April 16, 2016

What Is Full Potential Friday?

As a community, we realize our full potential by embracing everyone, regardless of ability or disability. A significant part of my duty as CEO is to inspire others to “join the cause.” This includes sharing our organization’s work and giving people an opportunity to contribute in a way they find personally meaningful. In their work, Grant and Crutchfield refer to “inspiring evangelists,” people that can support mission achievement and provide testimonials of the organization’s work, spreading the word and adding new members to the network. In an effort to increase awareness of both our organization and disability issues overall, we are excited to begin a new venture which we are calling “Full Potential Friday.” This is an opportunity for our organization to go out to local businesses and do a 20-30 minute informative, engaging presentation on the history of disability services, disability etiquette, and how people can partner with our […]
February 24, 2016

What Makes Us Unique?

What makes us unique?  This is a difficult question but one that any nonprofit organization should be able to answer.  In times of turbulence, unknowns about government funding, and an increasingly competitive environment for fundraising dollars, nonprofit organizations are tasked with identifying what makes them stand out among myriad competitors.  As I ponder this question for our organization, I believe we are unique in our determination to provider supports and services that are tailored to each specific individual we serve.  Rather than a “one size fits all” model, we customize our service delivery in a person-centered manner. To understand if we are meeting our objectives, we must be able to get meaningful feedback from the people we serve.  Are they happy?  Are there things they would like for us to be doing that we are not?  What can we do to maximize the effectiveness of our services and support that […]
December 31, 2015

On Change, Both Personal and Professional

The new year is nearly upon us!   As 2015 comes to a close, I reflect back on the past twelve months both personally and professionally.  If I had to sum it all up in one word, it would be “change.” In May 2015, I got married to Melissa, and I am happy to report the first six months of our marriage have been wonderful!  A week after returning from our honeymoon, I began my master’s program at University of Missouri – Kansas City.  I am on target to finish my degree in Nonprofit Management and Innovation in the next two years.  Best of all, I have found the classes I have taken thus far have been directly applicable to my work for Open Options and have already made me a better leader.  I am looking forward to learning even more in the next year and continuing to grow in my […]
December 15, 2015

Wisdom from the Field: Real-Life Advocacy Lessons

Guest blog by Heather Jewell, director of quality enhancement Being an Advocate I frequently find myself saying I should write a book. This of course is in reference to the numerous unintended lessons I’ve learned throughout my career supporting individuals with differing abilities and their support employees.  The most important lesson I have learned to date is how to advocate. Simply defined advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. My personal definition is to fight like hell for what a person wants and/or needs. However, William Faulkner is more eloquent in his definition, stating, “never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the Earth.” Holly had an incredible sense of humor, and the spirit of a diva. She relished the moments she […]