Writing on the Wall: Fall 2021

wallresidences

The quarterly newsletter of Wall Residences: a Virginia agency who provides services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Services include sponsored residential, group homes, community engagement & community coaching, nursing, therapeutic consultation, and behavioral support. This issue highlights recent achievements of residents, providers, staff, and the agency as a whole during the third quarter of 2021.

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on the

Wall

Fall 2021

Love & Laughter:

The joy of doing life together. Page 6

4

New Growth

Wall Residences Therapeutic Consultation

team and services expand

5 6

A Life of Care

Wisdom from Kay Samuels and David

Sanders on choosing the Provider lifestyle

Pride & Strength

A devasting fire cannot deter the Wades and

the individuals they support from joy


Director’s Corner

John Weatherspoon

Proposed rate model fails to properly

address rising costs: Sponsored

providers hire and maintain trained,

qualified DSPs as employees in their

homes as relief/back-up staff and this

was not addressed as needed within

the proposed rate model recently

developed following the Burns &

Associates rate study. It also does not

appear the increased costs of running

a home in the current market were

accounted for, with the understanding

that Sponsored Homes have less income

due to limitations on the number

of individuals each home can serve.

While portions of the proposed rate

model take into account the increased

burden on sponsored agencies, it

failed to fully recognize the burden

being placed on Sponsors (Hosts) to

hire and maintain staff and run their

homes. Sponsored Providers are competing

with other programs, agencies,

and other business models to hire and

retain Direct Support Professionals as

relief staff. They are experiencing the

same need to increase hourly rates as

minimum wage is increased across

the Commonwealth and all sectors

struggle to find workers. Sponsored

Residential Providers in Virginia

serve individuals who have significant

medical and behavioral needs and

according to recent data 81% of the

individuals in Sponsored Residential

Services fall into the categories of

Tiers 3 & 4.

The proposed rate model for sponsored

residential does not include the

staff needed for the service within

the Home Payment line-item in the

rate model. During the 2020 refresh,

DBHDS and DMAS recognized this

and took an approach that needs to

be continued. During the refresh,

DBHDS and DMAS took the percentage

increase allotted to DSPs within

the Group Home rate model and

applied it to the Home Payment line

item within the Sponsored rate model.

Doing this during the refresh accounted

for the increased burden on Sponsors

(Hosts) to hire staff and maintain

their home. In the current proposed

rate model for 4 bed group homes the

DSP line item increased 32.41%. The

Home Payment line item for Sponsored

Residential Services was increased

10% Rest of State (ROS) and

7% Northern Virginia (NOVA), which

resulted in proposed overall increases

for July 1, 2022 averaging 13% ROS

and 10% NOVA.

The General Assembly recently supported

all HCBS rates being increased

by at least 12.5% from July 1, 2021 to

July 1, 2022. While this has not been

implemented by DMAS at the time

of this writing we are hopeful it will

be by this fall. Once implemented,

Sponsored Providers in Northern

Virginia will now experience a decrease

in funding on July 1, 2022 of

2-3% due to the problems with the

Home Payment Line Item while the

providers in ROS will receive minimal

increases of 0.3-1%. This is not

enough to support this key service

and will result in even fewer options

within the NOVA area.

The Commonwealth of Virginia

created this uniquely defined service

which is in its third decade of positively

impacting the lives of individuals

with developmental disabilities

across the state. Sponsored Residential

Services, while often compared to

other host home models, is unique to

2

Virginia. The Commonwealth elected

to impose requirements like those of

group homes upon licensed sponsored

homes and simultaneously embraced

the value of a family setting, integrated

into the local community.

Semi-annual reviews by the Independent

Reviewer for the US DOJ

Settlement found that individuals

served in Sponsored Residential

Homes are more closely connected

to the community, attain positive

health and quality of life outcomes,

and a remarkably high proportion of

those served have high support needs.

Licensing requirements of Sponsored

Residential Homes limit home capacity

to two individuals with DD and cap

the total number of persons who can

live in the home. This model results

in the provision of stable, long term

inclusive services and produces positive

outcomes for individuals electing

to receive Sponsored Residential.

