ISSUES 2017 05/21/17

Steve McIntosh
Sunday, May 21st

Jamie Opat, Director of Communications, discusses Starkey and its more than 500 clients with intelectual disabilities


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is if you funny 79 Steve Macintosh and our guest is Jamie oh pat. Director of communications for starchy welcome to issues Tony 17 and good morning nice to have you witnesses today let's set. Let's begin with the basics okay. Okay what is start. His base. I love that question. Star ski. Serves people with intellectual disabilities than at this point we provide programs for more than 500 people in such count me. Who tell us about that the beginnings short you know you know. Well it's been around audience or start he has been around since 1930. If you can believe it in our community. It was formed to founded by having stark issue was a public schoolteacher and of course you can imagine in 1930. There were not programs for people with disabilities and so a lot of students stayed at home. With families and of course as parents heard about my sister Q school. Day. The floated to her home based school. And in the 1950s a school building was built of course in the 1970s. Public schools took over that role. And at that point circuit became more focused on adult programs and services that it was a year and the original. Interestingly enough eyes still work in an office that's in the original school it's over an end street a lot of people who have been in Wichita for a lifetime remember this Turkey school on young street loses stated that the new building there. Well you know the new building was built in the ninety's yeah that's our newest building. There by countless query it is guest list west which atop the original school building was turned into offices and programs states. He start he financed. It's Turkey receives. The majority of its funding through. Public. Funds so Medicaid spending comes from the federal government through the stage it's administered through the county where an affiliate of the such canning. Developmental disability organization and so most people. Emirates Turkey for services have Medicaid funding. That helps defray the costs of course we also do fund raising we write grants. We have some. Private pay opportunities for people pay for room and board in transportation services. Now how big answer your operation team I mean how many people actually work. Forestar. You know at this point Q&A prison riot right we serve more than 500 that at this point we have about 370. Employees. We started. Providing information Ford though which top business journal's top employers list. And the past several years we've ranked in about 3035. Largest employer in Wichita also does surprise people to learn. Just how big our operations more and you angeles' that a woman issuance and again how many people are you serving at a given time. We have. It's just over 500. Is it's the same number of alone has been stable he is it doesn't whopper is gone up I have Bennett's Turkey for twenty years now. And so when I started. In 1997 we served about. 200 a little over 200 people see you can imagine that growth. In twenty years. And when I say that we serve that many people. It's its various programs so for instance we have 42 homes throughout the Wichita community we have two apartment complexes. And that particular program serves more than 200 people. We also have. 300 people we have case management. Four children and adults so I mean it's just a variety and different services. But the total number is more than 500 and it grows. Every year. So it took. A little bit about specifics on that that where did you were here plants come political history. Clients is fine and for you know that they are all residents of Sedgwick county now we do have people in here who are looking for services. The very first step in that process of course essentially county there indeed. Agency that we're an affiliate of and so they determine eligibility. Determine funding help people find services. And their other providers besides Turkey that you can choose. Who do you want for which service force Turkey could provide them all. And so we are seeing. People growing up through the school system graduating and then meeting adult services so that really is our pipeline. You might. Talk to families whose cancer reigned as perhaps heart spring. They're in a public school which to public school and they graduate and so they are searching and trying to determine what the next step dance and for a lot of families status Turkey. Jamie what kind of disability so we're talking about it. It is a wide variety. I have learned that intellectual disabilities. And developmental disability encompasses a lot so. Some people have a diagnosis of autism others have an undefined. Developmental disability all of these. Presented themselves before the age of eighteen and so in those cases this is something that people. Were born when it. I would say that autism. We hear the one in 681. Out of every sixty children is born with lots of them. Somewhere on the spectrum and we are seeing more and more people who have gotten some as a diagnosis that that is. That is not all certainly we have people who have a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Who have co occurring. Mental illness as well as the developmental disability. So it's it's just really wide for Haiti to. Aniston in an age what age you entity. We serve people well