November 1, 2019
Merakey Presents at PAR Conference
Merakey’s Elizabeth Humphrey, Carol Erzen and Kimberly Katruska presented at the PAR Annual Solutions Conference in Harrisburg on October 22. The trio discussed – Transformation: Making a Cultural Shift from Traditional Day Program Services to a True Person-Centered Approach – which shared the process, the joys and the challenges of this important, and ongoing, shift in the way services are provided. “True transformation involves a serious challenge to existing practices and assumptions about supports for persons with disabilities,” noted project consultant Christopher Liuzzo. “It often means turning those assumptions on their heads and disrupting familiar practices and rituals. It does not mean tinkering around the edges.” For the past 18 months, Merakey IDD in Western PA has been taking on this challenging task and the team was delighted to share their experience with others.
"Our program transformation is ongoing and is taking place one person at a time," commented Staff Development Executive and project lead Carol Erzen. "Change is challenging and doesn’t happen overnight. We are so grateful to have the opportunity – through a grant from Polk Foundation – to thoughtfully and carefully undertake this very important initiative."
A highlight of the presentation was hearing from Pathfinder Elizabeth who shared how the transformation project has impacted her. “I want to live a normal, everyday life just like all of you. My person-centered plan gave me hope and helped to make changes in my life. I am excited about what the future will bring.”