As we celebrate the 18th anniversary of Values Into Action, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Marian Frattarola-Saulino, shares a message of gratitude for the Values Into Action community. From the beginning, this was about YOU. Our community, our rights, and our determination to live our best and everyday lives.
Hello Values Into Action community. Happy 18th birthday, happy 18th anniversary, whichever you prefer.
And happy Spring 2023! It was actually the first day of spring back in 2005, March 21.
I remember it was a day filled with uncertainty, a bit of fear, lots of busyness and below it all, this wave of confidence that what Paul and I were about to do was the right thing.
I should also say that I remember our home being extremely busy that day when I say a lot of busyness, I mean, physically busy since the twins were not even a year old. Our oldest was three, just three and the dog Lenny as usual was being teased by all of them. So it was very hectic, very busy. And at one point, Paul and I were sitting in the kitchen about to hit the proverbial go button because yes, even in 2005, you could incorporate an organization in Pennsylvania through your computer. So Paul and I knew that that action would change the trajectory of our lives of our family life. And we also knew it was a road we had to take. So literally, we’ve never looked back in the 18 years.
Well, except for the occasional, why did we do this?
But that question has always been very quickly answered always by the words and by the actions of you.
And so this vlog is dedicated to you, to those of us who sent in testimonials or allow themselves to be, you know, interviewed and their words were documented.
And we actually have two videos.
There are people to people who chose to communicate their testimonials through video, which we are absolutely thrilled and I’m gonna do my best to share it.
But even with the written testimonials along with the videos along with this, it will be in Action Speaks!, our internal communications.
So I want to start with a quote and those of you who know me and have worked with me have heard it more than 100 times I’m sure.
But it’s a quote that I return to every day.
And actually, when I’m working from, from my office, um it’s a quote that I look at every day because it’s sitting literally right in front of me right behind my computer.
Some days I actually returned to it more than once, but always at least on a daily basis and especially on a day like today, Angela Davis, who she doesn’t know it, but is one of my most important mentors.
Somebody who has from an early age taught me the importance of knowing what you believe to be right and just, and to always pursuing that no matter what.
And she has said this, you have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world and you have to do it all the time.
And so I think you would agree that that quote applies to us.
Most of us, if not all of us in our daily lives and in our daily work as we seek to continually, even in 2023, to confront some pretty basic challenges to people’s basic civil and human rights, like where and with whom they want to live and how they want to spend their time and who gets to enter their home and help them to do the things that they themselves want, help with.
And we’ll continue on, we’ve never wavered from that and we never will. But maybe this quote will help you. And I certainly hope today as we celebrate our birthday or anniversary. I hope that that quote kind of settled in and that you can really acknowledge the contributions that you have made. So maybe not only transform your own life or the life of your family member, the life of your neighborhood, your community.
No matter what you’re important and you are certainly critical to this organization.
And so we thank you. So I’m going to take some time to read some excerpts from the testimonials we receive and then I really want to try and show you the videos and make them part of this vlog because as I’ve said, you know, from the beginning, this was about you.
It remains about you and you are the reason um that I stay dedicated.
This work is very important to me. You are all very important to me and I think that what I feel called to do in my life is to really try and make the world a little bit better. And that means my life is better and the life of my family is better.
And some days I just wish that more people could see that that when we seek to transform the world – oftentimes – really, every time, we benefit as well.
So with that, let me get started cause you all know I could talk all day. Okay.
So Joan has said um I am grateful for my supports broker. She helps me to figure out problems.
I’m happy where I live in my own apartment and I like the people who helped me stay safe and healthy.
And Joan, we want to thank you for sharing that, but more importantly for sharing your life with us and allowing us to be a part of it.
And we’re so happy that you feel we were helpful and we’re going to continue to earn your trust every day.
Maryann says it has been a privilege to work at an organization that embraces and builds community. And Maryann you’re such an important part of that. So, thank you, Maryann. She goes on to say, I’m also incredibly proud that all members of our organization have the ability to have their voices heard and their feedback is truly valued. Again, Maryann, and thank you for the part that you play in helping to facilitate that so that all members of the organization really do feel welcome.
And they do feel that their voices are heard and that even in the times when what I may share or what you may share may not make it to the final decision.
We really do hope that the trust that is built in our relationship.
And as we do this work together that even when we have to agree to disagree, we do so with the utmost respect and trust in one another.
Robert says eight years ago, I chose Values Into Action as my provider for supports broker service. I thought I was just picking a provider. What happened was I found a group of allies who understand the importance of amplifying my voice, including me in decisions and encouraging me to always speak up. And Robert, we wanna thank you for allowing us for, for choosing us. Well, eight years.
Yeah, for, for many of us, we have been together for quite a long time and as an organization, we want to continue to earn that trust and we appreciate um when you give us feedback and we appreciate the fact that we are true partners in this. So, thank you.
Donna said Matt has been fortunate enough to have staff through Values Into Action since almost the beginning of the agency, Donna, you, Russ and Matt have been supporters from even before the agency started. But yes, it’s, it’s been incredible to think about this journey together. The direct care staff have not only been an active support for Matt but also friends that he has grown to love and value their presence in his life. They have watched and encouraged him from his growth as a teenager to a young man on a daily basis. We are grateful for their presence and Donna, we are grateful for yours. For Russ’s and for Matt’s.