The Commonwealth needs to support

and encourage the expansion of

Sponsored Residential Services and

promote this as a model the rest of

the country can look to use instead of

appearing to try to fit Sponsored Residential

into other models that DOJ

finds lacking in other states while our

model in Virginia consistently meets

DOJ expectations. Apply the same

assumptions used during the refresh

to the Home Payment Line Item in

the Proposed Rate Model.


Diversity Matters!

Wall Residences is excited to announce

the kick-off of the Diversity

Committee! This group of employees

volunteered or were nominated

due to their investment

in promoting and celebrating

diversity within our agency.

We just had our first meeting

and identified many focus

areas already.

Building trust. Speaking up

can be difficult. It takes courage

to share one’s own experiences,

as well as to speak up for others.

Proportionate Representation.

Many people wish to stay out of the

spotlight, but it is important our website,

newsletters, social media, and

other company materials reflect the

beautiful diversity within our agency.

Encouraging more people from

different backgrounds and life paths

to share their stories is an area of

opportunity for the committee.

Acknowledgement of each person’s

strengths and values. We want everyone

to feel that they have a voice,

and that their voice is heard!

Hiring practices. Though we

never know who will apply for

agency positions, if two candidates

are equally qualified, we

want to choose the one who

will bring unique personal and

professional perspectives and

experiences to the team.

We aim to create change through

action, not just words. Stay tuned

for further developments on this

important subject!

~Rebecca Ledingham

Training Updates

The Wall Residences Training Department

would like to thank everyone

for their continued patience when it

comes to scheduling and attending

our agency-held trainings. Over the

past year and a half, we have seen

many changes in how this department

operates. One particularly exciting

change is the implementation of our

training calendar! This new calendar

comes with some features that you

may not have had a chance to try out

yet. The most convenient is the ability

to search for a particular class type or

location. You also now have the ability

to see when a class is fully booked

without having to select or register for

said class first, a roll-over feature that

shows the list of registered attendees,

and a listed venue location.

With the roll out of this new calendar,

you may have noticed confirmation

emails that are received just moments

after your registration. These are a

very good way of keeping track of the

classes you’re registered to attend. If

you do not receive this email within

an hour of registration, please contact

the Training Department so we can

verify that your email address was

entered correctly. These emails are

also issued in the form of a reminder

and sent out three days before your

scheduled training.

It is important to note that some of

our classes have returned to being

held in person. When you register for

a class, please ensure that you verify

the location of the class. This location

is listed on the right side of the class

listing screen. If it is being held in a

virtual manner, the venue will be listed

as “online,” and if it is being held

in person, the venue will have the

address listed. Please be aware that

training links are sent from the trainers

anywhere between 72-12 hours

before the training begins. If you do

3

not receive your link, be sure to check

your spam or junk folder, then reach

out to the department for assistance.

NOTE: Some of our 32hr Medication

Administration classes are being

held in a hybrid format. Please read

the information in the listing as all

these classes require a hands-on

component!

We would like to remind you that our

registrations are disabled 72 hours

prior to the beginning of the class.

Please register for classes early as

they often fill up quickly! Should you

have any questions about trainings or

any issues with registering for a class

you are always welcome to contact

the Training Department at training@

wallresidences.com or Ashlyn

McDaniel at (540) 745-4908. We are

here to help you!

~Ashlyn McDaniel


Meet the

Team

Heather Cromer,

BCBA, LBA,

Director of Clinical and

Therapeutic Consultation Services

Hattie Singleton,

BCaBA, LaBA,

Therapeutic Consultant,

Danville/Central VA

Patience Holdren, BCBA, LBA,

Clinical ABA Coordinator, Roanoke

Meredith Kapalka, BCBA, LBA,

Therapeutic Consultant, SWVA

Stasi Formica, BCBA, LBA,

Therapeutic Consultant,

NRV/Roanoke

Heather Womack, BCBA, LBA,

Therapeutic Consultant, NRV/

Giles County Public Schools

Lori Klein, CCC-SLP,

Therapeutic Consultant

Cassie Foster, BCBA, LBA,

Lynchburg/Central VA

Maria Dilucente, BCBA, LBA,

Therapeutic Consultant,

Richmond

www.wallresidences.com

Exciting New Services

There’s been some very exciting

growth in the Wall Residences

Therapeutic Consultation services

and team. Our team now provides:

Behavioral

Therapeutic Consultation

This support system is available to

anyone who desires to learn new

skills, increase independence, realize

or live out their goals and dreams,

or develop more effective ways of

interacting with the people in their

lives. Each person, along with their

support team, works with a licensed

and/or certified clinician to create a

multi-faceted and person-centered

support plan to help them achieve

what is most important to and for

them. Our team of clinicians includes

board certified, licensed professionals

who bring a wide variety of skills and

experiences to support the Therapeutic

Consultation process.

