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Dear Friends of ORP,
Welcome to the 2013 annual report for Oconomowoc Residential Programs (ORP). In 2013, we continued
to pursue our mission to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. We also witnessed some
significant changes in our programs and focus.
2013 closed with two fewer companies in the ORP Family than when the year began. First, we made the
difficult decision to close Warner Transitional Services in Indianapolis. Second, we transferred Spectrum
Community Services to another provider who we believed would take good care of our clients and staff.
While we were sad to say goodbye to the people we served in those programs, with this decision we could
shift our energy and attention to opportunities that represent a better strategic fit for our organization.
2013 saw the fruits of an effort to update the marketing and branding of the children’s programs in Wisconsin
and Indiana. New websites, marketing brochures, and brand books fostered a contemporary and professional
image. Rebranding helped Genesee Lake School (GLS) attract record levels of interest from children and
families. GLS acquired Homegrown Farm and made it an integral part of its educational and therapeutic
experience. And Prader-Willi Homes of Oconomowoc received a license to operate the first home in the
nation serving children with that syndrome, scheduled to open in 2014.
Last year we continued to develop ways to expand services by applying our expertise in new settings, such
as community-based day schools. The Richardson School in Beloit, Wisconsin, went from an expression
of interest by the local school district, to open for business, within 90 days. And in Lafayette, Indiana, we
acquired a building that in spring 2014 became the home of T.C. Harris Academy, a new day school just a
stone’s throw from T.C. Harris School.
OCONOMOWOC RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS: ALL COMPANIES
Individuals served Hours of care
Number of employees (as of 12/31/13)
Hours of service by employees
1,653
7,362,226
1,787
3,200,841
Another 2013 innovation was the ORP Library (ORP.com/Library), a series of books, comics, and education
curriculum that place a spotlight on the difficult journeys taken by the individuals and families we serve.
Through the Library, we hope we can help in educating and empowering those who must navigate complex
funding systems to care for their loved ones with significant needs.
Meanwhile, Adult Services adapted to rapidly changing customer demands. Homes for Independent Living
(HIL) strengthened its ability to support clients with behavioral issues and mental health needs. HIL continued
to work actively with the State of Wisconsin to create a desperately needed Crisis Respite Program.
Prader-Willi Homes of Oconomowoc set the stage to launch its Day Rise day services program in 2014.
2013 offered its share of challenges and opportunities. But with our team of nearly 2,000 dedicated employee
owners, the future has no bounds
James G. Balestrieri
Chief Executive Officer
Committed to Quality Care, Compassion and Community
Oconomowoc Residential Programs, Inc.
P.O. Box 278
Dousman, WI 53118
Phone 262.569.5515
Fax: 262.569.9962
ORP.com
Terrence J. Leahy
Chief Operating Officer
Adam Whitehill
Chief Financial Officer
“Underneath Nya’s self-injurious behaviors and
aggression, we saw potential,” says Chris Johns, a teacher
at The Richardson School. “It was our job to bring that
potential out.”
Nya’s father is a member of the United States Armed
Forces and relocated from Georgia to Wisconsin with his
family. Nya had struggled at the Georgia school she had
attended for children with special needs. Her parents
had begun to wonder if their hopes for Nya were simply
unrealistic.
Nya needed to wear a helmet to prevent self-injury. She
was in and out of behavioral health clinics and could
communicate only with simple noises. Over time, her
aggressive behaviors escalated, eventually requiring
one-on-one supervision. Simple activities, like walking,
were nearly impossible without staff assistance.
Nya’s parents were hoping The Richardson School
would provide a fresh start. The Richardson School
is a therapeutic day school focused on the needs of
children, adolescents and young adults with significant
disabilities and behavior disorders. With the two
campuses of The Richardson School, and two other day
schools in Wisconsin and Indiana, ORP operates a total
of four day schools serving the daytime educational and
treatment needs of children living at home.
Nya’s needs were extreme, Chris says. “Her sensory
needs were beyond anything I had ever experienced in
my career, and we needed to create a solid plan if Nya
was going to progress.”
Nya’s family sat down with the professional staff of
The Richardson School. Together they decided on a
set of specific goals. At the top of the list was better
communication, less aggression, and fewer instances of
self-injurious behavior.
“Setting expectations is so important,” Chris says. “Every
single staff member, every single day, needs to be
on the same page. That consistency, combined with
patience, respect, and a nurturing environment is the
key to success.”
The Richardson School relied on photo-based
communication and speech therapy to help Nya
communicate. Slowly and carefully, the staff helped Nya
reduce her dependence on sensory pacifiers.
The hard work has paid off – Nya has blossomed.
Self-injuries have gone down dramatically, her mood is
better, and she can use photographs to express herself.
And she loves school! Each morning, Nya waits at the
window for The Richardson School van to pick her up,
and she doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day.
LaTanya, Nya’s mother, is thrilled with the progress that
Nya has made.
“As a family, we are blessed and fortunate to have
our child thriving in a safe, compassionate school
environment.”
According to Chris, the sky is the limit for Nya.
“Her incredible progress in such a short period of time is
nothing short of amazing. I’m very proud of her.”
workplace behavior, like staying on task, producing
quality work, and maintaining a positive attitude. “Soft
skills” that many take for granted – such as punctuality
and communication – are a centerpiece of Vocational
Services. Students have the opportunity to work for
wages on-site at Homegrown Farm or in other campus
settings.
Erika Boettcher, Vocational Program Coordinator, knew
Mikayla would be a great fit.
It’s been said that holding a job instills confidence,
self-worth, and independence. A living example is
Mikayla.
