February 12, 2013
Our daughter, Elizabeth (in photo), has been a CLASP resident for almost 30 years. She has had a happy and full life for most of that time.
She was able to participate with her other housemates in many community activities. When she had some problems, health wise, the staff at CLASP stepped right up to the plate to give her the support she needed to get back on her feet.
The last couple of years her health problems have increased, but so has the TLC of the staff. I have been living out of state for the past 16 years and it has been very comforting knowing that Elizabeth has had such loving, compassionate care. I feel very blessed to have found the CLASP family, because that is what they are to me.
A beautiful tribute to the staff of CLASP from a parent.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As the year ends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the staff who take care of my Daniel. Everyone cares for him, engages him, and respects him.
There are a couple of people who really stand out, even in this great group. They are Tammi Brooks and Stacy Smith. They not only do their jobs, encouraging Daniel to do what he can and helping him with the rest, but they also anticipate what is probably about to happen, and immediately act to calm or distract him if it's not appropriate, or encourage him if it is. They work very hard to find and do things that will make him happy, such as activities he can participate in, often together with others. They decorate the house for each month, so Danny sees the correlation between the time of year and what happens at that time, as well as has a lovely home environment. They are upbeat, and active, giving the house a positive atmosphere. And they take pictures, both to remind Danny of things he's done and to share with me.
In addition, they are especially accommodating to me as far as arranging visits and transportation, as are Michael, TyJuan and Kyonda. They also do things I ask them to, like giving Danny one of the presents I provided each night of Chanukah that I wasn't able to go to the house myself.
I really appreciate Michael's open and frequent communication with me about Daniel's health, difficulties, activities, successes and needs. Tammi, Stacy and TyJuan also make sure I know what's going on, although Michael is my main contact, of course.
Danny loves Greg, because Greg plays games with him, and takes him out. I've noticed that while Greg is very strict with Danny, he's also very quiet and calm. He gives Danny 2 choices, and then sticks to the one Danny picked. He lets Danny play, talk on the phone and do the things he can, and only steps in to redirect when necessary. But he's always aware, and comes right over before Danny has a chance to get out of hand. And he keeps Danny on topic, which is not an easy task.
I know I don't see some of the people who work in the house very often. But I try to visit at the house at least one week day a week, and not always the same day or at the same time. I also see staff on the week ends, usually on Sunday, but sometimes on Saturday. I talk with Danny on the phone at least once almost every evening, so I have the opportunity to talk with staff then as well. Sometimes I bump into Tina or Patty or Michele (the nurse) at the house, and I know they contribute to his well being too.
Daniel's behavior when he's with me has definitely improved over the past year. There is still a ways to go, but your staff has definitely made a big difference. And Danny is very anxious for me to "give a good report" to staff when I take him home.
I love Danny's exuberance, curiosity, his delight in many things, and his ability to put a smile on other people's faces. I'm so glad that working on his behavior and ensuring that he fit in with everyone else in the house and the busy schedules hasn't dampened this important part of his personality.
I want to add Gatha's deep felt gratitude to everyone at CLASP, too. She talks to Daniel often and to me just about every day, and of course Danny is a big part of our conversations.
So thank you for a wonderful year. I'm really looking forward to 2013 with Danny and the Maple Road staff.
Tribute to CLASP and Lily by Angie Mynarski
Let me take you back to Jan. 31, 1978. This was the birth of my first daughter, Kristi, at Greenwich Hospital. My sister Lily came to visit me and to meet her beautiful new niece. When she came into the room the nurse asked her if she would like to hold the baby. Of course Lily said yes. The nurse carefully placed my daughter in Lily’s arms. Lily looked at her niece, then looked at me and said “she’s beautiful – she looks like me.” That was my sister Lily.
My name is Angie Mynarski. I am honored to talk about my experiences with CLASP and my sister Lily. She has been a member of the CLASP family for many years. Lily was a very out-going, loving person, full of personality, and cute as can be. She could speak so well – my family and I would ask “where did you learn that word?” She lit up a room when she walked in. Lily had no problem speaking her mind. If she didn’t like something or someone, she let you know it. Her favorite things were going to parties, talking on the phone, socializing and food! She enjoyed talking with friend way more than work, which is why I called her the social butterfly.
