From the Executive Director…
I took over my new role as Executive Director in April of 2017 after an extensive career in other human service roles, direct care and administration. My new role as Executive Director at OCL feels more like an avocation than a job, career, or paycheck. You see I have two children who happen to be diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I love and enjoy them and I’m proud to be their father. However, I also know what it means to be anxious my wife and I can become when trying to meet their needs. I have learned that the system of services, the professionals, and even I as a parent have limitations. It’s impossible to fix everything for my kids though I may spend every minute of my life trying to make that happen.
I am proud to be at the helm of this great agency. OCL was originally formed back in 1987 by parents and other concerned citizens who wanted better circumstances for persons with developmental disabilities. OCL is the agency in New York that pioneered personalized homes. OCL supports independence, living, working, skills, and social lives by helping each individual we serve to develop their own plan and lifestyle. This personalized approach has evolved over nearly a quarter of a century now and the agency has been recognized both nationally and internationally as an innovator in personalized supports for persons with developmental disabilities. They even wrote a book about OCL, “One Person at A Time”, available at Training Resource Network or at Amazon.com
The agency will continue its rich tradition as a personalized service innovator. OCL will provide and perfect services that are person-centered, that emphasize choice, balance wishes, wants, and needs, that are inclusive, safe, and sensitive to the concerns of families and respective of their ideas. Our staff will be attentive and timely to issues, return calls in a timely manner, and strive to create solutions and possibility within the limits of circumstance. OCL will be receptive to the individuals we serve and we will participate in regional and statewide discussions about improving the system of services that we operate in. We will strive to communicate with and accept suggestions from the individuals we serve and their families. The agency will seek to develop new services that meet unmet needs and innovate in ways that help enhance the lives of persons like your and my children (adult or young).
Family members of individuals served by OCL have already identified some strengths of OCL. They have said that the strengths of OCL are, “the staff,” “they are person centered,” “innovative,” “work with you to make the best things happen,” and “solve issues like transportation.” One family member said that “what has always been OCL is the question, ‘what do you want and need and how can we make it happen?'”
In the end, I want OCL to be the agency that individuals and families are most likely to choose for their services. I want them to choose it because OCL does the right thing, is respectful, personable, and really cares about people.