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September 2019 Newsletter

With the start of the school year comes transition. Some of us welcome change and for others it can be very challenging! September is typically a month in which families use less respite care, due in part to families trying to minimize stress at home. But how can our services be stressful if they are designed to decrease stress? For many parents, having to schedule one more commitment and worry that it will be cancelled or not turn out like one had hoped can increase stress.

So how can you help? Reach out, offer support, and keep your promises. Communicate your schedule with the families you are supporting. Let them know that if they need help, you are here for them. Offer to help the child with their school routines and get organized for the week. Take the child for a walk while the parent prepares dinner or reviews information from school. Help the child learn to make their own lunch and clean up their room. Remind the parent that it is ok to take a few hours to unwind and accept help. Show up a few minutes early for your appointment and do what you can to minimize the family's stress. 

Last month marked one year since I fell and broke my wrist and ankle. It's been a year of healing, learning to ask for help more often, and realizing that setting limits to commitments and activities can be really good for my mental health. We all know someone in our lives who seems to rarely catch their breath, staying busy to occupy their mind or their days, always prioritizing others above themselves. This may be you. As the seasons begin to change and the days grow shorter, it's easy for many of us to not make time for ourselves. Make this the year that you practice what you preach - find some respite for yourself. Ask for help from others and realize that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

When we take care of ourselves, we strengthen our ability to care for others better and longer.
 
Thank you all for the care you provide our wonderful families!
 
Sharon M. Francis
Co-Founder & CEO
Channel Islands Social Services

PS - We are now on Instagram 😊 
(As promised, a different pic each month - I had fun with my family on our first group Facetime chat and discovered filters! LOL)
Congratulations to the first graduates of our Caregiver Internship Program!

We are very proud of all of our paid interns who completed the 3-month training program. Of special note - 7 are graduates or current students of CSU Channel Islands 😊 Our CISS Training and Development Specialist, John T. Francis, MSW, did an incredible job putting the program together and leading Cohort #1.

Pictured left to right are Katherin, Nora, Adriana, Alexia, John, Eileen, Doris, Jannelly and Leo.
 
Thank you to our seasoned staff who served as Respite Mentors to the interns: Steve K., Rosie L., David M. and Barbara T. Thanks also to the families who allowed our interns into your homes to shadow during care.

Cohort #2 has been filled and will be starting this month, and Cohort #3 will start in January. Know someone who would make a great caregiver but needs more experience and training first? Feel free to refer them to John at x868 or by email to John@IslandSocialServices.org
Please help us welcome our three newest administrative team members 😊 

Pictured left to right are:
  • Stacy - Family Support Specialist, x869. She will be supporting families in Simi Valley, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru.
  • Jocelyne - Administrative Assistant, x855. She supports the HR team. 
  • Ashley - HR Associate, x872. She is responsible for Respite applicants and employees in Camarillo and East County.
We are so excited to have them helping our amazing families and staff. To email, use first name and add @islandsocialservices.org 
We'll miss you Patrice!
We would like to take this opportunity to give a heart-felt goodbye to one of our fellow employees who is moving out of our area. Patrice has been with CISS in various positions for over 13 years, but most of you may know her as our lead CPR/First Aid Instructor. We are so thankful for her years of service and she will be greatly missed!!! 

"Working at CISS has been such a big part of my life that I've come to think of it as my second home. No matter the role, I was always proud to be associated with an organization whose mission is to serve the community by supporting so many of its families and children. I would have to say the best part of working at CISS has always been the people… as an office administrator, it was my co-workers, and as a CPR/FA instructor, it was the caregivers.
I’ve always looked forward to interacting with interesting people and teaching CPR/FA gave me the opportunity to connect with and learn from CISS’s many caregivers by sharing their stories and experiences in each class. Every training was unique because of the many diverse individual personalities. I will carry so many memories with me from my years at CISS. I've developed relationships with some of my favorite people with whom I’ve shared some of my brightest days, as well as some of my darkest, and I thank every one of them for being there.

Most of all I’m looking forward to the change, in general. I was never one to sit still for long but that changed when I had children… I chose to stay put so they could have some stability. Now that they are all grown and starting new adventures, I decided it is a good time to start a new adventure of my own!"

