Letter from the CEO
You may have heard that Randy Gray retired on June 30, 2015 after 40 years of service at Marc Community Resources, Inc. (Marc) and that I will take over the position of President & CEO. A natural question to ask is, "who is this John Moore and how will this transition impact employees?" To answer this two-part question, let me start with who I am.
In terms of credentials, I have an accounting degree, a CPA license, a finance MBA and have over 30 years of audit, accounting and finance experience. Since 2001, I have been Marc’s Chief Financial Officer, working closely with Randy Gray, Marc’s board of directors and both program and support leadership.
In terms of leadership transition, while this is clearly an historic event in the life of our agency, don’t expect dramatic change. We are all blessed to work for a CARF-accredited and nationally recognized agency that, thanks to a compassionate and dedicated workforce, has the highest reputation with state funding sources such as the Division of Developmental Disabilities and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care. My goal, with your help, is to find new and innovative ways to further enhance our services and outcomes in ways that create a distinctive identity in the eyes of our service recipients, families, communities and funding sources. Specifically, my focus will be to work with staff in the follow areas:
- Celebrating Performance, Continuous improvement and Outcomes: The product that Marc produces is not programs or services. Our products are the life-changing outcomes that we deliver, including the acquisition of skills, self-sufficiency, independence and employment. We need to encourage and celebrate the achievement of these outcomes and reward employees that actively engage individuals to achieve their personal goals.
- Navigating Change: The human service industry will see unprecedented change in the next few years driven by new state laws, additional federal regulations, newly elected officials, payment reform, funding cuts and mandated changes to programs and services. Marc’s board and management team will be working hard to position our agency to lead and succeed during this system transformation.
- Building Awareness of Marc to further our mission goals: I sometimes hear from people outside of Marc that our agency is the best kept secret in the valley. In order to make a greater impact for people who have disabilities, we, together, must build awareness about how Marc’s services change lives, families and communities.
- Strengthening the connection and relationship between employees, departments and the agency: Marc has over 80 service locations and many have just a few employees. Without concerted effort, it can be difficult to sustain internal relationships and is easy to get disconnected from our mission, our successes and our strategic initiatives. It is also easy to lose sight of how our individual jobs contribute to changing lives and creating something sustainable. Despite our size, our family values demand that we promote better communication and positive relationships among all parts of the agency.
- Advocating for our employees, families and the individuals we serve: In addition to providing services, Marc is well known as a fierce advocate for individuals who have disabilities. My commitment to you is that Marc's leadership team will continue to engage with citizens, business leaders and city, state and federal government officials in order to fight for what is good for our employees, families and the people we serve.
Happenings at Marc
Randy Gray’s Retirement
Many of you joined us as we bade Randy a very happy and well-deserved retirement. Randy was celebrated for positioning Marc as one of the premier social services organizations in Maricopa County during his years of leadership. Community members, individuals served, parents and friends wished Randy a happy retirement during events held during the week of March 9. The main campus at 924 N Country Club Drive was designated as the Randall L. Gray campus. Randy will still be seen occasionally on campus over the next two years as he works on special projects and advocacy as Marc’s chief innovation officer. His plans for retirement include traveling and spending more time with his family. We all wish Randy the very best in this new phase of his life.
After the dedication of the Freestone facility in December 2014, our Community Day program is up and running and has already proven to be a great success! On average, 42 individuals with developmental disabilities attend the program at the Freestone facility each day.
These individuals have come to love the basketball court adjacent to the building and are often found outside playing a game or utilizing the outdoor walking paths found around the building. They also enjoy the main activity room where they care for their pet hamsters, guinea pigs and bearded dragon or work on individual projects, including typing, painting and putting puzzles together. Their parents are also very pleased with the facility, regularly praising how spacious the facility is with inviting common areas, large windows and a beautiful kitchen. We are proud to be able to offer a facility that is enjoyed by our individuals and their family members alike.
Marc Community Resources would like extend a big thank you to the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority, Salt River Project/Maricopa Indian Community, and Thunderbird Charities for their generous contributions and the many other generous individuals who have donated to our capital campaign to make the Freestone facility possible. We are still trying to raise additional funds to finalize our capital campaign and appreciate your donation to finish the campaign.
Remodel of Building 2 at Randall L. Gray Campus
Marc is always looking for opportunities to serve more people and provide them with the highest quality of services. At the end of March after months of renovations, Marc reopened Building 2 at the RLG campus to expand the Community Day Services program. With more space and resources provided through the expansion, we are better equipped to help our individuals achieve the goals that they have created for themselves.
For example, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and a large TV to show workout videos were installed for those who want to work on their fitness goals. Additionally, an area with recliners was designed in Building 2 for the growing population of seniors that we serve to give them a place to rest and interact with people their age. We also developed a pre-vocational area where individuals can utilize computers and learn safety skills for those whose goal is to eventually work at the Employment Related Services’ workshop.
