Staff Highlight – Cait Farber

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This month for our Staff Highlight, we are featuring one of our new Community Health Workers, Cait Farber. Cait was the HUB spotlight for the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health. Below are some excerpts from her interview. You can read the full article on their website at www.1889jeffersoncenter.org/.

Tell us about yourself. What drew you to the Community Health Worker position in the first place?

My name is Caitlyn, but I like Cait. I’m 27 years young, a lifelong Cambria county native, and a tired psychology student. I’m a very proud mother of two beautiful and bossy toddlers that were my inspiration for my recent joining of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).

It was early on that I found my passion for helping people. I spent most of my life clawing my way out of poverty, generational abuse, and overall bad luck. Eviction, abuse, single parent life, homeless, unemployed… I’ve been there. It’s so hard to pull yourself out of it, but it’s not impossible. It’s what makes me a competent and successful community health worker. I’m not here to tell you how to live. I’m an everyday member of our community who has used the exact resources I refer my participants to. The moral of my story would absolutely have to read, “Be who you needed.” I am who I needed.

What do you feel is the most important quality for a CHW to bring to the table when working with a participant?

The most important quality to have to be a CHW is genuine compassion. Sometimes we are put in situations that challenge us, and you will need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You need to care more about your participants more than checking all the boxes and meeting a quota. We are all people who have struggled like the people we serve. This means we can relate to the people we serve on a personal note. To be a community health worker, you have to be strong, resilient, determined but also cordial, receptive, and patient.

What is the most challenging part of being a CHW?

The most challenging part of being a CHW is finding a barrier or a gap in services but having little power to change it quickly. We want to be aware of the mind, body, and soul cohesively, but also individually, as each participant has their own life. This includes physical health, but also social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

A Holiday Blessing Complete

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You might remember back in December when we participated in our yearly Holiday Blessings initiative. Of the recipients was one of our participants, Sally Campbell. She was in need of having the garage door to her home fixed. The garage is the only handicap-accessible exit to her home. Since she was unable to open the garage door, Sally was unable to leave her home.

Through Holiday Blessings, we were able to provide the finances to have Sally’s garage door replaced and an electric opener installed. She is very excited to have the door fixed and can’t wait to begin using the automatic opener! See the pictures to the right for the before and after of the garage door.

We would like to thank our supporters that make opportunities like this possible for our agency. If interested in becoming a sponsor of AUCP, we invite you to learn more on our website or contact us today at info@scalucp.org. We look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of our community with your support!

Giving to Frontline Workers

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Recently, our agency had the opportunity to donate to a great cause, providing a small token of appreciation to the doctors and nurses who work tirelessly in the ICU at Conemaugh Hospital.  With our assistance and members of the community, 75 gift bags were provided in just three days.

February 2021 Staff Highlight

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For the staff highlight for the month of February, we would like to introduce you to Da-Trice Burns. Da-Trice has been a Service Coordinator at AUCP since March of last year working for team UPMC in the central region of the state.

Da-Trice lives in Hermitage, PA, but was born in Sharon and then moved to Ohio for elementary school and from there finished high school in Tampa, Florida. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and 60 credits in elementary education from Theil College in Philadelphia, PA.

Da-Trice has a wonderful family that consists of her fiancé, 4 children (ages 17, 16, 14, & 8), a 2-year-old miniature pinscher/chihuahua mix named Ace, and a kitten named Cain. Like any proud mom, Da-Trice boasts about how awesome her children are. Their schedules are full of high school and college classes, cheerleading and softball, and of course a few video games in the mix, too! Outside of spending time with her family, she enjoys reading, meditating, and listening to music.

When asked what her biggest goals in life are, she says she loves to make those around her smile and be happy. She also wants her children to succeed in life and to go further than she could ever imagine for herself.

Working at AUCP over the last year, Da-Trice has really begun to enjoy getting to know her participants, assisting them with their concerns, and feel like she has made a difference in their lives. She also loves the team that she works with, the teamwork makes the job so much more enjoyable. The most challenging parts are the sometimes overwhelming workload and not being able to handle situations for her participants that are out of her control. If she were not a Service Coordinator, Da-Trice says she would like to be a clinical psychiatrist with her own practice.

Participants have stated that Da-Trice is a wonderful person! She works diligently to help them, is in-tune with their needs, and always follows-up when she says she is going to. Her supervisor says she is a great addition to the UPMC team and we agree! We’re glad she is part of the AUCP family!

Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy Receives NCQA Accreditation for the Second Time

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Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy (AUCP) has once again been awarded accreditation of Case Management for Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) by the National Committee for Quality Accreditation (NCQA). This accreditation is a comprehensive, evidence-based program that is awarded to programs that meet NCQA’s Standards and Guidelines. It addresses how the organization delivers efficient, effective person-centered care that meets each participant’s needs, measures the quality improvement to support people living in their preferred setting, and meets the state’s Managed Care requirements.

This is the second consecutive time that AUCP has been awarded this accreditation, this time with a perfect score. We owe our success to our hardworking staff and their dedication to our participants and the quality of services provided.

