Dear Fellow Staff—

And then there were two. Yes, we are down to two outbreak homes, and hopefully one more will come off this week. This is the fewest we have had in a long time and it is due to a variety of factors.

First, staff have been diligent in following our “Safe In All Settings” protocols. According to our Compliance department, who regularly monitor our houses, staff and individuals are wearing their masks and following cleaning procedures.

Second, our superstar Human Resources department has done a phenomenal job at getting our individuals and staff vaccinated. At last count, we have all but three of our individuals with their first shots (those three are still considering), and hundreds of staff.

Additionally, we have a second-shot clinic this week at our Career Development Center for over 125 staff and individuals. NCIA is in the forefront again at taking care both of the people we serve and our staff!  Thanks to the leadership of our Chief Operating Officer, we are now getting through this pandemic on a much more managed and operational basis rather than in a crisis mode. With this progress, we are perhaps looking at a more normal summer! Keep it up!

Speaking of operations, last week I highlighted our Business Services team and their efforts in maintaining our snow contracts. One of the other unsung heroes within NCIA is our Facilities department. Led by Rick Fleischmann, they have been responsible for keeping our building and homes safe. The entire team has been reporting for duty since day one of the pandemic. They are out salting and clearing sidewalks and driveways early morning and in the middle of night for our residential properties, as well as keeping our main office open. This is in addition to their other tasks, as they are the “go-to” team for virtually any task that comes up, from delivering food and supplies to our houses to getting necessary PPE gear to our programs.  They have been flexible and have been able to pivot to accommodate any needs that arise.  This is a true example of being part of the NCIA team.  So next time you see Rick, Clarence Brunt, Michael Bond or Dave Nowlin make sure and say a big “Thank You”.

Another unsung (and sometimes unseen) person who keeps NCIA going is Doug Turnbaugh, who makes sure our homes and buildings are kept in the best possible condition. Doug is the key person for all of NCIA renovation projects.  In fact, thanks primarily to his efforts, NCIA was just awarded a $75,000 grant to add upgrades to over five of our homes. Another team player, Doug jumps in to assist the Facilities team with any needs from sourcing PPE to planning NCIA’s Residential Emergency Plan at the Career Development Center. Doug is a real added value to NCIA

Our programs continue to change lives. A couple of highlights from this week illustrate the dedication and commitment of NCIA staff.

The first example is from our Youth In Transition School. We had a student who had previously left our school but he and his mother decided to return to YIT for his senior year to finish his education with us. He was an incredible athlete, and took advantage of the opportunity to play football for his local high school. He was recruited by Frostburg College in Western Maryland and offered a scholarship.  But there was a barrier—his GPA was not high enough because of his previous year’s studies. Undeterred, our YIT administrators, teachers and academic coaches met and put together extra credit projects which the student agreed to complete over the next couple of months so he could qualify. His coaches and mom were pleased with our extra efforts and our academic coaches and teachers check in on him weekly. We wish him the best and I will keep you updated!

Our second example is from our Adult Residential Services. As reported previously, a number of months ago we opened a Behavioral Support Services house to meet the needs of individuals who require intensive therapeutic intervention during a crisis time in their life. Our first resident stayed about four weeks, and our specially trained staff stabilized her and she was able to return to her community agency.

Our second resident came to us from a locked psychiatric hospital, and has been with us for about six weeks. Once again, our staff was able to stabilize him and he will actually be placed in NCIA’s residential program in the next couple of weeks.  Congratulations to the BSS team and our entire Adult Residential Services staff.

I saw a saying this week that characterizes our NCIA mission:

“Each day remember your purpose. Remember your “why”. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. Plant yourself like a seed, make a difference where you are, and your impact and influence will grow.”

Thanks for your ongoing commitment, stay safe and continue to follow our safety protocols. We are making it happen!