In Action!

It takes a lot of energy to

keep up with Chelsea and

Provider Astrid Niemiec!

The two fun-loving

women share amazing

photos of the joy they

find and spread in their

community.

Submit your photos of

individuals, providers,

and staff to

marketing@

wallresidences.com.

Speech/Language

Therapeutic Consultation

This is a new service designed to help

people access functional communication.

Lori is able to assess communication

needs and provide teams access

to assistive technology and environmental

changes to support functional

communication.

Behavioral Consultation

with Public Schools

We are currently in a two year contract

with Giles County Schools. In addition

to the important care being provided,

this is an important connection for

us geographically. The relationships

being formed allow us to network with

potential providers in this region and

inform others about DD waiver and

transition services available through

Wall Residences. We are excited to

serve this community!

Direct Applied Behavioral Analysis

We will be offering Applied Behavioral

Analysis to children in-home and

in schools in Roanoke and the New

River Valley. A new clinic located in

Salem, Virginia is under construction

now! Our new clinic opens in late fall

2021.

Our team is here to support and serve

you. If these services interest you,

please visit the Therapeutic Consultation

page of our website and fill out

the online referral form.

~Heather Cromer

4


Start Every Day with Dancing

Some people were born to be caretakers.

Spend time with Providers

Kay Samuels and David Sanders, and

you’ll quickly realize that statement

applies in spades. While they’ve

only supported individuals Jordan

and Cody in their home for about

three years, their experience extends

back much further. Both cared for

aging parents and other family before

becoming foster parents. Over their

11 years as foster parents, they supported

18 youth, most often opening

their home and hearts to teens who

“needed a bit more support.” They did

not adopt, but maintain a relationship

with those now-adults, recounting

happily how the “kids” come in the

door for visits and immediately ask

“dad” what he’s cooking for dinner.

The couple also has a 23-year-old son

with developmental disabilities. As

they researched services available for

him, they also discovered the need

for providers to care for adults. What

they learned led to their transition to

becoming providers. Kay described it

as eye-opening. “I’m just doing what

I would want others to do for my son

if I wasn’t here.”

Cody and Jordan join us on the back

porch, and the warm relationship

shared by the couple and the two men

is immediately clear. Every interaction

is filled with kindness and understanding,

and an eye for maintaining

continual safety. Jordan talks about

how he likes the ability to earn money

helping with household jobs. Some

favorites include taking out the trash,

washing the car, and cutting the grass.

That income comes in handy because

he reveals he also likes to shop. “With

Ms. Kay, go to the stores,” he says,

with Five Below, the dollar store,

and Rose’s named as some of their

frequent destinations. Cody shares

his impressive collection of acorns,

feathers, and rubber, delighting in

the different textures as they brush

our fingertips. He is also musically

inclined, playing drums at church

and revealing a daily routine that

illuminates much about the joyful

philosophy of these providers’

approach to caretaking: they begin

each day dancing. Asked his favorite

song, Cody enthusiastically replies,

“I Have Plans!” (“Leave The Door

Open” by Bruno Mars.)

David and Kay are clear on the benefits

of the provider lifestyle they have

chosen. David notes he “enjoys going

out on adventures with the individuals”

who “give me a joy I wouldn’t

get otherwise.” Both are grateful

not to be tied to desk jobs, with the

flexibility and freedom to enjoy what

their city offers, the chance to travel,

and excellent work-life balance. Kay

shares, “Being a provider is special

to me. It gives me a warming, fuzzy

feeling to know I have the ability to

care for individuals who just need a

little help. It makes me happy.” They

also value the relationships with other

area providers and the community

they form together.

