Peace and Healing at Checkpoint One

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This week, Ashley, our I/DD Program Development Manager, and Doug from our Community Engagement program were invited to spend a calm, autumn day on thirty-three acres of farmland in Doswell, Virginia. The farm, called Checkpoint One, was founded by Andy Kaufman and Kristin Fitzgerald to provide animal therapy. Friendly animals and beautiful scenery help treat trauma and foster mental health.

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While at the farm, Doug got to know several horses, and even named three of them! Cocoa, Coconut, and Trouble Maker.

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Doug and Ashley pose for a photo with Checkpoint One's co-founder, Andy.

Checkpoint One opens their doors mostly to military and first responder families in need of healing and wellness, but others are welcome, too. We're thankful to Checkpoint One for inviting Ashley and Doug to visit, and we hope to return soon!

Good Neighbor joins the Virginia Association of Health Plans

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Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
— Hellen Keller
 

Earlier this year, Matthew Marek, Executive Director of Good Neighbor, and Rich Shelton, Director of Strategic Engagement, presented at the Virginia Association of Health Plans (VAHP) annual conference thanks to the VAHP’s generous invitation.

The presentation focused on innovation within the space of intellectual/developmental disabilities and behavioral health. Matthew and Rich spoke about the unique ways in which Good Neighbor provides care and the next frontier in the industry as technology continues to be a welcomed disruption. 

They also shared our commitment to creating access to data-driven insights, implementing new technologies that advance the quality of care, and designing services that meet people where they are.

We were honored to have the opportunity to share our story at the conference.

Today, we're excited to join the Virginia Association of Health Plans as an affiliate member and are eager to collaborate with the association and the many forward-thinking organizations involved.

Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” In order to achieve true innovation and progress we have to do it together. Incredible things can happen when we challenge the status quo to put people first, and this partnership is another step in that direction.

New Anthem Integrated Community Care Pilot For Adults

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Good Neighbor has partnered with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to provide a new in-home service for members called Integrated Community Care (ICC). 

ICC meets individuals where they are and helps them gain stability and manage their mental health during especially difficult periods. In this program, individuals learn tools and receive specialized counseling to stabilize their mental health symptoms and optimize overall health and wellness in their own homes and communities. 

This comprehensive treatment approach includes a detailed clinical assessment, individualized service plans, care coordination, linkage to community resources for ongoing support, and crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call (855) 519-CARE to learn more about the program or refer an Anthem member.

Learn more about all of our Community-Based services here.

4 new homes 🏠

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Good Neighbor is excited to announce the opening of four new homes in Culpeper, Warrenton, Henrico, and Hanover.

"We really looked at how to design these new homes as someone’s forever home," Heath Pond, Director of I/DD services, said about his team's approach. "We didn’t want it to just be a group home, but to be a home."

With lots natural light and multiple living spaces, Pond and his team created a space where individuals can have guests and friends visit and still have the privacy that they need.

See below for a look inside two of these homes.

 

New Henrico home:

New Hanover home:

 

For more information about the new homes or our Residential program, please contact Heath Pond at (804) 479-1023, hpond@goodneighborcs.com or Luke Lemon at (804) 835-1802, llemon@goodneighborcs.com.

Now offering Community Engagement & Community Coaching!

Good Neighbor is now offering Community Engagement & Community Coaching services!

Community Engagement & Community Coaching assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in accessing and participating in the community outside of their homes, employment, and day programs.

For more information, head over to goodneighbor.care/cecc!

This is what autism can feel like

Nearly 1 in 68 children in America have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While every individual is different, this video shows the sensory thresholds that many with autism experience.

"I’m autistic. And sometimes I get too much information," Holly says.

"It’s as if my brain is too crowded – and about to explode."

The video walks the viewer through Holly's day, detailing every interaction as they compound into sensory overload.

While the short film depicts Holly's experience, other viewers who are autistic have voiced that theirs is different, expressing that there should be more videos out there that portray autism in a positive light.

For example, one YouTube comment said:

I am autistic and I find this video to be insulting, it makes me feel as if I am stupid not able to cope with anything. Not everyone with autism is like this. It makes people with autism look bad to others, we should be promoting how people with autism have positive traits not negative all the time.

But others shared a more positive response:

This is exactly what life is like for me! I am shocked and amazed at the accuracy. This made me cry with happiness as we (autistics) are finally being understood. I am proud to be autistic and I love my special autism traits. I also find life incredibly difficult and am glad this side of autism is being portrayed. I'm female and pleased to see a girl playing this role

These comments illustrate that every one experiences the world a little bit differently. It's part of what makes humanity beautiful.

The video concludes by saying, "Take a minute and give an autistic person more time to process information. Understand autism, the person, and the change you can make."

Holly's story is a reminder for all of us to show more empathy toward each other. If we all took a minute to better understand one another, the world would certainly be a friendlier place.

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For more information, visit www.autism.org.uk/TMI.

The Big Pig Project

RICHMOND, VA - Good Neighbor is happy to be a sponsor of The Big Pig Project benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a home away from home for families with children in the hospital.

Organizations in the community have partnered with RMHC by hand-painting concrete garden pigs that will be auctioned off on April 22nd. The money raised will go to support Richmond's Ronald McDonald House.

The Good Neighbor garden pig ("Mr. Pig") was hand-painted by the individuals at Good Neighbor Day Support, a place for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enjoy art, exercise, technology, and other enriching activities.

Follow Mr. Pig's big journey:

Mr. Pig before his makeover

Mr. Pig before his makeover

Individuals and staff at Day Support layering the first coat of paint

Individuals and staff at Day Support layering the first coat of paint

Concentration and precision is key!

Concentration and precision is key!

A personal touch :)

A personal touch :)

Mr. Pig gave everyone the opportunity to make their mark

Mr. Pig gave everyone the opportunity to make their mark

Mr. Pig is ready for the auction!

Mr. Pig is ready for the auction!

A big thank you to all the individuals and staff at Good Neighbor Day Support for their wonderful contribution to The Big Pig Project.

For more information on how you can support Ronald McDonald House Charities through the The Big Pig Project, visit RMHC Richmond.