Blog

June 2, 2017

“Heartbroke,” A Short Story by Vickie Stafford

Jasmine Sky acted like a child ever since she met her boyfriend until one day she asked him to marry her. He said no. “I’ll never marrying anybody.” Jasmine Sky was so heartbroke that she moved to Florida. Jasmine Sky got a job at Sea World and she became an animal trainer. On Halloween she saw a rose — not knowing it was a poison rose. As soon as Jasmine picked up the flower it turned dark green and herself into a swamp queen. She thought her boyfriend had done it, somebody else had put a spell on that flower. “All you need to break the spell, just think about one positive thing about yourself.” All of sudden she saw a ghost of her deceased mother. Her mom would talk to her for hours. “I’ve seen you from heaven and I know all of the trouble that you’re in.” Jasmine’s […]
June 1, 2017

The Struggle Is Real in the Disability Services Industry

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with a gentleman about services for the I/DD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) population and some of the struggles that our industry faces.  He stated that he had a family member with disabilities who was very well taken care of, received ample funding, and that his family had a direct line of communication with the leadership of the Missouri state government.  Based on his specific experience, he was left wondering why we were seeking out grants and fundraising dollars.  The industry, from his perspective, was operating just fine.  While I respect his individual experience, I also believe it exists as an outlier, a unique experience that is not indicative of most people who receive services in the I/DD system. Research shows that people with intellectual disabilities are living longer, in large part due to advances in health care and support services.  People with a […]
January 5, 2017

I’ve worked Star Trek into the conversation on employee conflict resolution (and you can, too!)

“Live long and prosper” At Open Options, our #1 goal is how best to support the people who receive services from us. This outcome begins and ends with our employees, so we invest heavily in training them on the best practices of the disabilities field. Because developing their ability to effectively communicate with each other is also very important to carrying out our mission, we’ve recently undergone a communication style assessment. Myriad books have been written on personalities and how they interact in the workplace, each with their own corresponding acronyms and identifications. I, for example, am an INFJ; CD; Type 6 with a wing 5; my strongest frame is Structural; my preferred leadership style is Coaching; and my top 5 strengths are Restorative, Responsibility, Intellection, Input, and Empathy. Every assessment I have ever taken references my desire to communicate (and be communicated to) with logic, facts, and well-researched assertions […]
September 2, 2016

Welcome, Opie!

I didn’t start my day thinking I was going to be reading about spirit animals and totems, but here we are.  Recently, we were brainstorming ideas for a fun “mascot” for our organization.  Playing off of the alliteration of our Open Options name, we joked about “Opie the Otter.”  I guess we joked about it too much because the idea really stuck.  Plus, Ollie the Ocelot just didn’t roll off the tongue.  Alliteration aside, we wanted the animal to have symbolic meaning to our organization and in particular our values. We came up with the following acronym that incorporates our core and aspirational values: O             Open, authentic, and truthful T              Takes responsibility, recognizing mistakes and apologizing with humility T              Trustworthy and accountable for results E              Earnest and unselfish concern for the well-being and happiness of others R             Respects the dignity of every person and every role A quick visit to […]