With our expanded services, we have received positive reactions from everyone who walks through the doors. Upon the reveal there were wide eyes and squeals of excitement from staff and individuals alike admiring the brightly colored walls, two smart boards and the large kitchen area. The additional space enhances staff’s ability to provide more attention to those they are working with, now that there are two buildings in which to provide services. Today we serve approximately 42 individuals each day at Building 2, with eight new individuals joining in the last two months and tours being given weekly to other individuals interested in our program. We look forward to continuing to meet the growing needs of the community with this new facility.
With the support of Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (MMIC), Marc Community Resources has been able to launch and expand several programs in the last year to be able to provide individuals with services that will address a variety of their needs. In this newsletter, we provide an overview of our program expansion and will highlight individual programs in following newsletters.
The Family Support Services
program recognizes the important role family members play in their loved one’s recovery and their need for support in order to be successful advocates. In our program, family members are matched with a family support partner who assists them with navigating the adult behavioral health system and advocating for their adult child. In addition to the individualized support, family members attend a bi-monthly psychoeducation course together where they learn about important topics such as crisis prevention, what mental illness is, and how to communicate collaboratively with the clinical team. Today, we have the potential to serve approximately 80 families.
The Transitional Assistance Program
addresses the traditional boundaries between hospital and community settings that impede care transitions by assigning transitional support specialists to work with the individual while they are in the hospital and then remain with them in the community until a therapeutic relationship is formed with a community mental health provider. Currently, this program is primarily operated out of Saint Luke’s Hospital, where we have the capacity of serving approximately 100 individuals.
Supported Housing, better known as the Hope Program
at Marc, utilizes social workers and peer staff to provide support for individuals who are transitioning from homelessness and/or poor housing conditions to achieve stable housing. Marc has over six years of experience in achieving stable housing for over 500 individuals. MMIC awarded a supplemental contract to Marc to serve an additional 125 people, resulting in 300 people able to receive services this year.
is an approach to vocational rehabilitation for individuals with disabilities that emphasizes helping people obtain competitive work in the community and provides the necessary support to ensure success in the workplace. With a successful history of 15 years of supportive employment services, Marc recently received a supplemental contract from MMIC to serve an additional 130 individuals.
We are thankful to MMIC for supporting us in this important work, giving people greater determination for where they live, learn, work and play.
Mercy Maricopa Member Services
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Hearing impaired TTY/TDD 711
Maricopa County’s Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) – helping Arizonans get services and support for living well.
Mercy Maricopa announced the winners of the first annual RISE Awards on April 29 at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness in Phoenix. John Moore, then deputy CEO, received an award on behalf of Marc as a provider that fosters recovery and resiliency. A crowd of nearly 200 people gathered to share in the celebration. Mercy Maricopa’s website reports: “The victors, all strong contenders, were chosen from 35 nominees in the three RISE Award categories. These individuals and agencies have demonstrated an unwavering dedication to transforming the behavioral health community by promoting recovery and resiliency, health and wellness, and innovation.” Cheryl Anderson, director of Marc’s Recovery and Resiliency Support Services, was a semifinalist under the adult services category. John Moore was joined by Marc’s Board in congratulating the management and staff of its Behavioral Health Services program led by Dr. Michael Franczak, for their work in the community. The management and board of Marc, in turn, thank MMIC for its effectiveness as the Maricopa County RBHA.
Veora E. Johnson Spirit of Unity Award
On January 17, Marc Community Resources received the Veora E. Johnson Spirit of Unity Award at the City of Mesa’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Gala, in recognition of Marc’s dedication to building a better community. The Gala began the weekend long celebration, which also included a parade held January 19. Cheryl Anderson, director of Recovery and Resiliency Support Services and Derek Finlayson, assistant director of Human Resources attended the parade, which was led by grand marshal Mayor John Giles.
In the Community
Cubs Spring Training Games
For the second year in a row, individuals in Employment Related Services (ERS) worked at the Sloan Park condiment carts at the Cubs Spring Training games. While replenishing mustard and napkins might seem like a simple task, with crowds of over 13,000 people and being outside in the heat and on your feet for more than 8 hours, this is not for the faint at heart.
The spring training group worked at all 15 home games during the month of March, where they could earn minimum wage for their work, gain food handling skills and learn how to handle being in large crowds of people. One individual shared, “It was cool we got to work for a baseball team.” Other individuals said they appreciated learning about how much coordination it takes for such a large operation to go smoothly, and were glad they got to be a part of something like this.
The partnership between the Cubs and Marc developed two years ago through the work of Bill McAllister, business development director, when ERS was seeking a way to provide individuals with more opportunities to work in the community and to prepare for employment. Marc is thankful for companies like the Cubs that provide opportunities to help our individuals be successful.
Mesa Human Relations Advisory Board
The City of Mesa Human Relations Advisory Board began their three-part series “Recovery and Resilience, Life after Diagnosis – Mental Health and Substance Abuse” in partnership with East Valley Firefighter Charities, Marc Community Resources and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (MMIC) in March. The series was designed to promote understanding, acceptance and stigma reduction while celebrating diversity. Information and real life stories of recovery and resilience were shared at each meeting about people who have a mental illness or substance abuse history who live in our community and lead fully productive lives. One primary goal of the series was to let family, friends and community members understand that there is life after a diagnosis.
