June 21, 2020

Dear Fellow Staff:

Wow — what a crazy week!

The week began with a quiet celebration of NCIA’s 43rd Anniversary. It was then highlighted by a number of extremely positive program issues, including the beginning of two new cohorts in our HJH Vocational Training Centers, drive-by graduation ceremonies for our nine YIT School graduates in four of the counties we serve, and a safe, social distancing birthday party for one of our Adult Residential clients. It concluded with a celebration of Juneteenth, and an acknowledgement of the racial injustice that has plagued our criminal justice system and our society for generations. Combined with the COVID-19 pandemic we have been undergoing for the past 14 weeks, at times it seems overwhelming.

It is at times like these when we need to turn inward and realize the value of family — both your nuclear family and your NCIA family.

Over the past four decades I have attempted to instill a family culture at NCIA, both for our staff and for the individuals we serve. Our core values of unconditional care and treating everyone as an individual apply to both populations. During times like these, those values can be challenged but we must continue to be resilient. When one looks at what makes a strong family, it comes down to compassion, trust, communication, honesty, commitment and teamwork. No one is in this alone, and it takes effort to make it work in the best of times. So we must continue to practice these traits together.

On a program front, our safety efforts are paying off. Of our entire work force, we currently have only two staff who tested positive that are not presently working. This is absolutely amazing in an organization of 500 employees in our industry. And we have just two residents in isolation at this time. So please keep wearing your masks, gloves and other PPE equipment and continue to practice social distancing — it is really working!

Our YIT school staff are on a much deserved two week break. They put together an amazing effort to conduct distance learning over the past three months and are now planning on what can be implemented for our summer school session beginning July 6th. They have also been extremely helpful in assisting our Career Development Center staff with distance learning for individuals that do not reside with NCIA. The teamwork in our Adult programs has been inspirational. On both the administrative and program level, they have worked diligently to keep our clients occupied and nurtured. Our Direct Care Workers have been diligent in covering their shifts and client incidents are minimal. NCIA is slowing returning to limited community activities which are communicated on our website under the “Safe in all Settings” section. NCIA is starting to conduct in-person training on a limited basis beginning next week.

Our Business Services Division has continued to employ as many clients as they can and are getting great reviews for the COVID-19 cleaning services they perform for the buildings they maintain. Contracts that closed during the State shut down are now reopening.

As we enter our 44th year of service, I want to thank each and every employee for their efforts in helping to make NCIA what it is — a quality organization with an exceptional commitment to all we serve.

I also want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all of us fathers! It is non-traditional — no cook outs, crab feasts, big hugs and limited family gatherings. But every day we have with our families is a blessing, and we need to take advantage no matter the circumstances.

With continued gratitude,

Herb Hoelter, CEO