When she started to show signs of failing I was very worried. Someone had told me that people with Down Syndrome were at high risk to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. I was very upset when I heard this, but I had to face reality. My Lily was not the same person she used to be. My father, who was her hero, had passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s, and my mother was in her 80’s. It was becoming clear that we needed to find a place where Lily could go and be taken care of. This was very difficult for me because I was her care-giver for most of her life and I couldn’t let her go. Then the “guardian angels” from CLASP were sent to her and to me. They had an opening at their home on Webb Road. When I saw the house and met the staff, I knew this was the place for Lily. And it has been a godsend ever since. Lily’s condition has deteriorated over the years, and she needs extra care. I was afraid that she would have to leave Webb Road, which made me very upset and scared. What would become of my beautiful sister? But Clancy and her staff assured me that they would do everything in their power to keep Lily at home – and at home is where she is today. She has the best of care and I am so grateful for that. I am in constant contact with her care-givers. I call every day and sometimes more than once a day. They always make me feel like I am not being a nuisance by calling so much. They tell me to call whenever I want to. I need to know that Lily is okay in order for me to go on with my day. I just want to say one more thing, and that is I don’t know where Lily or I would be right now if it weren’t for the loving, caring people of CLASP.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My son Bob Reilly has been with CLASP since September of 1985 when it was relatively new and getting off the ground. I have been most impressed by the growth and professionalism shown by the organization over the past fourteen years.
I am so pleased to see how Bob has transformed his life. His skills in all areas, from deportment to his everyday responsibilities, have improved to the point where I no longer feel I must be as involved. These changes in Bob are, of course, due to the wonderful staff and administration who have been so diligent in the pursuit of Bob's transformation.
It is every parents' concern as to what will transpire when we are no longer around. This past year, as a result of a serious car accident, CLASP was put to the test and surpassed my greatest expectations: I was unable to participate or to be as involved in Bob's life in any capacity for ten months. The entire staff at Weston Road and the administration all went that extra mile to ensure Bob's mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Extra hours were volunteered by staff to aid him through this crisis. Decisions were made regarding his present and future without my intervention and they were wise ones. As a result, Bob had a truly great year in terms of personal growth, probably, in my opinion, one of his best years!
CLASP has been life, not only to Bob, but to our entire family, as well. My husband, Reggie, and I are grateful for the freedom to be able to begin to let go and to trust. We are grateful, alas, for the freedom to begin to pursue our own lives and to not be as anxious. Bob loves his apartment at Weston Road.
He enjoys his independence, while feeling the security of the much needed staff close by. This past year he began a new job which has brought him renewed self-esteem. It is evidenced by his general disposition and enthusiasm. He walks to town to attend to his banking and every Saturday he can be found at the public library, where he spends the afternoon doing research.
Today, the first day of our new millennium, I view my son as a happy, healthy, kind young man. I am very pleased. I am also very pleased with the entire Organization and know that CLASP is truly the answer to our prayers. I thank you and wish you the very best in the New Year as you continue to grow and progress.
Dottie Vecchione is the mother of Bob Reilly, who lives at our Weston Road group home in Westport. Dottie and her husband Reggie live in Westport and have been very supportive members of the CLASP family for several years.
Mrs. Mary Stablein
"CLASP Homes has given Kathy the opportunity to move forward in a new and independent lifestyle similar to that of her nine other siblings."
Mrs. Caroline Freeman
"Now that our son is safe in CLASP Homes, the anxiety, frustration and fear have gone from our lives."
Mr. and Mrs. Harold Kristiansen
"Living in a CLASP group home has given our son the opportunity for growth in skills, to enjoy employment and broader social relationships."
Mrs. Shirley Russakoff
"My family has seen Jeff grow and become independent, productive, and a contributing member of his community. Thank you, CLASP."