We wish you all the best Patrice!!!
September Staff Reminders
  • Transporting Individuals - Only individuals on our approved driver's list who are over age 21, meet the minimum coverage limits as required by the company, and who have a clean driving record AND an approved Travel Authorization form on file are allowed to drive individuals into the immediate community area during respite. Call HR if you have any questions!
  • Help Wanted / Update Availability - We continue to be blessed with referrals. If you have any additional time each week to support another family, please contact our office to update your schedule, and please tell your friends and you could receive a $50 referral bonus.
  • Payroll@IslandSocialServices.org - If you are scanning and emailing your timesheets in, please only use the email address listed at the top of the timesheet AND indicate in the email how many sheets you are sending in. Please try to send them all together in one email to help Laura who prints them all out.
  • Signatures - We have experienced an increase in caregivers turning in timesheets without parent signatures for each date of care, which we then have to verify prior to payroll. Please double-check your timesheets before sending them in. It's best to have the parent sign off as you are leaving each day, as is outlined in our employee handbook.
  • Continue to be awesome!!
ARE YOU A MATCH?
 
Have room in your schedule and your heart to help another family?

We update our Recruitment Board every few weeks to show a sample of those families currently needing respite support.

You can always find the latest info on the Staff page of our website. 

Click the image above updated 9/3/2019 and call the office for more info today!

**MONTHLY TRAINING**

Date: Wed. 9/25, 6pm-8pm
Dinner served at 5:30pm for those who register. Seating limited to 40.

Topic: Words and Behaviors Matter- Harassment and Bullying
Speakers will provide an overview of the prevalence of bullying and its impact on children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Learn how to identify signs of bullying or harassment, and tips to help children address it and cope.

Click the image above to RSVP. 

💙 Meet Amy T. 💙
A Decade of Respite Care!
 

Amy was hired in 2009 to support the daughter of a family friend. Over the past ten years, she has been there for many of the family's important events, both joy-filled and sorrowful. The family Amy helps commented "I love her very much and she helps me out, taking my daughter so I can get out. She has been with us through some very difficult times and she is a great listener and is a really big help."

Amy told us "In addition to CISS, I currently work for The Boeing Company on the defense side in the procurement division. I grew up with a brother who had special needs. Bobby was the best brother ever! He was a very talented swimmer and won many gold medals in the special Olympics. Through that organization, he always had many friends, and I just loved these guys so much for their honesty and willingness to try.

One thing I enjoy doing is going for walks on the beach collecting sea glass. It relaxes my mind.I love working with CISS because of the love they have for this field. It's not just a job for everyone - it's their heart.  I hope to be more involved myself. My advice is to treat the individuals in your care as you would want your own child treated. Be there for them...talk to them...enjoy being with them. It changes not only their life but yours as well."

With gratitude for all you do!
* Alejandro B. *
* Evette R. *
* Luis R. *
* Nancy V. *

💜 Meet JoAnn P.💜
5-Year CISS Respite Caregiver
 
     
"I’m the Mother of 2 sons and a Grandmother of 4. I live in the beautiful city of Ventura with my eldest son and 2 of my grandchildren. My passion has always been to work with children, however, I ended up working in Human Resources at my previous job of 17 years. In 2014 I took a leap of faith and quit my job to fulfill my passion! I attend Ventura Community College where I earned a certificate in Early Child Development and an Associate Teacher Permit. I was blessed one day when someone asked me if I was interested in being their Respite Caregiver, I asked what that is, they explained and I agreed! That was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.
I absolutely love working for CISS who hired me in 2014. It’s made a huge difference in my life, I’m so grateful to be a part of what Tim and Sharon established, the way the organization helps the special needs and foster communities is amazing! This job is very rewarding in more ways than one. It pays well and includes mileage, you get to meet so many awesome children with special needs and others in the foster care system, they offer training and I love the fact that the hours are not the basic 9 to 5, which made it easier for me to attend college and work at the same time. I also work for Ventura Unified School District as a Para-educator. I love, love, love my “jobs” - it's more like fun when your job is your passion. Needless to say, I’m so much happier now. Nothing comes close to seeing the smiles and excitement from the children when they see you - now that is rewarding!

I also have the pleasure of helping care for my 94-year-old Mother, a challenge in it’s own, but all worth it. Living in Ventura allows me to enjoy the ocean’s cool breeze, I like taking walks and just sitting and relaxing at the beach. I also enjoy bike riding at Camino Real Park and around my neighborhood. I recently joined a gym and now I’m able to start Zumba and Yoga again. What brings me the most pleasure and relaxation is when I read the Holy Bible - spending time alone with God is the best therapy for me!

Find Ways to Connect: One of the highlights that I recently experienced which touched my heart happened while I was working as a CISS childcare provider at a pre-service training for foster parents. A 5-year old little boy, who struggled with separation anxiety, refused to go into the childcare room as he wanted his foster parent to stay with him. I knew it was going to be a challenge to get him to come into the room, let alone stay with us while his foster parent attended the training. After several attempts of trying everything I could think of to make him feel comfortable, I got down at his level and asked him to pick a movie he wanted to watch. I explained to him that I’d never seen that movie before and I couldn't wait to watch it with him. He held my hand and we walked into the childcare room together. The second day was also a struggle but it got a little easier every time he came, and finally the last couple of days he actually ran into the room - it was amazing to see how he adapted to the surroundings and started to trust us! It was touching when his foster parent thanked us saying it also helped make it easier for him to attend kindergarten. 
 