At the March event held at Marc, Kathy Bashor, manager of the Office of Individual and Family Affairs at the Department of Behavioral Health Services, Kim Maslonka, administrator of MMIC’s Office of Individual and Family Affairs, and Julius Gunn, at Marc, each shared their personal experiences with mental illness and about their recovery. The Board plans to host another meeting in the fall about business and how to promote diversity in the workplace.
This spring's 12th Bi-Annual Kickball Tournament was an action packed, fun-filled and hotly contested day of excitement! As with past tournaments, teams from all over the Valley's behavioral health community came together on March 5 at Kiwanis Park in Tempe for a day of competition and camaraderie. It was truly awesome to witness each team put forth their very best effort while demonstrating teamwork, resilience and positive attitudes, whether victorious or otherwise.
Choices earned first place; Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) took second, and third place went to Recovery Innovations of Arizona (RIAZ). Marc Community Resources, CHEERS, STAR Centers, People of Color Network and Partners in Recovery won Spirit Awards.Thank you John Moore, Paul Galdys, Jana Spalding, Paul Ware, Kelli Donnelly, Maryjo Whitefield, Kathy Bashor, Chaz Longwell, Drew Buchner, and Tomas Leon for skillfully umpiring the games. Another thank you to De'Mario Vaughn, Melissa Alvarado and Billy Ludwick for using their Quality Assurance skills to ensure that each point was documented. Master of Ceremonies, MMIC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Don Fowls, welcomed and inspired the athletes. Specials thanks to STAR for preparing a delicious meal, and to MMIC, ADHS, Beth Walker and ASU School of Nursing students for their support and participation. The tournaments are living proof of the power of recovery in action!
Mental Health Awareness Month
Excerpted from the Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care May Member Newsletter
During the month of May, the behavioral health community makes a special effort to educate the public about mental illness and how common mental illness is in the United States. In the U.S., 1 out of every 4 people is affected by a behavioral health disorder. Anyone can be affected including our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that nearly 221,000 adults live with serious mental illness in Arizona. Tad Gary, Mercy Maricopa’s chief clinical officer, says talking about mental illness can help reduce the stigma, or negative perceptions, around it “By reducing stigma, we hope that there will be more acceptance and understanding about mental illness,” Gary said. “That will make it easier for people who need help to ask for it. And it will make it easier for people who may not have a mental illness to offer that help.”
Behavioral health organizations aren’t the only ones that can reduce stigma and raise awareness. Everyone can play a part. The Arizona Department of Health Services offers tips on fighting stigma:
- Use respectful language when referring to people who are living with a mental illness such as: Person with bipolar disorder or manic depressive illness; person who has schizophrenia; Person with a disability; Person who has cognitive difficulties.
- Know the facts about mental illness and substance use disorders and then educate others by sharing what you’ve learned.
- Be supportive and compassionate with people who experience behavioral health challenges and encourage people in their recovery.
- Hire people who are in recovery from behavioral health challenges.
Diversity Career Fair
On February 12, Marc’s Employment Related Services (ERS) department held their first Diversity Career Fair at the Randall L. Gray Campus. Business development director, Bill McAllister, AmeriCorps member, Annie Bello, and Human Resources recruiter, Sarah O’Neill, worked for several months with representatives from Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care and Rehabilitation Services Administration planning the job fair for individuals with disabilities returning to work and invited numerous companies to attend.
Their efforts resulted in the representation of 19 employers at the fair, including Lowe’s, Safelite Autoglass, Sears Holdings, and Starbuck’s. About 100 job seekers attended, a majority of which were enrolled in Marc’s Employment Related Services, each of them eager to find a new employment opportunity and utilize the professional skills they have learned through working with their job developer. For many of the job seekers this was the first job fair they had attended, and had prepared for weeks in anticipation of this event.
Everyone had a great time at the event and positive feedback was shared by both employers and job seekers. One employer shared, “This was a great experience for job seekers and employers.” Job seekers walked away with confidence that they had spoken with employers who were interested in them and several received interviews. After such a positive response from Marc staff and individuals, as well as community partners, ERS plans to have another career fair this fall!
Jesse enrolled with the Hope East program in April 2014. Over the last year Jesse has made huge strides with his mental and physical health. He has remained in independent housing after being homeless and having multiple hospitalizations. Jesse is working on goals with nutrition, exercise, wellness, and budgeting. His personal goal is to have a car by next December. Jesse attributes a lot of his success to God. He has become more aware of his strengths and has improved those strengths over the last year. He is very appreciative of the help and support given by many individuals in the community and is now a successful graduate of Hope Network!
Sunsearay secured safe housing for her family and successfully graduated from the Hope program in January 2015. She continues to maintain a beautiful home for her seven (soon to be eight) children. During her time with Hope, Sunsearay was linked to resources that will help her care for her children, supplement her income and develop her independent living skills. She has also learned to create a support network, receiving regular encouragement from her partner, family members, and clinical team. Sunsearay is actively working toward a bright future.