September, 2019 Newsletter
Celebrate Direct Support Professionals!
DSP Week -9/8/19 - 9/14/19

Our outstanding Direct Support Professionals are the backbone of our work here at Greater Opportunities. Across the country, DSPs make vital contributions to our communities. Through their dedication, creativity, advocacy and boundless energy, our DSPs ensure people with disabilities have the necessary supports to live, work, and enjoy life more independently in the community!
To all our staff, we say a very big thank you to everyone of you. We see and recognize the heart with which you support our individuals.

STILL ON THE MATTER- #KeepthePromise

Greater Opportunities participated in Keep the Promise Rally. Thank you to our community and engaged supporters who have organized rallies at government offices across the state. They have educated and informed our state legislators on how this funding crisis affects Californians with developmental disabilities --  their constituents !   Your efforts are influencing change . However their support structure has been grossly underfunded and is failing. Direct support staff are quitting the field or working multiple jobs due to low wages, essential programs are closing throughout the state and individuals are forced to live with inadequate support or without support at all.
We know how important it is to make our voices heard. On the national level, we recently saw the impact public outcry had when the White House reversed the Department of Education’s proposed elimination of funding for Special Olympics. Public protests can be a very effective way for citizens to change policy by influencing and informing their elected officials. Our advocacy for improved funding is aimed at protecting access to much needed services for the children, families and adults we serve. For us, the lack of funding has become a social justice issue, severely impacting the quality of life of individuals with developmental disabilities.  Your voice is helping to reverse a decade history of underfunding the needs of those with developmental disabilities.

SIGN AND SHARE THE PETITION: greateropportunities.org/petition

#Keepthepromise #ProtectOurCare #DisabilityRights #StopTheInjustice #InclusionforAll #AcceptRespectInclude #WeCare #CaliforniansWhoCare
Department Highlights:
Independent living Services
Our ILS department is proud to highlight Paula Fairchild’s success in obtaining a job! Paula now works at Amazon collecting grocery items for Amazon Prime Now orders. Amazon Prime Now is a grocery delivery service for Amazon Prime members. Based on the demand, Paula is able to pick her shifts and make her own schedule, which means she is still able to attend the GO Cortez Program’s evening classes. 
Paula loves working there! She enjoys the high energy and fast paced work environment. She’s glad she is able to move around instead of standing in one spot for the whole shift. Even her coworkers and supervisors are part of what makes the job great. 
Paula has always been job focused. Previously, Paula worked at Hometown Buffet; a job she got through GO’s day program. She started with janitorial work and eventually was promoted to line server where she worked her shift independently from the day program. She hopes to one day be able to support herself with a full time job so that she won’t have to rely on Social Security anymore. Currently, Paula is part time with Amazon but she would gladly go full time once offered and she will definitely strive to move upward on the company ladder.
Supported Living Services
In the world of supported living, and in human services at large, we’ve always been conditioned to “speak up” and be more vocal about our needs and achievements. If we don’t speak up, then our needs will never be met. If we do not advertise our accomplishments, then it will never be known. There seems to be a misconception about being “silent”, and that is, “if you don’t hear anything, it means nothing is getting done.” But nothing could be further from the truth! 
            Today, we recognize several veteran Supported Living Services Staff who had been making strides in the shadows. They have been working tirelessly to provide the most exceptional quality of care, going above and beyond the call of duty to their assigned participants for years without any complaints.
Our first group of quiet achievers are the team players; they are quick to adapt, always accept new assignments without hesitation, extremely reliable and they always step up to the plate: Edward Bellerive, Iris Calderon, and Irma Sepulveda . Collectively, they have been with our organization for 20 years! 
Secondly, we recognize our staff of extroverts who bring exuberance in our participants’ lives; Alexandra Monroy, Sara Sotelo, Editha Adamos, and Yesenia Cornejo. Collectively, they have been bringing joy and a sense of youthful exuberance to the lives of our participants for 55 years! You can always see the smiling faces of each of their participants that can light up the room!
Last but not least, this group of quiet achievers may have challenging participants but due to their unwavering loyalty and boundless patience, they continue to work tenaciously with their participants. They ensure consistent and excellent care are always provided. As a group; Alan Adamos, Filomena Goncalves, Laisiana & Isaac Drauna, Miriam Lazaro, Yolanda Vivanco, Yoli Ornelas-Mercado and Virgil Ripp have collectively worked with our organization for an astounding amount of 103 years! 
The work of an SLS Staff (caregiver) can be tiring, stressful, unrecognized, and often feel thankless. This group of amazing individuals has mastered the art of collaboration with their participant, they problem solve every challenge that comes their way, and all without making a fuss! Some participants may not be able to understand the hard work that goes into caring for them and therefore, may not be able to properly thank their staff. It’s important that those who know our SLS Staff; whether they be relatives, coworkers, or friends, take the time to let them know that they are valued. This is a note for all caregivers across the world to know that there are many people that appreciate what they do and respect their selflessness! 
Day Support Services
Kudos to Will, one of our staff at the day center and Jonathan.
Will's high energy, positive attitude and a can-do attitude spreads throughout the
program. He has been with us for 6 short months and in that time has engaged
his group in a variety of activities. He always makes sure that his group gets to
experience new things while in the community. Going to different museums in
San Jose, golfing and exploring things on the Internet are just a few things Will
does with his group. He even went to the San Jose Animal Shelter to find
volunteering options and now his group goes 2 times a week to make litter
boxes.
Keep up the energy Will, its contagious!

