Southwestern Independent Living Center’s ‘no wrong door’ program recognized nationally

Southwestern Independent Living Center, 843 N Main St., Jamestown, was recently acknowledged at the 2019 National Lifespan Respite Conference, Illuminate Respite, which was held in Buffalo from April 30 through May 2, 2019 at the Buffalo Grand Hotel.

Judy Wroda, who facilitates the No Wrong Door Program at SILC, was recognized for her diligent work in ensuring the residents of Chautauqua County are connected to the services that are available to them. Through the No Wrong Door/NY Connects program, Wroda has developed the Service Providers of Chautauqua events. These events feature many providers from the county and the public is invited to come to these events to meet providers and see how their services may assist them in their daily lives.

Wroda was also recognized for her efforts to bring these services to the schools of Chautauqua County to assist the students, their families and the school staff, as well. Wroda noted that the reason she developed this outreach was because of circumstances she was observing when she would do home visits to assist people.

Wroda states that there are times she goes to homes and sees younger children there when they should be in school. After visiting with the family members and finding ways in which she can assist, she is finding that some children and teens are not attending school as they are at home trying to help out with issues there. One of the issues some families are facing are multigenerational family members in one home. Most times the elders are needing assistance throughout the day, but the parents need to work. Since the parents cannot be at home to care for their own mother/father/grandparent, the children are then called up on to be caregivers. In another scenario Wroda noted that at times, the teens are working during the day so the parents can care for the elders, then the parents work at night while the teen is home.

Wroda states that children, even teens, are not equipped for the demands of caregiving an older adult. She noted that while they are attempting to help in the home, they are then missing out on their education and even, perhaps, failing in school.

Wroda noted that she also became aware that the local schools are having some difficulty being able to assist some of these children as they are not equipped to assist with issues in the child’s home. This circle of events is what prompted Wroda to try to find a way to help that would encompass the entire situation, not just a part of the situation.

Wroda now has an office at the Jamestown High School where she spends 2 days a week being available to students and staff by discussing their situations and connecting them with programs and service providers who are able to readily assist them. She also continues her work with all other persons, all ages and incomes, who reside in Chautauqua County. Her outreach events, the Service Providers of Chautauqua events, combined with her outreach at the schools and her daily work within Chautauqua County have been garnering results that have impressed those who monitor the program. The results of people being assisted and services utilized are more than was hoped for in this area, and Wroda’s innovative work was noted at the Illuminate Respite conference by keynote speaker Lori Gerhard, Director of the Office of Consumer Access and Self Determination, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health ad Human Services, Washington, D.C.

For more information on the Service Providers of Chautauqua events or to visit with Wroda about a situation you are facing, you can call SILC at (716) 661 – 3010. The next event is to be held at the Westfield UMC on June 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with 21 providers currently scheduled to be available!

Wroda is available to all persons in Chautauqua County to assist in finding programs they may be eligible for. Wroda is a Person Centered Counselor, Case Manager and Independent Living Specialist at Southwestern Independent Living Center.


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