Who makes a good provider? Kay

has some words of wisdom. “Someone

who has a great heart, a lot of

patience, compassion, and the ability

to provide a safe and healthy life for

another individual. Someone who is

going to be passionate… to give a

hoot!... about what they are doing and

who they are doing it for, would be an

ideal candidate for this type of

providing work.”

~Angie Covington

David Sanders and Kay Samuels with

Cody (top) and Jordan (bottom)

5


Celebration After Adversity

Sully beams as he dances up the

driveway, decked out in rainbow gear

from head to toe. Michelle Livigne

meets him with a huge smile and

the two bounce up and down to the

music in an explosion of joy. The

individuals, providers, backup

workers, and friends lining the driveway

cheer. It’s a hot evening in late

June and a number of Richmond area

services have safely gathered outside

at the invitation of Dustin and Joe

Wade to celebrate Pride Month with

the Driveway Drag Show.

Also starring Wett Midler and reigning

Miss Gay Virginia Zoe Vuitton,

the Driveway Drag Show came about

during COVID as the brainchild of

professional drag queen Michelle

Livigne, who has performed over 700

of them since May of 2020. Livigne

notes, “This show (at the Wade

service) is one of my favorites.” The

spontaneous, heartfelt interaction

between the performers and audience

was a highlight of the show, with

clear respect running both directions.

Smiles and conversation flowed as

this community of individuals and

providers socialized safely outdoors.

All had come through the hardships

and isolation of the past year, but

for hosts Dustin and Joe Wade,

resilience through 2020 and 2021 had

an extra meaning. The couple and the

individuals they support survived a

devasting house fire in December of

2020. Thankfully the two were able

to safely get everyone out when their

home caught fire at 5:30am.

Despite losing irreplaceable belongings,

the two providers still radiate

positivity. “We will build back

better,” says

Dustin Wade. That

house is under

re-construction and they are now in

a home they worked with Wall Residences

to quickly ensure met all

licensing requirements. On this early

summer eve, outside their current

abode, this hardship is merely one past

challenge. Music plays, friends mingle,

and two communities the world

often marginalizes stand tall together.

Pride. Joy. Companionship.

Resilience. Love. Equality. Respect.

Community. So much to work toward,

but also so much to celebrate!

~Angie Covington

Charles (at left) and Sully (above) got in on the fun

dancing with Michelle Livigne during the show. See more

in our digital bonus on the last page!

Know Someone Who Could Benefit from Our Services?

The Wall Residences Admissions team has staff in all parts of the state to respond to your referral needs and

answer questions about the services we offer. We work quickly to find the right match for longterm success

while striving for the quickest placement in services possible. The Admissions Team is here to serve you.

www.wallresidences.com

Alex Jackson

Admissions

Director

(434) 610-7578

Emily Eagle

Central Virginia, Danville,

Charlottesville, Staunton/

Waynesboro/Lexington

(434) 907-5067

Ashea Green

Northern

Region

(202) 760-6411

Brooke Keen

Roanoke, NRV,

SWVA

(540) 541-8563

Lisa Schalasny

Eastern

Region

(804) 380-4309

6


We Take Care of Each Other

Four F’s clearly form the guiding

principles of Provider Damion

Neblett’s home: faith, fun, food, and

family. Underlying all of these is

deep respect and affection that runs

between Damion and the two young

men he supports, Nate and Jabari.

Jabari cements this, “Damion is good.

Damion is smart. Damion is my provider

and Damion is a good person.

He’s trustworthy for me and lets me

be responsible.” That responsibility

includes being a valued team member

at his job of three years as a dishwasher

at Earth Fare. His dependability and

attitude have his co-workers labeling

him “rock star” and even resulted in

a recent raise! Damion is clearly just

as fond of Jabari as Jabari is of him,

lifting up how he can find the positive

in any situation and the fun conversations

they have... sometimes in character

as favorite movie characters.