Jonathan Anderson
Jonathan has been with GO for over 17 years and brings great joy to the day
program. He has been featured on our Facebook page singing a couple hits from
the Beatles, “Let It Be”, “Michelle” and “Yesterday”. Jonathan has a great voice,
a happy demeanor and is super friendly. Jonathan loves music and playing the
piano. Even though Jonathan is legally blind nothing stops him from trying new
things. He volunteers with Will at the San Jose Animal Shelter, making litter
boxes and enjoys going to the Tech museum and the Museum of Contemporary
Art.
Congratulations
To the following participants have paid job; we are really proud of you for what you do and the joy/meaning you find in your hard work .

New addition
  • Amazon: Brittney H, Eric B, Paula F,

  • The Cheesecake Factory: Elvia, Samuel, KC, Beverly, Kiana, Celina
  • BJ's: Eric B, Quyhn, Philip, Heather, Tam
  • PetSmart: Jacob
Volunteering .
Our individuals find joy spending their time volunteering and learning the value with a sense of fulfillment at the following place s;

  • Roosevelt Community Center: Clean exercise equipment, help in the senior lunch program by cleaning off lunch plates
  • Family Shelter: Cleaning the tables, keeping the room clean
  • Alum Rock Park: Keeping the picnic area clean, raking leaves
  • Meals on Wheels Warehouse: Sorting variety of produce
  • Meals on Wheels: Delivering Meals to seniors

Here are Rosie, Chris, Jeanene and Julio volunteering at the San Jose Animal Shelter putting together litter boxes.
Upcoming Events

  • Meet and greet - Sept 18th
Greater Opportunities invites you to an evening of conversations with coffee and light refreshment. More importantly to get an opportunity to know our programs and put names to the face of our management team.

Please RSVP by phone or email @ 408-248-4464 || rbekele@greateropp.org

See flyer for more information.
  • Halloween Party - October 31st
  • Giving Tuesday - December 3rd
  • Holiday Party- December 6th
RECAP from
 Greater Opportunities
yearly BBQ
July 12th

Amazon Smile
Use this link every time you shop for holiday gifts and all other purchases and Amazon donates to Greater Opportunities every time, all year long.
Be a part of the change and learn more by reaching out.
Thank you for your support!
For further information please feel free to contact our main office
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