Mikayla’s journey started at a Genesee Lake School
group home, where she learned independent living
skills. Although she wanted to get a job, her clinical
diagnosis made it difficult to see how she could find
work in any setting.
But Genesee Lake School recently expanded its offering
of Vocational Services. These services mirror community
employment settings and emphasize appropriate
“I knew that Mikayla had the skills necessary to be
successful. She just needed soft skills coaching and
reinforcement. She is very smart and capable.”
Mikayla’s typical day starts at 9 a.m. She offers the goats
food, water, and of course, all the attention they crave.
Next she heads to the chicken coop, where she collects,
washes and packages the eggs. She can also be seen
some days in the greenhouse, planting flowers and
watering plants.
To be sure, the first few weeks on the job were not easy.
Mikayla struggled to complete tasks in an efficient
sequence and simple frustrations occasionally led to
angry outbursts and behaviors. But Erika continued to
work closely with her, modeling correct behaviors and
solving problems together. Before long, Mikayla was
able to put those lessons into practice.
In the few months since she began, Mikayla has been
asked to continue her employment at Homegrown
Farm. Her decision-making, communication, and
professionalism have improved dramatically. She is able
to handle situations appropriately and take pride in her
work, which has given her a positive outlook all around.
“Since Mikayla began her job, it has changed her life. She
loves her work so much that she stays in control of her
emotions as not to jeopardize her job,” Erika says.
The future is bright for Mikayla. She will continue to gain
new responsibilities at the Farm and will soon receive
counseling to prepare for the next step – employment in
the community.
challenges, and despite the best efforts of the teachers,
Dylan and Tiffany were struggling.
Dennis and Trish admit their story is atypical, but they
wouldn’t want it any other way. “It’s definitely chaotic at
times,” Trish says with a smile, “but we love it.”
The enjoyable chaos might have something to do with
the size of their family. They are the proud parents of
twelve children, some biological, some adopted. Four
children have special needs, including Dylan and Tiffany.
Dylan and Tiffany are students at T.C. Harris School,
where they are happy and thriving. Just a few years ago,
Dennis and Trish would have thought that impossible.
Before enrolling at T.C. Harris School, the two children
attended a public elementary school. The school
staff was poorly equipped to handle their behavioral
Tiffany was often aggressive and confrontational.
By sixth grade, she had injured other students and
had caused two teachers to be hospitalized. Dylan
wasn’t faring much better. Sometimes he acted in
self-destructive ways, on occasion even pulling out his
feeding tube.
“The teachers weren’t trained to handle situations like
this. It was only a matter of time before more people got
hurt. We felt utterly helpless,” says Dennis.
While other kids their age were focused on having fun,
or attending school functions with friends, Dylan and
Tiffany were on the outside looking in.
Dennis and Trish knew in their hearts that something
needed to change. After a brief search, they found
T.C. Harris School.
School staff worked closely with Dylan and Tiffany to
identify their strengths and weaknesses. Supported
by clear goals, specialized therapy, patience, and
consistency, Dylan and Tiffany began to improve.
Tiffany’s explosive, angry outbursts have become a
rarity, replaced with laughter and joy. She now enjoys a
close group of friends and finds it easier to trust other
people, including the T.C. Harris School staff. Dylan
no longer engages in self-injurious behavior and his
outbursts are far less frequent. Both have been able to
move past their behaviors and focus on the positive
parts of their education and social life.
“It’s amazing to see Tiff at prom, surrounded by friends,
or to see Dylan at the school science fair. They’re normal
here, just like any other child, and that means everything
to us. T.C. Harris School has helped us as much as our
children,” Trish says.
services. For J.J., HIL developed a behavioral support
plan that included strategies to help him process his
emotions in a positive way.
When J.J. first arrived at Homes for Independent Living
(HIL), his behaviors made the normal activities of daily
living seem like a distant dream. When he was angry,
J.J. tried to bite staff members or destroy property.
Everyday activities, like taking a walk, were not easy,
and the prospect of community outings seemed all but
impossible.
For example, HIL used “social stories,” a therapy
technique designed to reduce J.J.’s anxiety surrounding
everyday activities. The staff took photos showing J.J.
enjoying activities like riding a bike, playing a game,
or taking a walk. When he faced a decision on which
activity to pursue, HIL staff presented J.J. with photos
showing alternative activities. He could pick out one to
express what he wanted to do.
“We knew we were going to have to do things
differently with J.J.,” says Tami Rich, HIL Program
Coordinator. “It was clear that if we didn’t address his
behaviors, J.J. would never be truly happy.”
“The photos helped him recall enjoying the activities at
an earlier time,” Tami explains. “And soon, he associated
each activity with happiness and positivity. Giving him
a choice also helped him gain a sense of independence
and control.”
HIL has created special supports for individuals
with significant behavioral challenges, and is seeing
significant growth in the demand for those specialized
HIL staff also spent time to identify J.J.’s body language,
sounds and movements that might indicate imminent
negative behaviors. Now that they thoroughly
understand his triggers, HIL staff can help J.J. stay
comfortable.
“It’s that deep care, attentiveness, and patience that sets
HIL apart from the rest,” Tami said.
Despite his rocky start, J.J. now loves community
outings. He enjoys hayrides in the fall, trips to the
grocery store, bike rides in the neighborhood, and
dinner excursions to crowded restaurants.
His attitude has also improved. Now that his outbursts
are rare, J.J. gets along well with other residents, is
engaged in life, and is truly happy.
“I love seeing J.J. laugh, smile, and sing,” Tami said. “He’s
made incredible progress and it’s only going to get
better.”
Oconomowoc Residential Programs, Inc.
P.O. Box 278
Dousman, WI 53118
Phone 262.569.5515
Fax: 262.569.9962
ORP.com
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