Jabari continues, “He makes sure we

do things we want and like what we

have in our rooms and stuff... that

we have what we like to eat.” This is

where the other member of the household

plays a starring role. Damion’s

sister and back-up worker, KaShonna

Sheppard is, according to all three

men, a fabulous cook! In fact, it was

her cooking that led to Nate communicating

with them for the first time using

words. Nate is fluent at expressing

his feelings, needs, and wants through

body language and facial expressions,

but Damion shares that when he is

very excited, Nate will sometimes

choose a word to express himself. The

first time was when KaShonna was

offering choices for lunch and before

she could finish her sentence, Nate

excitedly burst out, “Nuggets!” Nate

affirms with a nod and big grin that

he feels supported here and free to

express himself however he chooses.

Damion shares, “Nate is one of the

sweetest, kindest, most fun loving

people I’ve ever had the pleasure of

meeting.” He goes on to describe

Nate’s patience when they were first

together and learning to communicate

well together, ending with, “Now, it’s

like clockwork. Nate, he just does.

He’s incredible.” Nate nods enthusiastically,

his face lighting up as Damion

and Jabari describe the three riding

a rollercoaster at a theme park.

Damion, Jabari, and Nate love to have

fun together, reveling in the opportunity

their flexible schedule provides

of going to the movies and bowling

when they have the places all to

themselves. As they recount the places

they like to go and things they like

to do, church comes up as a favorite.

“Jabari’s faith life is amazing,” says

Damion, who is also a preacher. “Jabari’s

prayer life is so awesome. He

lives Psalm 91 - one of my favorites -

and it blesses me. It touches me.” He

shares that Nate loves going to church

because he gets to see all his friends.

7

The three are also involved in LIT

ministry at Radford, helping with that

program. Church is a clear cornerstone

of their lives.

Laughter echoes across the porch

almost continually during our conversation

but Damion gets very serious

when he shares the impact the two

have on his life. “I tell their families

all the time... they are the best thing

to happen to my life... they really are.

I would not trade anything to have the

two of these... these guys... they are

my family, my friends, my teachers

and instructors... because they teach

me ways about myself I didn’t know

existed.” Asked how he’d describe the

work of a provider, Damion describes

it as a calling. “Every day you have to

wake up and say, ‘How can I benefit...

how can I bless... someone else? And

they always pour into me so I just

love to pour back.” In the end though,

he feels his calling is quite simple.

“It’s life. We just live. We take care of

each other.”

~Angie Covington

Jabari, Nate, Damion Neblett, and KaShonna Sheppard


New Skills, New Roles

Wall Residences is commited to being

a place where a longtime career has

opportunities for professional growth

and development. We know a long

tenure also gives each person the best

chance to positively influence our organization

through their unique ideas,

experience, and perspective. In return,

our Employee Stock Ownership Program

best benefits employees who are

part of our team for many years.

As employees gain new skills, degrees,

and certifications, we see

exciting promotions occur. Jalisa

Broggin shared one such example of

an employee’s exciting growth with

Wall Residences. Jalisa notes, “Ashley

Harris started with the agency in

November 2018. She worked as a

WRAP DSP and was truly an asset

to our program.” During this time,

she was also working to complete her

bachelor’s degree in human services

with a minor in psychology, while

continuing her role as a wife and

mother. Ashley balanced the demands

of all three beautifully, and when she

received her degree, Jalisa strongly

encouraged her to look at Program

Manager positions. Jalisa was sure

Ashley would be an asset to the company

in this new role. Ashley is now

a Program Manager for our Central

Virginia Group Homes, doing exceptional

work. She’s recently returned

to school for a Master’s Degree in

Human Services with a concentration

in Counseling. Jalisa continues, “I

appreciate the company and how it

gives employees the opportunity for

upward mobility, and truly allows

us to utilize our skills to serve the

individuals we support.”

Ashley Harris is putting her

freshly earned degree to work with

a new role at Wall Residences

Ashley is one shining example of

growth and opportunity within Wall

Residences. Read the Friday updates

and you’ll notice most leadership

level jobs being filled from within,

as our employees seek new ways to

positively influence the important

work done by the agency!

Editor’s Note: Dustin Wade should have appeared on the 2021 Provider Honor Roll in our summer edition as a five year provider.

Digital Bonus

At left, an extra peek at the fun of the Pride Event held at the Wade service

in June (story on page 6). Below, summer has meant sunshine, waves, sand,

parks, and more for individuals, providers, and staff at Wall Residences.

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