all, this is merely hypothetical expression of a possibility in another time-space.

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