yes we serve people who are eighteen and older. In the majority of our programs case management would be the exception that's the only program at this point for children. How does a person of life for you programs and services they actually go first. To the Sedgwick county developmental disability organization. And they will help determine eligibility determine what services and supports our per pre it and then. I arrange for tourists have different organizations likes Turkey and that's. In some cases families first chance to see who we are and what we can provided. Now tell us about those homes and apartment complexes at start operates. I wish I can't. Illustrate this on the radio. It just are my words and I don't know if I'll do it justice but we have. 42 homes to apartment complexes and for me I really enjoy watching people have the opportunity to live independently. On some of the homes or 24 hour care and support and overnight staffing. Other places like the apartments you just have trainers to check in with people who live there a couple of times a week T need help grocery shopping cooking paying bills taking medications that sort of thing so really. Really depends on the needs and what each person needs in the way of support. I love to interview families and they tell me stories. For instance I remember 65 year old woman who have lived with her parents. Who were in their eighties and moved out for the first time at age 65 inter an apartment. And her parents that we're finally. Looking like honeymooners. So they had waited. You know that long to watch their daughter live independently and we're there to provide that for people. Lou brings up an interesting point about. If somebody is it has disabilities and their parents die they're kind of left. And various branded sort or thing. Well yeah if they. In many cases they have siblings or family members who are involved but. We showed a photo from her and just Turkey's goal in 1954. And three of the kids and a photo we still serve today. And so that gives you a sense that we are there for a lifetime and for those kids their family members have passed away and sister Pete is a family. I'm for the people that we support. Now that he is covered this moment ago but does that someone from star key monitors these residences for problems of my horizon and general upkeep of the apartments right. But that's true in the apartment situation it is and checking in an kind of supporting them whatever they need in the homes. The 42 homes that is on site staff who stayed there are there overnight. And in some cases we have people with physical disabilities require a lot of care. So you can see very quickly where the 370. Staff that we were pulling come for that. The center of so he has not only independent living but also employment. That's ridiculous about the importance of having job very freer it's it's so he in their lives and that takes such pride as we all do in our employment in the sense of purpose and earning a paycheck. We have a variety of opportunities that's Turkey we haven't on the site program. Where people do contract work they do small parts assembly packaging boxing. And do that for local businesses that contract with us for those services. They can also go out on a mobile crew I remember. One and mobile crew that went to a local it was the steffens dairy and for two weeks they worked on every stamping and date on some butter so you just never know what kind of job that we might have. Going for us that we also people who work in the community we have people employed at kernels that tallies that Dylan's at Walgreens. Just a variety of employers some who've been there twenty years I'm more familiar question where you get it. He shares of your employers with his hands yeah employers yeah up. Dana smaller employees three. Have our individuals. We also have all of garden we have Johnson Controls has a man who's been there for twenty plus years wal mart's. Wesley medical center I mean the list goes on is really incredible the local employers these employers tell you at the workers. Well in most cases. Your Lowell are gonna work shirt and they don't sometimes it's not a good fit and we pursued different kind of job that in most cases. And I heard this just yesterday from Dylan's they said. He's the best worker I mean he shows up he's consistent he works hard during a shift he takes such pride in his job. And we. Shot of the day you don't even more seriously than the rest of us who they do. They do they are there this is their dealers as a whole thing and they're grateful. For that job and they don't take it for granted I mean attendance. And it's perfect for these workers and it's neat to see how they've become part of the team. At that particular place of employment and so they celebrate anniversaries and their co workers really embrace them. You're listening to issues Tony seventeen on the Entercom radio stations that I guess is Jamie go past director of communications for starting. Now if someone in business out there might be interest and an employee union people from sorry he what should they do are you looking for new players free. Are we are always looking for new employers it's hard sometimes to get up at the door and ticket. The consideration. Of one of our individuals it's Turkey but the easiest way I would say is to canister he got to work. Our website and there is contact information there. We have job coaches thoughts with a lot of