Extended Family: "The families that I’m supporting now and I have become so close and trusting of each other. I’ve been blessed with their generosity, love and kindness. They periodically tell me how much they appreciate me, which is so nice to hear! Currently, I support a family that has 2 children with special needs. Their parents are the greatest and make me feel like we are family. I support another family that has an adult child with special needs whom I adore and we are always so happy to see each other! I feel honored to work with these families, It’s been over 4 years and has been a joy to watch them grow not only physically but mentally as well. I also support one foster family who is fostering a beautiful little girl.

The greatest honor that I’ve had working for CISS has been to have the opportunity to be a Respite Caregiver
for my sister Donna who has Down Syndrome, pictured with me.  Without a doubt, I’ve come to love and appreciate her more than ever! Thank you CISS!"
 

Advice: "Be considerate and responsible, have fun, be silly, be happy, enjoy what you are doing, be kind, patient, flexible with your time, be reliable, dependable, trustworthy and honest, communicate and interact as much as possible and most of all stay healthy and happy and treat everyone that you care for the way you would want your family members to be treated. Keep in mind these families depend on us to care for their children. We have to remember to care for ourselves to care for others and to do our job well :)"
Celebrating 5 Years of Respite Care! 
Agustin G., Yajaira G., and JoAnn P.

We are so grateful for all you do to support our families!
WOW!!! How would you like to wake up on payday with your paycheck already in your bank account? How convenient!

Only 50% of our staff have enrolled in Direct Deposit. What are YOU waiting for? It takes 2 full pay cycles for it to take effect, so don't delay and sign up today!
Before clicking the photo link above:
1) Register on our payroll website using company #N2014.
2) Have a voided check prepared, or a printout from your bank (which you can download for direct deposit showing your name, routing number and account number).

Can I mail or fax the form instead?
Yes, click to download and print the form in English or Spanish, or call the office and request one be mailed to you. Complete it and attach the required proof of account and either bring it by the office, mail it, or fax it to our secure fax line at (805) 299-0600. 
The August Monthly Staff Training was an incredible panel presentation by three strong, committed and very loving moms raising their children with Epilepsy.

Thanks to Ana, Lisa and Carolynn for sharing their experiences from  when their child was diagnosed through today, and their continuous journey to create a safe and supportive environment for their children. Each parent’s experience was unique as their children range from school-aged to adult.
Some key takeaways from the training included:
  • Ensure open communication between Respite Caregiver and parent. Share what you see when you provide care, as that information is critical to the parent’s monitoring of their child’s seizure care plan.
  • Listen to what the parent shares about their child’s seizures. The parents ARE the experts! They know their child better than any medical professional or first responder. Everyone's experiences will be unique and the level of support for each child requires a different set of caregiving skills.
  • Constant supervision is necessary to best support the child in the event of a seizure.
  • Know that the parent appreciates your help and that trust is essential in the respite care relationship.
If you are interested in supporting individuals with Epilepsy/Seizures, please contact the office and ask to speak with your Family Support Specialist. They will discuss additional training we can offer, as well as go over the seizure response form with you so you are able to safely support one of the many wonderful individuals in our respite program.
😄 Recent Praise Received 😄
 
Ammie A: Ammie is one of our Independent Living Specialists. When our office checked in with the mother of one of the individuals to whom Amie provides ILS instruction, the parent commented "my daughter told me she loved working with Ammie. She said she presents things to her that makes her enjoy what she is learning.  Isn't that GREAT?!  They are off to a good start. On Wednesday, they will be working on shopping, menu planning and cooking dinner. I can't wait to see what I am eating."

David S: A parent David supports almost 40 hours per week recently commented to Julianna Eusanio, MSW, CISS Program Manager of our Enhanced Respite program, that she is very happy with the care David provides her son.

Pilar B: A parent told Miriam Magaña, CISS Family Support Specialist who coordinates our Foster & Kinship Respite Program "We LOVE Pilar! She is so kind to the kids and they all love her so much! She has become an important part of our week for respite."

Vanessa C: In a recent meeting with CISS Lead Family Support Specialist, Abbey Anderson, a family commented that they could not say enough great things about Vanessa. "She is professional, so great and is amazing!" Abbey wanted to thank Vanessa for making her recruitment and referral tasks easier. She accommodates all the families she supports as best as she can, communicating very well with them and with our office when she has any questions.
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Channel Islands Social Services
4000 Calle Tecate, Suite 200, Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 384-0983   Fax (805) 384-0986
www.IslandSocialServices.org 

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