The fiscal year ended, the audit was completed, and we are stronger than ever before. In our momentum of growth, we have made sure to continue protecting the resources entrusted to us and providing for the people that matter most. We are blessed every day to have friends and family like you who believe in our mission, program, and people. This month, we have a lot to look forward to and people to celebrate!
As you can tell by the magnet enclosed with this update, we are preparing for our Third Annual Champion Fashion Show. This event continues to amaze us every year, and we love being able to celebrate and share with the community all of our individual's hard work. We believe that this event provides our participants with much-needed recognition. Every day they work hard, and we are so grateful to share their amazing experiences with San Antonio. This year's luncheon will take place on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at the San Antonio Country Club. The format will be similar to past years, but we will have a few unique additions to throw your way. Our individuals will be more involved in this event than ever before; trust us, you won't want to miss it! As we move forward, we will be sending out updates letting you know who our RMI Champion and our Community Champion recipients will be. If you are interested in contributing your time, money, or donations for the event, please contact Wendy Williams, Development Director at 210-508-8429.
We have some bittersweet news to share with everyone. Our fantastic, brilliant, kind, and talented H.R. Director, Ruth Webb, will be leaving RMI after 17 incredible years of service. Ruth has been an asset and a staple to RMI, she will be deeply missed. Ruth is excited about her next life adventure, which entails spending time with her son and finishing school. Her adventure is just beginning. Thankfully, Ms. Webb will not leave us without training and supporting our new H.R. Director, who also happens to be named...Ruth! After a long and exhausting interview process, Ms. Ruth Liggan (for this update, we will call her "L"), who is currently working as our HCS Case Manager. "L" has been with RMI for over ten years and has worked as our Administrative Assistant, Direct Care Staff, and HCS Case Manager. Saying she understands our program would be an understatement. "L" comes to the table with experience, fresh ideas, and a real passion for our program. We are excited to watch her continued success!
He has been called "The Face of RMI," and anyone who has ever been to an LEP event or RMI function knows just who I am talking about. Troy Jackson has been a participant at RMI for almost 15 years, and he has grown up so much since then. When Troy learned that we're opening our Supported Employment program, he was one of the first to jump up and say, "I want a job." We got Troy on-boarded with our S.E. Department and they worked tirelessly to help him understand the skills needed for employment. After training with the team, he became gainfully employed as a custodian at Ft. Sam Houston. Troy has remained employed for the past three years. When we were nominating participants to receive the ARC Achiever of the Year Award, everyone quickly agreed that Troy is THE guy for the job. On October 9, our staff, participants, friends, and family will join together to celebrate Troy and his inspiring efforts towards gaining independence.
Our annual Stuff the Bus campaign is already underway, and we are supporting more of our DCS children than ever before. In case you didn’t know, each year we do a Stuff the Bus drive to help support the individuals that are the backbone of our organization, our Direct Care Staff. After lots of hard work, we have successfully stuffed 49 backpacks to make sure these kids have the confidence they need to start the year off right!
As our program continues to grow and flourish (we now serve 219 individuals daily), so does our staff. Since our last update, we have added four new staff to our program. Three of these individuals work directly with our clients every day. Ms. Angela Wilson is one of our new Residential Managers; she comes to RMI with experience and a big heart! Next, we brought in Louise Tovar as another new Residential Manager. Both of these women have already begun making a massive difference in our program. Tiffany Branson has been working in this field for a very long time, and she has held several different roles, from house manager to medical coordinator. She joined the RMI team as our new Medical Appointment Coordinator. Lastly, Ms. Kylie Jones is the latest addition to the Development Department. She manages all of our social media accounts and is in charge of all of our participant and staff events.
We are officially at 10 group homes! We now have 7 ICF homes and 3 HCS homes, meaning our residential program currently serves 53 individuals. Our most recent addition is an HCS home, New World. The men at New World all come from unique experiences and different backgrounds, and they are learning a lot from one another and about the community around them. For most of these men, it is truly a New World as they are on their own for the first time. We are excited to watch them develop and grow along with us!
For the past three years, we have been in growth mode. Growing our homes, people, and programs. We have seen our hard work pay off and recognize that more and more people know about RMI and the great work we do. To keep up with our changes, we realized it was time for an image makeover. Our new logo, the “dynamic rainbow wave,” adds a more adult look to our program and a modern touch that we were lacking. Eventually, the traditional rainbow and house logo will go away, and the rainbow wave will be in its place. We are excited about this new and exciting change!
Our participants have packed their bags, made their beds, and added pictures to the walls. Two of our new group homes, Puma Pass and Stormy Skies, are now full of smiling happy faces!
In our last update, we shared that we were in the process of opening 2 new group homes, bringing our total number of homes up to 10! In the past two months, we have successfully passed 2 Life Safety Inspections (it’s a 1 and 40 chance for a home to pass on the first try and we did it TWICE...talk about finding Big Foot!), 2 Health Survey’s, and moved in 12 participants! It may sound easy, but to be completely honest, this process is absurdly complicated! Each house came with its own set of complications; sidewalks needed to be poured, lights had to be added, sprinkler systems installed, water heaters replaced, and more! The girls have moved into their new home; they have their own bedroom which allows for more privacy and (you guessed it!) INDEPENDENCE! Several of the men at Stormy Skies are living on their own for the first time, and we are excited to watch them grow and accomplish all of their goals and dreams. By adding these homes, we are providing more beds to the constant need for placement in San Antonio. We are providing our participants more than a place to lay their head at night. We are providing support, family, career placement options, and more so that they know independence is truly within reach. After two long months of renovations, adjustments, and ADA requirements, we have crossed the FINISH LINE! We have our incredible team to thank, for they realize that it takes a constellation of shining stars to accomplish big goals, and for that, we are truly blessed!
