DDS Satisfaction Survey: In an effort to enhance communication with all personnel in the H/C, S/W and South Valley Area Offices of the Department of Developmental Services, we will be sending monthly updates electronically to all representatives.



Positive Cases: We have closed our Agawam site for the week between Monday, April 25, 2022, thru Friday, April 29, 2022 – and we plan on reopening it after a nine-day closing – on May 2m, 2022. The 9-day closing exceeds the CDC recommended quarantine time of 5 days by 4 days. Our total positive cases since March 17, 2020, is 142 (84 clients and 58 employees.) 



 We have had three snow days so far in the Fiscal Year 2022 – and hopefully no more snow!


We have submitted an application to Commonwealth Corporation to receive funding for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s train now program – which will provide $4,000 for each new hire – while funding lasts.


We distributed our third round of $400 Retention Bonus checks (from ARPA funding) to all employees in mid-April and continue to work on compensation and benefits to retain our employee base. 




Internal Inspections: We have updated all of our internal inspection forms – including our Quality Assessment Inspection – which is completed quarterly at each site by our Program Specialist – focusing on areas including Human Rights / PBS, Personal Safety, Workforce Competency, and Technology. We also updated our Quarterly Safety Inspection, Annual Inspection, and Accessibility Inspection – all of which are completed regularly for all sites by our Safety Officers.




Recruitment: I am happy to report that we have successfully recruited and hired a local financial professional for our position of Chief Financial Officer. He will bring a wealth of experience with financial planning, budgeting, banking, auditing, and property management. His first day will be on May 2, 2022. 


We have ramped up our recruitment efforts in anticipation of welcoming more clients back into our programs. We have hired and lost employees. We have 14 open positions throughout all of our sites. This number fluctuates weekly – sometimes daily.    


Job Fair: Our participation at the STCC Job Fair on March 30th was less than successful, however, we are looking forward to participating in the MassHire Job Fair at the Basketball Hall of Fame on May 16, 2022.   


Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey: Our satisfaction levels from the 2022 survey were extremely high – which was noted at the April Board of Directors meeting. Overall satisfaction was 85% and overall dissatisfaction was 5%. These numbers impacted dissatisfaction in four areas: PTO, Wage, Benefits, and Schedule. I followed up by tallying all results by communicating the outcomes of the survey will all employees at the April All Staff Meeting. We are assessing the workload to ensure that the new 35-hour workweek is not impacting organizational or programmatic processes. I will next visit each site and convene focus groups to discuss ideas for client activities and enhancing outdoor space. 




Community IntegrationWe have renewed our memberships with the Scantic Valley YMCA in Wilbraham, the Springfield YMCA, the Ludlow Boys and Girls Club – all of which offer exercise and recreational facilities as well as a pool – and the Monson Community Garden.


Bringing the Community to Us: We have partnered with Gilbert the Pig and Out of the Ark – to bring animals into our day habilitation programs. We continue to search for outperformance artists and other health care professionals who would like to share their talents with our clients.




April is Autism Awareness Month: Our extensive list of activities to celebrate April was successfully implemented. Events were kicked off with “flag raisings” with the City of Chicopee, Town of Agawam, and Town of Palmer – and in addition to flags at Sunshine Village’s own sites in Chicopee and Agawam - a fourth flag was raised at the Three Rivers Fire Department.


We kicked off our “Fire Hydrant Project” this month, with six hydrants located near the center of Chicopee being painted by SSV artists. The creative and eye-catching designs will surely bring a burst of brightness to the city streets!


We will be supporting the Chicopee Police Department’s Autism Outreach Seminar and at the end of the month, we will be sponsoring the 31st Annual Autism Connections Autism Conference. 


Each programmatic site visited with their local responders – and thanked our police officers and firefighters with handmade gifts. Westover Maintenance Systems presented our friends at Westover Air Reserve Base with autism-inspired gifts.


Our social media accounts have been brimming with photos of smiling faces – and togetherness. 


THANK YOU for all you do to help Sunshine Village – we continue to be HOPEFUL as we move forward together! 



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