News

Lou Deepe has been appointed as Wildwood’s next Executive Director, effective January 1, 2021.

Deepe sat down to talk about his career in disability and human services, his vision for the future, and the importance of maintaining Wildwood’s culture as the agency moves forward. Watch the full interview to learn more about his history, and to see his perspective on transitioning to the new role: https://youtu.be/SnNjDJ1uHlM

Deepe started his career in human services in 1993, when a friend suggested a job at an ARC group home. With no previous experience knowing or supporting an individual with disabilities, he says it was initially a bit “overwhelming.” Since then, however, his family experienced – as many have – the joys and challenges that come with having a family member diagnosed with autism.

After starting as a Residential Direct Support Professional (DSP), over the many years in the field Deepe worked in a variety of positions, including as a job coach and teacher’s assistant, and in Community Habilitation and Respite Services, giving him a unique perspective on working inside the family home to support an individual. Eventually, Lou made the transition into an administrative position. He began working with Wildwood in 2008, in a Day Services administrative role, before moving on to being the Chief Operating Officer (COO) four years ago.

“I loved having a direct, positive impact on peoples’ lives when I was in those direct support roles,” says Deepe. “As I moved into more of a leadership role, I realized that I could have a different kind of impact on peoples’ lives. It was maybe…more indirect, but it had even more profound implications for their overall quality of life.” Creating a positive impact on staff was another fulfilling aspect found within having an administrative role –Deepe champions the workforce, boards, and community partners for their roles at Wildwood.

Stepping into the new position will come with challenges, namely those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Deepe says a primary short-term goal is to continue safely navigating the pandemic, and focus on the fiscal challenges that lie ahead. Long-term goals include fostering the culture of respect, integrity, creativity, and holism at Wildwood,  investing in diversity, and a measurement of impact.

Wildwood has a longstanding reputation for having accessible, responsive Executive Directors. Like Mary Ann Allen and Ginny Rossuck before him, Deepe would like to continue the tradition of being available to staff, individuals, families and the community. Virtual “meet and greets” will be held in the future, and Deepe has plans to get out and meet people face-to-face as soon as the safety regulations allow. He believes that these conversations will help inform decision making, and provide valuable insight to the Executive Management team.

Longevity and the continuation of support are important factors in Deepe’s decision to stay in the human services field and at Wildwood. Building relationships with individuals and their families over the course of many years helps strengthen knowledge and understanding, creating those positive impacts he speaks of. “Whenever you can have a positive impact for someone, that keeps you coming back. That gets you through the hard times. That is what keeps people here [at Wildwood] for 20, 30, 40 years.”

As he looks forward to the future and his transition into the Executive Director/CEO position, Deepe would like people to know that, “in Wildwood, you have a committed, full partner. We will be there every step. We will be relentless in our advocacy for you, our support of you, and we will listen. We are not an organization that thinks we know everything – you know everything. You know what you need, you know what you want, your families know what you need and want. Tell us, and our job is to make that happen.”

Love Letters from Wildwood: Online Safety
By Kate Napolitano, Social Relationships & Sexuality Educator at Wildwood

Welcome to another edition of Love Letters from Wildwood. In Love Letters, we talk about all things love, sex, and relationships – often with a focus on current events and/or the world of disability.

Today, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on online safety, and offer some tips. Online Safety is a BIG topic. It will be covered in more depth at an online workshop tomorrow, September 30; registration information has been included at the bottom of this article for those interested!

I think it might be an understatement to say that, here in 2020, our relationship to the internet has continually evolved all year. Some people are using the internet who have never used it much before; some are using it more than ever, for almost all their work and play; and some of us are in between, still figuring out what internet use may be temporary, and what may be permanent change.

To me, the Internet feels (virtually!) like New York City: it has some marvelous, fun, unique, bucket-list-able experiences not to miss! But it’s also possible to get into danger of some kind in about ten seconds, so to speak, if you do not pay attention to what you’re doing.

To help navigate the Internet more safely, there are two big things that you may be able to put into in place (if you haven’t already):

Wildwood presents: Workshops for Families and Professionals, Fall 2020
 
NY ABLE, Wednesday, October 7, 2020 from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Presented via Google Meet. Please copy/paste the following link into your web browser when the event is supposed to start: meet.google.com/syb-guhv-otc

Presented by Jenna McClosky, Outreach Coordinator/Administrative Analyst, NY ABLE and 529 College Savings Program at Office of the State Comptroller

The NY ABLE Program is a tax-advantaged savings program for individuals with disabilities and their families to save fo their current or long-term needs while maintining their ability to benefit from federal programs such as SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid. Our program offers multiple investment options including a checking account and debit card option, allowing individuals with disabilities to maintain their independence and have quick and easy access to their own money. 

