Supporting Families on their Care Coordination Journey... A Story from the 13/14 Annual Report

June 8th, 2015

Gordon Smith is a single father of two boys.  He is personable, outgoing, works hard, and wants nothing but the best for his children.  Since his oldest son Gregory Shawn was a teenager, Gordon has been self-directing his services and sending him to Camp Hope - The Arc of Essex County’s seven week summer day camp for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

Gregory Shawn loves coming to camp each summer.  Like his father, Gregory Shawn is personable, outgoing, and funny.  He enjoys catching up with friends who regularly attend camp.  While Gregory Shawn started out as a teen camper, today he is a staff favorite and attends as part of Camp Hope’s Adult Camp Experience.

Aside from attending Camp Hope and hotel respite, Gregory Shawn did not initially participate in any other Arc of Essex County day programs.  During a periodic check in with Gordon, The Arc of Essex County staff learned Gregory Shawn was struggling in his regular day program.  Gordon, wanting the best for his son, consulted with The Arc staff who spent many summers getting to know Gregory Shawn, to create an
individualized plan, tailored to his son’s needs.

When Gregory Shawn was ready, The Arc of Essex County arranged for him to begin attending the Supportive Work Opportunites Program (SWOP) - a vocational training program providing an opportunity to consumers to learn social and work-ready skills.  At SWOP, Gregory Shawn joined the landscaping team.  He formed new friendships with his fellow consumers and coworkers, worked hard, and developed a camaraderie with the guys.  Their superb teamwork led to a first place victory at The Arc of Essex County’s day program kickball tournament.

Initially, Gregory Shawn attended SWOP just three days a week.  As he became more accustomed to the
program, Gordon felt comfortable increasing Gregory Shawn’s attendance from three to four days a week.  The program is a perfect fit - Gregory Shawn looks forward to going to work every day.  
“When I think of The Arc, two words come to mind - respite and growth.  [Through Camp Hope, hotel respite, and SWOP] my son has grown considerably,” said Gordon Smith.  “I, for one, look at The Arc of Essex County as a true blessing.  I appreciate all you do for me and my family and keep doing what you are doing!”

As more families become part of the state’s Medicaid fee-for-service program and move to a self-directed model, The Arc of Essex County and our committed and compassionate staff stands ready to help, as we have with the Smiths. 

To view the full 2013-2014 Annual Report, click here.

Gregory Shawn Smith (back row; green shirt) celebrates with fellow SWOP teammates after winning The Arc of Essex County’s day program kickball tournament.