As a combined organization serving Dutchess, Sullivan and Orange Counties - The Arc Greater Hudson Valley is embarking on an exciting journey to build upon our years of excellence and strengthen us for the future – to ensure we are truly ‘Greater Together’.
Over the past two months we engaged Lou Radja - an internationally known speaker, facilitator and consultant - to guide us in a number of conversations about what we learned in the last year and a half, where we are now, and how best to move forward.
We gleaned quite a lot from these conversations – most importantly we learned that our staff firmly believe in and relate to our mission and believe that we as an organization put the people we support first in all that we do.
While this is heartening to hear, it does not mean we don’t have work to do today to build a better future for our organization.
We also heard quite clearly that we can improve in three major areas:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
In order to foster an environment of true diversity in our agency - where everyone’s voices are heard, experiences are celebrated, and opportunity and access are equitable - we need to undertake a deliberate, brave, and comprehensive initiative to lead us into the future. The Arc of the United States and The Arc New York are developing a comprehensive DEI strategy and we need to not only participate in this strategic process, but take clear action steps to implement more equitable practices across the agency. We understand difficult conversations will need to take place for us to truly embrace the changes that will build an organization reflective of these ideas - we pledge to see this through and hope that you will, as well. If you’d like to get involved with our DEI Initiative, please contact Regina Donnelly at RDonnelly@arcghvny.org.
Mission, Vision, Values
Our mission has always been clear, as have our values. We have always been an organization that puts the people we support first and enables them to fully participate in society in meaningful ways. As our organization has grown, we’ve learned that the way we hold ourselves accountable to our mission and values has become less clear. We will be working with stakeholders within and outside of our agency to clearly define how our mission, vision and values relate to the work we do, and the ways we will hold ourselves accountable to them and to each other.
As our organization has grown and changed, and roles within the organization also changed, our traditional methods of communication have not consistently allowed us to hear each other as clearly or as frequently as we would like. The first step to tackling this issue is to fully understand the problem. We are launching an internal communications survey, links to which were distributed through all major channels (as well as a pop up link on our intranet home page), in late July. We will be analyzing and sharing the results of this, as well as using it to inform next steps in improving our communication methods.
In addition to this survey, we have started the process of integrating our phone system across all counties of operation – this will enable dialing by extension from all sites to all sites, and enable a single point of contact for families and others trying to reach us. This project has completed in Sullivan County, and is underway in Orange County – Dutchess County will be brought onto the new system once the set up in Orange County is completed. Our IT team has worked hard to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible for us and so far, staff report great satisfaction with the new system.
We look forward to building a greater organization with you!