 

The Transitional Spectrum of Services During School/After Graduation, Tuesday, October 13, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Presented via Google Meet. Please copy/paste the following link into your web browser when the event is supposed to start: meet.google.com/txb-ctah-rgu

Presented by the Wildwood School Transition Readiness Department

During this workshop you will be provided with a general overview of service transition throughout school, options after graduation, the current state of OPWDD, and what you can be doing now to prepare your child for their life after graduation. It is never too early to gather information and learn about these services. Parents and guardians of children in all age ranges are encouraged to attend. 

 

The Brain's Response to Trauma, Thursday, October 22, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Presented via Google Meet. Please copy/paste the following link into your web browser when the event is supposed to start: meet.google.com/eux-rfxh-gwy

Presented by Ingrid Martinez, LMSW, Behavior Intervention Specialist, and Brittany Galipeau, LMHC, Behavior Intervention Specialist at Wildwood

In this presentation we will be reviewing the main areas of the brain that are involved when someone experiences long term and/or momentary trauma. You will learn about the connection between brain responses and behavior. Current research will be shared, with a discussion at the endabout next steps for you or a loved one dealing with trauma. 

 

Grief and Loss in Individuals with ID/DD: What it Looks Like and How to Help a Loved one Cope, Thursday, November 5, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Presented via Google Meet. Please copy/paste the following link into your web browser when the event is supposed to start: meet.google.com/qfr-aqqq-ebo

Presented by Marianne Simpon, PsyD, Director of Behavioral and Therapeutic Supports at Wildwood

This workshop will focus on what the grieving process may look like for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disailities, and explore ways that caregivers can support their loved one through difficult times. 

 

Finding the Calm Through Chaos, Thursday, November 12, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Presented via Google Meet. Please copy/paste the following link into your web browser when the event is supposed to start: meet.google.com/mmc-jden-bsh

Presented by Ingrid Martinez, LMSW, Behavior Intervention Specialist, and Brittany Galipeau, LMHC, Behavior Intervention Specialist at Wildwood

In this presentation you will leave equipped with a personalized stress management plan to help you find the calm during the chaotic moments of life. You will learn proactive strategies to help you prevent overwhelm and reative strategies to use in the moment. Implementation of strategies can be difficult when it comes to stress management, so we will help you in creating a personalized plan that works for you. 

 

Registration information:

All workshops will take place via Google Meet. If you are interested in attending any of the fall workshop events, please register! To do so: 

Please contact Lynn LaFave at 518-640-3370 or fss@wildwoodprograms.org 

Within your phone call or email, please be sure to include the following: 
1. Preferred email address
2. Preferred phone number
3. Title of the workshop(s) you are interested in attending
4. Why you are interested in the training (professional/agency affiliation, or family member/age)
5. If you are Family Support eligible (if a family member, does your child/loved one live with you or are they OPWDD eligible? Not required to attend, but noted for grant purposes).
6. Number of people attending

To attend, you must follow the Google Meet link (provided beneath title of workshop) at the time of the training.

For questions, please contact Michelle Singh, at 518-640-3350 or msingh@wildwoodprograms.org

Introducing the first official events from Wildwood's new Social Relationships and Sexuality Education (the SORSE). SORSE workshops and events will cover topics including online safety and social skills, informed consent, and sexuality and disability. Click on "Read More" below to see all SORSE course offerings and learn more!

All workshops will take place via Google Meet. If you are interested in attending any of the fall SORSE events, please register! To do so: 

Please contact Lynn LaFave at 518-640-3370 or fss@wildwoodprograms.org 

Within your phone call or email, please be sure to include the following: 
1. Preferred email address
2. Preferred phone number
3. Title of the workshop(s) you are interested in attending
4. Why you are interested in the training (professional/agency affiliation, or family member/age)
5. If you are Family Support eligible (if a family member, does your child/loved one live with you or are they OPWDD eligible? Not required to attend, but noted for grant purposes).
6. Number of people attending

To attend, you must follow the Google Meet link (provided beneath title of workshop) at the time of the training.

For questions, please contact Kate Napolitano at knapolitano@wildwoodprograms.org or 518-640-3346.

The Wellness Mini-Series Workshops for Families and Professionals is brought to you by Wildwood's Family Support Services. The workshops will cover yoga, meditation, reiki, and lifestyle optimization. Please see below the page break for a brief description and more information on individual workshops. 

If you are interested in attending any of Fall 2020's Family Support Workshops, please register! To do so: 

Please contact Lynn LaFave at 518-640-3370 or fss@wildwoodprograms.org 

Within your phone call or email, please be sure to include the following: 
1. Preferred email address
2. Preferred phone number
3. Title of the workshop(s) you are interested in attending
4. Why you are interested in the training (professional/agency affiliation, or family member/age)
5. If you are Family Support eligible (if a family member, does your child/loved one live with you or are they OPWDD eligible? Not required to attend, but noted for grant purposes).
6. Number of people attending

To attend, you must click on the Google Meet link (provided beneath title of workshop) at the time of the training.

For questions, please contact Michelle Singh at 518-640-3350 or msingh@wildwoodprograms.org

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