Monday, June 11, 2012

NY State to Propose a State Seal Of Biliteracy for High School Graduates

Following on the heels of the California law that was signed on October 8, 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown that  created the “State Seal of Biliteracy” which honors high school seniors proficient in English and one or more languages, New York State Assemblywoman Carmen E. Arroyo introduced legislation in May 2012 to create a similar certification for New York State high school graduates. This bill would establish the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. The bill cites many reasons for why this certification should be pursued, including that biliteracy contributes to a pupil’s cognitive development and to our national economy and security. The demand for individuals to be fluent in more than one language is increasing throughout the US, promoting linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy.

The bill proposed by Carmen Arroyo is designed to encourage pupils to study languages other than English, provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills, offer universities a way to recognize and give academic credit to applicants seeking admission and  to prepare pupils for the new challenges of 21st century life.

Sinergia enthusiastically supports the biliteracy bill and calls upon parents to support this iniaitive by contacting the New York State Legislature. Ms. Arroyo’s New York City Office is located at 384 East 149 Street, Suite 30, Bronx, NY 10455. Her telephone number is 718-292-2901. You can also contact your assemblyperson by visiting the website and entering your zip code.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Team Approach to Services for Parents with Intellectual Disabilities

Sinergia’s “We Are Parents Too” and “Healthy Families” programs use a trans-disciplinary team approach to enhance the service spectrum for parents that are intellectually disabled. This approach capitalizes on the myriad of talents and skills of specific staff members from our organization. It results in powerful teamwork that provides creative solutions to very challenging circumstances that families can find themselves in. Staff expertise is also utilized in the training and education component of both programs. For example, recently the Nursing Department offered a workshop on Personal Hygiene. During this presentation the Nurse offered strategies on how parents can enhance their personal appearance as well as use and teach good hygiene to their children at home. The presentation was interactive and the participants were able to take part in the dialogue and share their own views about personal hygiene. The parents were very complimentary of the presentation. The follow-up survey results indicated that the participants learned new ways to approach this subject.

Another example is the collaboration with the Dental Hygiene Program at Hostos Community College of the City University. This presentation, given by the senior students under the supervision of a faculty member, dealt with the issues of good dental care and proper tooth brushing techniques. The session encouraged routine visits to the dentist by their children and the importance of general cleaning. The parents can now visit the Hostos Community College Clinic and receive free services at the dental clinic for themselves and their children.

The Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, is now one of our collaborating partners. They have provided a workshop entitled, “Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia” and will present another workshop in July. They will also provide us with interns from their graduate program that will conduct focus groups and needs assessments.

One unique service that Sinergia provides is supervised visits requested by the courts and/or ACS. They are held onsite at our facility and directed by an instructor that teaches about the parent-to-child interaction between parents and their babies and/or young children. This is an important step in the bonding and connection of parents and children which is significant to the reunification goal of families who have been separated by the child custody system.

Our programs evolve. They are a work in progress and require the contribution of every member of the team.

Our Deepest Condolences

We are saddened to announce that Jack Haines, husband of Gayle Haines, a long time Sinergia board member, passed away on April 22nd. Throughout the years, Jack was a wonderful host to Sinergia staff and board members at  his home in Captree Island. He participated in many special events and visited Sinergia programs numerous times. Jack was a painter, writer and great supporter of Sinergia’s mission.
Sinergia Executive Director Myrta Cuadra-Lash recently recalled her fond memories of him. "I have known  Jack and Gayle for at least three decades. They were former neighbors at Captree Island and made many visits to my home in Puerto Rico, where they fell in love with the Island. Jack and Dick (Sinergia founder) had so many common interests including their fondness for Captree Island, their intense curiosity for all things and their love of learning. Gayle was a teacher of some of the Lash children when they were in elementary school in West Islip. Our lives coincided in so many ways." The Sinergia family sends our deepest condolences to Gayle. A memorial service will be held in June. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sinergia's Natasha Harris Honored for Excellence

On May 7, the Manhattan Developmental Disabilities Council sponsored the 10th Annual Manhattan Service Coordination Forum at Metro DDSO. During this event, the Forum acknowledged twelve Medicaid Service Coordinators from the Manhattan area for their hard work and dedication to consumers and their families. This year, Sinergia, Inc. was pleased to nominate Ms. Natasha Harris to receive such an honor. Ms. Natasha Harris has been a Medicaid Service Coordinator with our agency for four years. During these years, she demonstrated strong advocacy qualities and great dedication in providing the best quality of services to her consumers. Ms. Harris does not tolerate injustices against her consumers and works extremely hard to get entitlements for her consumers. Her consumers and families celebrate her enthusiasm and code of ethics.  It was a great honor for Sinergia to present this recognition to Ms. Harris.

MSC News/Developments
  • Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC) completed online training for CHOICES (the electronic individual case records management system).
  • Excellent Home Care will host a presentation for all our MSC and Family Support staff on June 13, 2012.
  • The MSC department, in collaboration with The Metropolitan Parent Center, is launching the MSC Core Pilot Training on July 18, 2012. In this training MPC, MSC and Family support staff will participate in the training and provide constructive feedback to the trainers. This exercise will help trainers to prepare and improve their training methods before they provide this service to external providers.

Sinergia's 2012 Dinner Dance - a Night To Remember

On April 20, 2012, the Day Habilitation program hosted the annual Sinergia Dinner Dance at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center on West 65th Street. Individuals from our Day Habilitation, UpLiving, Residential, Family Care, and “We Are Parents, Too” programs all attended the soiree. Everyone came out in their finest apparel ready for a delicious catered dinner and danced all night long to many favorite tunes, spun by a top-notch deejay. This year’s festivities were also highlighted by a fashion show performed by the Day Hab participants and a photo booth manned by Sinergia’s Deputy Executive Director, Michael Mitchell. It was truly a night for everyone to feel like stars, and one we will all be talking about for the rest of the year. Congratulations to the Day Hab staff as well as the volunteers from other departments who helped us create the best Dinner Dance yet! View more photos on Facebook.