If you would like to schedule a tour of one of our new homes, please contact, Wendy Williams,Development Director at 210-656-6674 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Believe it or not, planning for our 2020 Champion Fashion Show is already underway! After the success of this past year’s luncheon, we were excited to get started. In the past two years, we have seen significant growth in our fundraising efforts, and our annual event has allowed us to climb and grow. The 2020 Champion Fashion Show will be at the San Antonio Country Club on Thursday, April 16, 2020! The goal of our 3rd event is to raise approximately 5% of our annual budget plus to have the participants involved even more than they have been in the past. While we are hard at work planning, coordinating, and fundraising, our participants, are practically campaigning to be selected as either a model or next year’s RMI Champion Award Recipient. This event has not only provided us with financial stability, but it has provided our participants with a goal to reach for every year!
The office is covered in “feel goods,” pictures, pandas, awards all a reflection of the brilliant and kind mind that sits behind the desk. She is busy and not just kind of busy but busy, yet she still took the time out of her day to meet with us. She greeted us with a smile and a laugh and willingly opened her door and heart to us for longer than she probably had time to do, but that’s just the kind of person she is. Of course we are talking about our Director of Clinical Services, Ms. Terri Maurer. Terri is so unique to this field and to our program in that we had to share a little bit about her.
Terri has been in this field since the beginning of her career, she is the shining example of a self-made (wo)man. When Terri started college to study psychology she had a job at Little Caesar’s but she had the forethought to find a job that was closer to her field of study. As she says, “I thought to myself, I’m going to be working with people I want to see if this is really what I want to do for a living,” so she answered an ad that was looking for staff to assist people with disabilities. Working tireless nights while taking classes during the day, Terri gave her all and her efforts paid off when she was promoted to house manager. She had found her fit, her “calling” and she knew working for people with disabilities would be her future. Never settling Terri knew she had to finish her degree to continue moving ahead in the field. She completed school and earned her degree in 8 years all while starting a family and working endless hours for the people she loves. Terri worked her way up; she climbed the ladder to being a QIDP and was so skilled at her work that she was again promoted to Program Director.
Her staff is her biggest fan, our clients adore her, and she is a mentor and source of sanity to anyone in need. Working at RMI has been one of the best things about her career, “I love working for a small company. When people call to inquire about services they typically speak with upper management first, which is really rare in any field.” During our conversation Terri kept telling us that she was lucky because she loved her job and that coming to work truly brings her joy. “Our clients bring a fresh perspective. They value and love all of the things that we take for granted every day, they are always excited about something.” Terri is the one of the best (in our opinion she is the best) in her position because of her tireless work making sure our participants and their families are comfortable, happy, and receiving the care that they deserve. As one of her staff members said, “Terri is very understanding, she knows the job, and she knows how to delegate. All questions or problems are followed with positive reinforcement and she always asks, “How can I make things better for you.” There isn’t anyone I would rather work for.” Terri keeps RMI together and running smoothly all with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. She is evidence of hard work paying off and a role model to anyone just starting in the field.
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. ” – Debbi Fields
These past few months have been WILD here at RMI. We have closed the book on some programs, made room for new and improved homes, and celebrated the successes of our wonderful individuals. The growing pains are almost over and the results are truly starting to show. Take a look at what all we’ve been up to!
On March 8, 2019, our staff, participants, family, and friends all gathered together at Morgan’s Wonderland to celebrate our participant's valiant efforts towards community integration and independence. The event highlighted 24 of our participants and their recent success and accomplishments. We celebrated individuals who have found employment in the community, individuals who are living on their own for the first time, and individuals that serve as role models to their peers. Each year we select a community sponsor and an RMI participant to honor for their generosity and triumphs. This year we were blessed to have the Valero Energy Foundation accept our J. Bradley and Connie Aust Champion Award. Valero has been a driving force behind our growth and expansion. From day one at our Brook Hollow home, Valero stepped in and provided us with the support needed to get the house “over the finish line.” …..In addition to sponsorship for our event, they have helped us with handrails, restrooms, lighting, furniture, supported employment, and vehicle replacement. The RMI Community Champion was Mr. John Davison, he has been a participant with Reaching Maximum Independence since September of 2001. John is the kind of guy that everyone (participant or not) aspires to be. He has held a steady job at H-E-B for 15 years and loves every minute of it. John was humble and kind when he accepted his award, and it was indeed a gift to be able to celebrate his accomplishments.
For the past two years we have been in “growth mode,” and this year has been no different. As many of you know, last year we added two new group homes to our program, our ICF Brook Hollow Home and our HCS Helotes home. This year we have already added two more group homes to our program, Stormy Skies, and Puma Pass...this brings our total number of homes up to 10. Puma Pass was almost a perfect home when we made our initial purchase in January of this year. In a few short weeks, we will be relocating the wonderful ladies of our New World group home to Puma Pass. This home is a perfect fit for these ladies because they not only each have their own bedroom but because it is centrally located allowing them to be more involved in community activities. In the past two months (a testament to our staff’s hard work and dedication) we have added new sidewalks, ramps, and handrails outside to make the home ADA compliant. We renovated the bathroom so that it would meet the needed requirements to pass both state and life safety inspections. The sprinkler system needed to be updated with new heads and insulation, the blinds and doorknobs needed to be replaced, lighting had to be added, and electrical work needed to be done. We are thrilled to have these ladies move into their new home so that they can continue towards independence.