The Pacheco’s said congratulations to values on its 18th anniversary as a family. We have always wanted Joel Emilio to participate in the community to be valued as an individual and respected in his preferences. 13 years ago, I can’t believe it’s been 13 years. Values was chosen for its philosophy of community, rights of individuals, and value to their individuality. Over time, we have observed how services are a vehicle to carry out and sustain its philosophy and commitment. Always looking to do better. We have grow together to offer Joel Emilio as much support as possible. Values has evolved in its efforts, not only to improve its support for Joel Emilio, but also in its commitment to family inclusion, learning opportunities and advocacy in the service system, Joel, Emilio, and Anna. We thank you for the trust that you have placed in us and for yes, allowing us to grow together with you as a family and to always strive to make it better.
Annie said, our incredibly welcoming and supportive community is like family. To me, I’ve been given the chance to participate in organizational policy decisions and provided with opportunities for professional development. I am also proud of how dedicated we are to expanding and protecting the rights of disabilities. Annie, we thank you for always being such an active partner and for always setting such a great example of our ideals and our values. And we thank you and Michael for always participating in the advisory group that you have helped to start and to shape
Jessica said values is very welcoming. It always makes me feel like I’m important — and that’s because you are Jessica, the services I receive, help me to live a more independent life. Plus it’s helped me to become an advocate for myself and others. And Jessica, you set such a wonderful example and we appreciate you and your family and your trust and your partnership.
Kathy said my experience with values has been rewarding. I’ve made many friends over my years. Values gives you a great opportunity and experiences. I have never had before. In my work experience. Kathy, we appreciate you as a long-standing employee and somebody who has always been dedicated to those you are supporting, we appreciate you.
Marelys said I’ve been working with Values Into Action for six years and it has been the most rewarding job. I’ve had the opportunity to have the connections you make with everyone is one of a kind I can truly say, I love what I get to do. And Marelys we get to say how much we love having you be a part of this organization. You are such an important part, not only of the support systems of the people you are supporting, but of the organization as a whole.
Pam. The foxy lady says, wow, 18 years and I’ve been here for all of them. I plan to be here for more. Yes, Pam, we have been together long before we started values. But you are one of the first people to leave the agency where you were receiving support and to take a chance here with values.
March 21st 2005 a day that will forever live in infamy. And yes, you will be here for many more.
Tiffany says, happy anniversary. This job has taught me about patience. I love partnering with Kevin. I’m happy to be a part of the organization for the last five years. Tiffany. We thank you and like you, I have learned so much about patience but I think it’s more about people being patient with me. So thank you for supporting and partnering with Kevin. And thank you for being a part of Values Into Action.
Darlene says before coming to Values Into Action, I did not have my independence. And Darlene, you did.Perhaps all you needed were people to just believe in you and support you to just exercise your independence. But you, you always had it. Thank you values for giving it back to me. And again, like I said, I would just respectfully say, I believe you always had it and we just partnered with you to make it happen. Values is good for me with nice staff who helped me so much when my sister passed away and I want to acknowledge Dorothy. She was a wonderful, wonderful person who really helped us in many ways, the feedback that she provided um the care and support that both of you showed to one another um was really and still is for me, such a great example of what it means to really love and care for one another and for you both to trust us to support you um has really been an honor and we, we really appreciate you, Darlene.
Ambrose says, congratulations on 18 years of exceptional service to the community. This company is true, a true embodiment of its name – and Ambrose, that’s because you and others exemplify and embody the values of this organization every time you are in support of somebody and we truly appreciate you being a part of the organization. So without further ado and I hope I can make this technically happen.
I want to show you the two videos.
So the first one is from Jimmy who accept supports broker services with us and he um made a video with Lynn.
So thanks Lynn for making that happen and I am going to try to show this and if it doesn’t work, we are going to make sure that it’s in Action Speaks! (Please see separate video of Lynn and Jimmy.)
I’m going to try for the next video which is by Ryan and this is the one that I wanted to end with because Ryan has chosen to share his testimonial through word and through song and it truly, I think was one of one of the the best gifts. Ryan, I have never had the opportunity to meet you and I sincerely hope I get to do that soon. And I want to thank you and thank your family and thank your supports broker um for making this video and for sharing it with us and for being a part of the Values Into Action community.
So you’re going to have the last word Ryan, hopefully I can get this one to work, so we’re going to end with Ryan.
So I want to say thank you each and every one of you for the testimonials, for just what you do.
As part of this organization, whether you’re somebody who accepts supports and partners with us um allows us to come into your life um for the families who trust us and allow us into your homes and into very intimate aspects of your lives, your trust to your partnership, your support and for always challenging us to do better and to be better, you have helped to make us what we are along with all of the wonderful professionals who work for the organization.
Well, actually, they work for the people there supporting um they’re employed by Values.
And I think that’s been a very, very important distinction for us. And I think it’s an important one because it sets us apart.
But it also brings us together under the vision that people and their families are and should be in control, in control of their lives, able to direct the course of their lives with the support that they choose.
And we hope to continue to earn the trust, to continue to partner and to continue to help radically transform this world together.
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”Angela Davis