For more information on the Accreditation of Case Management for Long-Term Services and Supports, please visit NCQA’s website.

2020 Holiday Blessings

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For the last three years, we have celebrated the holidays by sponsoring Holiday Blessings to help our community and participants. We invite our staff and board members to submit applications for families that are in need of support during the holiday season. Staff then buy gifts for the children of the families through a Giving Tree. This year, it was our pleasure to sponsor four applicants.

Of the recipients, one was a participating Community Care Hub family from Portage, PA who is expecting their third child. They had no idea about the nomination. When we delivered the gifts purchased and gift cards, they were so surprised. The mother was almost brought to tears and her children did not stop smiling and giggling as they opened and played with their new toys.

Another recipient was a family of three whose daughter, Ava (6), is battling a second round of cancer. As a way to support the family as they make trips back and forth from the Cleveland Clinic, the agency purchased gift cards for gas and food. Ava’s face lit up with joy as she received the box of gifts purchased by staff.

A participant from the Altoona area has been unable to leave her home over the last few months because of a broken garage door. The door doubles as the only handicap accessible entryway to her home. As part of the Holiday Blessings, the agency is sponsoring the cost to get the garage door replaced with a new door and electronic door opener. We can’t wait to see the final product and for her to have the freedom to leave her home again.

Due to COVID-19, one of our participants from the Pittsburgh area has been unable to take part in activities at the senior high rise where she lives. These activities help her fine motor skills and maintain her diabetes flares. One of our staff members took it upon themselves to sponsor her by purchasing clay, coloring books, and supplies to gift for her.

Each year we are blown away by the generosity of our staff, sponsors, and community. 2020 has been a difficult year for all, yet this does not hinder their generosity. Being able to touch the lives of those in our community with their kindness, is heartwarming.  Seeing their faces light up with joy, a weight lifting from their shoulders, and a smile spread across their face is why we do what we do. Offering Holiday Blessings is as much a blessing to us as it is to those on the receiving end. It thrills us to host another year of blessings and we look forward to offering them many years into the future.

2020 Annual Report

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AUCP’s 2020 Annual Report: New Opportunities is LIVE! For your convenience, you are able to view the report on your desktop or on your mobile device via Issuu.

In the report, you’ll find a full list of AUCP’s programs and services, a quick look at survey results from our participants, our accomplishments and challenges, a snapshot of our 2018-2019 finances, fundraising initiatives and stories, & so much more!

Click here to read now. Please contact us at info@scalucp.org to leave your feedback, we look forward to hearing from you.

ClearMask Donation

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We are thrilled to receive a donation of 96 masks from ClearMask, the creators of the first fully transparent, FDA-cleared mask optimized for maximum clarity and comfort.

For some of our participants, regular masks make it hard for them to understand what people are telling them. These ClearMasks will allow our service coordinators to be able to communicate effectively during their visits.

Thank you, ClearMask! We can’t wait to see the impact these will make. Learn more about the ClearMask Project by visiting their website.


Pictured: Tina Trimbath, AUCP RN & Brea Brubaker, AUCP Programs Clerk

Recipe of the Month: Peppermint Popcorn

AnchorIngredients:
  • 1 pound white candy coating, coarsely chopped
  • 24 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup finely crushed peppermint candy (4 to 6 candy canes)
  • Red nonpareils, optional
DIRECTIONS:
In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the popcorn and crushed candy. Pour candy coating over top; toss to coat. Pour onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle with nonpareils. When hardened, break apart. Store in an airtight container.

December 2020 Staff Highlight

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This month, we would like to introduce you to Gwendolyn Msolomba. Gwen has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Business from Carlow University and a Masters in Education from Ashford University. She is a supervisor for our AmeriHealth team and our Community Health Workers.

Gwen was born and raised in Johnstown, PA. Family means a lot to Gwen! She has three brothers and a loving mother, Jackie who is her biggest fan and supporter. She is also a fun and adventurous aunt and godmother to her three nephews, a great-niece, 3 goddaughters, and 4 godsons. Gwen is the glue that holds her family together. She also has a dog, Zack, and a turtle, Versace.

For hobbies, Gwen enjoys braiding hair and dancing! She teaches West African Dance at Saint Francis University and a free class at the Bottleworks in Johnstown, PA. One of her greatest passions is to see all children succeed. In fact, her biggest goal in life is to open a recreational center in Johnstown to create a safe place for youth to hang out and learn the skills they need to live on their own.

Gwen has been with AUCP for 5 and a half years.  She says she loves the team approach that we have transitioned to over the last few years. She enjoys the teams that she is a part of and the flexibility that this job offers. The most challenging part of her position is the process to match participants with the things that they need, sometimes it takes longer than we want it to. If Gwen did not work at AUCP, she would like to be a Behavioral Specialist Consultant.

All of us here at AUCP love working with Gwen! She has a great sense of outspoken humor and is able to maintain her cool in the toughest of situations. Gwen makes work fun and we are so glad that she’s part of our family.