Adelante’s day programs and residential services in Albuquerque shifted leaders this month, as a retirement happened and rising leaders are taking on new roles. At Adelante we like to remember that as one door closes, another opens and that is especially true right now.
Long-time Leader of Day Programs Retires
Sharon Coleman, leader of Adelante’s day programs, retired after more than 20 years with our organization. Sharon has been an Associate VP for several years. She began as a physical therapist and has led not only our day programs. She was also instrumental in shifting gears and maintaining quality during the pandemic. In March 2020, as our day programs were closed by public health orders, she was among the key leaders who helped shift the staff and client support entirely to our Community Living homes. Sharon will be truly missed.
Rising Leaders are Taking Charge of Day & Residential Programs
There is a happy flipside to this situation. Adelante has promoted other emerging leaders into new positions as a result.
Robin Carter, an Adelante manager that has led our Pathways team and worked for us for over 20 years, is now the Director of Community and Senior Living. Robin is highly respected in the disability field. Not to mention, a trusted face by our families and clients. Furthermore, Robin has won awards within Adelante and in the community for her work. In her new role, Robin will supervise all of Adelante’s day programs in Albuquerque and Valencia County. She will also supervise our Senior Assisted Living homes.
Yumi Salgado has been Robin’s assistant for several years. She has been recognized with several awards at Adelante for her work, winning Employee of the Quarter and Making a Difference awards. She is also well known to our families and teams as the leader of our virtual day programs. Yumi is being promoted to Program Manager. She will continue to support those remote learning classes, and when the State of New Mexico opens up other day programs, she will supervise those in-person efforts, as well. Adelante has seen Yumi grow and continue to take on new opportunities to support clients over the years. We are happy to have an experienced, caring, and creative person lead our day programs.
Both of these women have proven themselves and we are happy to recognize them as some of our rising leaders. The future is bright with good folks like this.
Rising to the Challenge – Emerging from the Pandemic
Of course, all of these changes are not taking place within a vacuum. The country is emerging from the pandemic and that has also had a huge impact. Changes are happening across disability services in our community.
In March 2020, the New Mexico Department of Health issued public health orders that closed day habilitation programs for people with disabilities across the state. Over the course of several months, when it became clear this would go well beyond a few weeks of flattening the curve, Adelante adapted.
Adelante began offering remote learning opportunities for existing and new clients. Day programs were held on Zoom. Computers became our connection for everything from dancing and singing, to learning new tasks. Even dog training happened over that virtual connection. Those classes are continuing today, as more and more of the community is emerging from the pandemic.
The State of New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Division allowed providers to start in-person services again in early July 2021. Adelante’s team had been anticipating and planning for re-opening. We have been able to allow some clients back and look forward to more and more clients returning. The first week, there were lots of smiling faces in our day programs. Clients and staff included.
We do understand that many people prefer to continue to learn remotely. That happens for a variety of reasons. Our online/virtual day programs will continue.
Support Our Efforts – Staffing Up & Patience
Our first priority is the safety of people with disabilities and seniors. They have been among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Though we would enjoy getting to see everyone again there is a system-wide shortage of employees. Not to mention lower than hoped for vaccine levels across New Mexico.
Adelante will be staffing back up again as quickly as we can find good quality people and get them trained. To that end, we are offering a $1000 hiring bonus right now to find caring and capable staff members. (If you know of good people who are ready to return to work, send them our way! View or share our current job openings.) We are also working on space planning for existing sites. The goal is to make sure we can get the right mix of people and open space to support people safely. Finally, we are working on what we call Adelante Adventures, which are smaller groups that will be almost entirely in the community focused on their interests. Pilot projects have started for sports and the arts are coming soon. Watch for more on that in the coming months.
This news is being shared so that our clients as well as their families, guardians, case managers, and therapists understand the changes happening. If you have questions or would like more information, please email us at ExplorePrograms@GoAdelante.org.
Thank you for your support. Please join us in congratulating our rising leaders, Robin and Yumi. Let’s work together to rise from the pandemic in a great way for our clients.