The Resource Center recognizes employees
Two Resource Center employees have been recognized for their efforts in supporting people with disabilities to enjoy self-directed lives.
Beth Jermain, support option administrator, and Jessica Smith, quality assurance and quality improvement systems coordinator, were among those honored when Buffalo Business First magazine presented its second annual IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Awareness) Awards last Thursday. They were among 19 individuals and seven businesses to receive an IDEA Award this year. Jermain and Smith were honored in the category of “Champion of People with Disabilities.”
They both had had long careers at The Resource Center (Jermain joined TRC in 1989, Smith in 1998) when the organization made the decision several years ago to seek accreditation from The Council on Quality and Leadership. CQL works with human service providers and governmental agencies to support their efforts to improve the quality of life for people with intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities. The Resource Center received CQL accreditation in 2016.
“That accreditation basically means that The Resource Center is meeting the criteria for providing person-centered services to people, and in a robust way,” Jermain said.
Once The Resource Center became accredited by CQL, Jermain and Smith assumed responsibility for making sure TRC guarantees people’s health and well-being in everything the agency does while supporting people to have the lives they want. They recruit, train and support a team of TRC employees who conduct initial personal outcomes measures (POMs) interviews to determine what people with disabilities want, then perform annual follow-ups to check on progress, identify barriers and chart new directions.
Thanks to the collective efforts of Jermain and Smith, the POMs interviewers, and people with disabilities and their families, individuals have been able to live the lives they want. Some people who spent years living in group homes have fulfilled their desires to live independently in the community.
Jermain and Smith seek to ensure The Resource Center doesn’t become complacent. They lead by example, reminding all employees of the importance of taking time to truly listen to what a person is saying, because the desires of the people supported by TRC come first.
“Through our work with the personal outcomes measures, we’re really trying to change the culture at The Resource Center so that we can have people with disabilities have their voice heard, as having them be a part of the community and in control of their lives,” Smith said. “That’s really what the personal outcomes measures do. It’s really a tool for us to be able to ask questions of the people we support and listen to what’s important to them.”
“It’s all about ‘person first’ and trying to ensure that when we’re providing services to people that we’re being impactful so that people can live their best lives and their fullest lives, and as service providers we’re doing our best to ensure that,” Jermain said.
“Continuous quality improvement is what we’re looking for,” Smith said, “so a lot of work, a lot of effort has been put into the last few years, and it felt very fulfilling to be recognized” with the IDEA Award.