employers don't know we don't just drop somebody on the doorstep and say here's union employee. We have job coaches that are there to actually be onsite at the job teach them the job and then also monitor that everything is going well. Let's talk about some here are the programs and tell me about. A stark he's like enrichment and Kate. It's absolutely life enrichment is for people who. Either employment is not a good fit or perhaps they want to retire. But I will tell you that is not a program where people sit and our leisurely everything. They actually give back to the communities they clean parks. They make dog biscuits for the Kansas humane society. In make items from local preschools they are active in our community in fact they have given the 101000 volunteer hours in year. Back to the community is that he life enrichment program that's the life enrichment and actually they're they're doing volunteer work they aren't they are they deliver meals on wheels every day of the week. You know at part of that is community inclusion and exposure and in our community for people who have disabilities that. Once that happens and they get to know. And the citizens of our community it's it's just a natural fit now at gateway also. Does volunteer work being gay is a specialized program for people with behavioral health issues in addition to intellectual disabilities that that is scary staff intensive typically one to one. As people growth through that program perhaps development anger management skills are social skills. They can graduate they can go on to employment and other programs that we have definitely seen a. You know one of the things it is is very much on people's minds right now is health care. Your clients would make me get sick. Who pays for that to is that part of Medicaid then. It it is and we do have people who also qualify for Medicare. Greece met clinic is a great resource and our community for the people that we serve its Turkey. And we also employee and nurses on site. That's Turkey who can hold. With medication administration. Win of diagnosing various. Daily ailments that come along. And also Amkor by the kind of support that we need enough homes for people who use feeding tubes who may have other considerations. And need that kind of expertise. So what are other services and programs this story he provides it. Well you know in addition to I'm the day programs in the residential programs that I mentioned. We have health services we also provide transportation. It is so important and vital to get people where they need to go. And the city does not necessarily provide. Specialized transportation for people who have severe disabilities you know Andrea you know we've seen to start declines waiting at the bus stop every not yet in that is didn't do do take public transit but it's true I understand you quota busters yourself. We do that we can we do have many many vehicles and and buses and wheelchair accessible on buses that take. People tune from their jobs to and from there per grams and there are and the places where they live. Into how about the service and upkeep though those Eagles are big problems sounds like you you get that fleet manager is something we'd do we have an. We have two mechanics to full time mechanics and they maintain over a hundred vehicles it's really incredible there's about buses and Kansan and also Carter's them for health services. And there are constantly busy and rate now they do that in our former gymnasium built in the 1960s. That is now our vehicle maintenance building. That is denser here is quite an electronic recycling program. That sounds like that has been very popular if you have computers in your basement. If you have old cell phones keyboards. Come hard drive suite can take most anything we cannot take your televisions and Sosa Barry. People are always wanting to bring us TVs. But it's been a great way for the community to stop fire main building to get to know some of the people that we served. And all you have to do come to 4500 west maple during the weekdays. Ring the bell there's and a garage door and the doorbell ring the bell and someone will come unload your car or your Turk for you. And it's free to the general public about cellphones. Cellphones are included absolutely get a couple around certainly in you know all tablets all laptops can believe that we're at the point that we're actually recycling similar things that we aren't. Printers and it and so all of those things. You know Helen is a person generally stay in your program we've talked about a couple have been there for lol. Yes. But it can be as long as as long as they want we are there for them. Basically the span of her lifetime Perth to death. And so we do you see people who stay with us for all of their lives we have other people who. Try our employment program they may go try another when they may get a full time job in the community and so we don't see them a soft and they may come back around for retirement. We're there 24/7 365 days a year for whoever needs with. How leadership such leaders at something as. Like it oh it's not pregnant you know it it'll actually it's a nineteen million dollar budget cuts and nineteen a year. He will carry 99 dollar annual budget the majority of that of course is. Staffing. And paying for stuff now I want to tell me about your fundraising effort together at least a couple of it and superior to we did do. And we've been pleased to have you and ten involved in our golf tournament does this coming up again this year on June 26. All of these are on our website it's Turkey dot org that we have an annual Turkey golf classic. We just finished last Friday with amber waves that's a beer Walken tasting tour that happens in Italy no district. Were having a field of Peru's status coming up October 21 at Lawrence Dumont stadium. It's my understanding that will be one of the last events before that stadium's torn down so. Come come out attrition craft Beers see Laurence do not for the last time that you can finance feel the breeze dot com. And then one final fundraisers that were privileged to be part of this server Dublin car show. That name is actually changing for the coming year we will be known as the cars for charities. Run customs Hersh speaking and so. We. Turkey an arc of such a canny benefit from the proceeds of that show and you know received 50000 dollars this year from that. Ask you for our anecdotal those stories of success more are two of somebody you you know it's who's been in the program and and so while Thomas some somebody like that. Oh sure well in the first one that comes to mind. For me is it is a recent example. A young man named Connor pervert gateway program at one point. His own family says you know we don't even really recognize her son anymore he just was having. I'm behavioral issues that were very challenging he could not come home on the weekends and through a process of being part of gateway. And working with local health professionals. Connors doing so well he graduated from gate lane just a couple months ago. He's employed now Carlos at Kelly's and my favorite. Part of his story. Is that he actually helps train there which at least a permanent and the such a canny and I sheriff's officers on. Crisis intervention so when you are an officer approaching someone in crisis here are the things you should do and not do. Per person who has autism per person has behavioral issues and just hopes dam no. How to recognize the signs of someone with a disability in crisis. And how to most effective. Plea deal with it pretty important we've had some very important boosting news stories. Police officers not recognizing. That's right and you know for the most part I here than other parts of the state I think here locally. I'm really impressed with the effort that our officers have made to understand that to provide training to. Everyone on on what to do in that situation and Connors so proud to be part you have another story for us who gets humid and is no okay well. Yeah lots of stories I can think of can we talk about the apartments. I interviewed her and her family probably three years ago and you know her family her parents said she could continue to lift her first long she wants she's 120. And as she looked at salmon and she said I know I know mom in Canada IA. Really wanted to live with a difference and so for the first time she was able to. Move out of her home live on her own and she really has been thriving and her own apartment it's so important. For all of us when we turn eighteen we turn Tony two and one taken at different step in life. Have a place to do that even if you are an individual with a disability. As this community helpful and supportive for start deal over the years since 1930. In house we are incredibly fortunate here in Wichita. That people are supportive both in terms of fundraisers and funding and also employment and just. Inviting people inning getting to know them people with disabilities something you don't let your eyes you shared news about him that that a minute. Well you know we will be looking act in future months whether or not we have enough room. And whether our buildings as I mentioned we're still operating out of an old school building of an all gymnasium. We we are serving a lot of people in the small space and so we're gonna be looking at that with facilities planning and you know possible campaign to help with the speed it's what's best part of your agent Jamie. I love my job it's getting to know these people. That's Turkey. Like a set for the past many years and watching their progress watching their success and being fortunate to call them for that big challenger two years in the it's it is only event. That the challenge I would say is employee turnover. This is. This is not a glamorous line of work it's hard to keep people at. And wages that were able to pay with state reimbursement we're always in Topeka. Reminding our elected officials that reimbursement rates are key to the stability of our system so just finding and keeping good employees. I hear that a lot Randall on a lot of industries so that's one of the challenges and get. Enough employees to help these people out that's right to serve about or over 500 people every year. Right you that's right men in business since 1930 it looks like you're gonna stay in business for awhile longer. Taking care of the needs in this special needs of these special people their story. So sounds like you've got a good future ahead of you there and start here in Wichita and we wanna thank you. For spending some time with us here on on the issue showed Jayme always nice to see and we look forward to the golf tournament coming up a little bit later on here in the summer. Our guest Jamie oh Platt director of communications for Turkey that's all for this edition of issues funny seventeen will be back next week. Thank you for listing I Steve Macintosh.