In full disclosure, Jason happens to be my husband, however, he is absolutely a front line hero! He worked tirelessly, every single day, often on the weekends, throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2020 at United Cerebral Palsy, as the Director of Facilities. His direct oversight included managing all facility staff for the agency, and building oversight for their residential homes and schools, along with their main office buildings. Responsible for the PPE acquisition and distribution, setting up a Covid overflow site in the very beginning in the event they had to quarantine any of their residents, building safety partitions so folks could safely come back to programs, and coordinating all of the health and safety protocols and training for cleaning and disinfecting, which intensified because of Covid, as well as the ongoing regular maintenance responsibilities. The maintenance teams were always on call, the first ones on sites, and Jason managed the staffing, the support and the overall impact, with calmness and fervor. His background in disaster response work at The Salvation Army really came into hand in this role, and his efforts, loyalty and overall efficacy, maintained a very safe working and living environment for residents and staff. While we stayed home, Jason went to work every day, keeping UCP’s staff and residents safe.
Connie Cerrato is a VP at Madonna Heights, SCO Family of Services. She did her best to make all employees were a safe, made sure everyone had gloves, masks, hand sanitizers, , temp are taken every day. Staff were encouraged to work from home if possible. Staff were moved to make the proper distancing was done, changed hours if necessary. Connie set up a testing site on campus for all our programs, one day a week staff can utilize this, it is a great relief to have that here. Connie has made sure we are all safe, she made a huge difference during this pandemic-with a smile on her face each day.
Throughout the pandemic these volunteers headed by Supervisor Diane has ensured that agencies are provided with essential food items for their clients. Rain or shine they are present ,pleasant and extremely caring.
Island harvest Team at the Holly patterson food siteNew Ground,Inc.
Family Service League’s senior management team would like to nominate our CEO, Karen Boorshtein for this award. Karen has always been an exemplary leader, but the true test of any leadership is during extreme adversity. In the last year, Karen has demonstrated the breadth and scope of her attributes as a leader, facing head-on the myriad challenges and steadily guiding the Agency and staff through the chaotic times. She not only dealt swiftly and flexibly with the COVID pandemic, but also responded with great sensitivity to the issues of race and societal turmoil that unfolded in the wake of the George Floyd murder, focusing on how these events affected our workforce, our clients, and looking inward at how Family Service League should and could become more attuned around diversity and inclusion.
As soon as COVID hit, Karen collaborated with the senior management team to ensure that the entire workforce could continue meeting the needs of those we serve — many of whom are among the most vulnerable in our community — but doing so in a virtual environment, keeping staff and clients safe. Some of the Agency’s staff had to continue delivering services face-to-face, including our homeless shelters, our ACT Teams, and our DASH program. All staff were provided with the technology and PPE needed to continue to seamlessly deliver program services. With Karen’s leadership, we were also able to garner funding to cover some of the costs of these needed items as well as resources to help those most in need: those who lost employment and were dealing with food and housing insecurity as well as coping with the threats of COVID.
In fact, an organization as large as FSL and providing so many critical services in person, may not have survived these concurrent crises had Karen not balanced the services FSL provides along with the needs of the staff in an unprecedented way. Everybody’s needs were met and, through the bolstered strength provided by this attentiveness, the clients continued to receive services uninterrupted, which speaks to our mission.
In response to the issues of race, in June and throughout the summer under Karen’s stewardship, we had speakers provide training on racism and white privilege, staff were provided with numerous resources and activities, and we formed a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, all of which has fostered a more inclusive environment. These activities are now ongoing.
Additional evidence of Karen’s strong leadership is FSL’s Top Workplace Award for the last three years. Based on an independent survey of FSL staff, the agency scored in the 98th percentile in performance and leadership was highlighted as well. The score was so impressive the results were entered against the National program, and FSL Won Top Workplaces USA for 2020 again scoring exceptionally high against like agencies across the country. Another agency accolade recently earned is the Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Whole Health Heroes award given by Crain’s. This regional award was only given to 50 agencies and bears Karen’s name.
Karen is a strong and compassionate leader. She embodies numerous key leadership qualities including being strategic, collaborative, nimble, calm and steady; she has integrity, humility and compassion; she knows and mobilizes her strengths and recognizes, relies on and celebrates the complementary attributes of others. It is an honor to work with and for her.
Sam is a food deliverer for Hatzilu. He picks up food for us every Wednesday morning from Island Harvest’s truck. He delivers food regularly to several families. What makes him special is that he makes emergency food deliveries all over Nassau County . We get referrals from state agencies for families quarantined. Sam immediately delivers food to them. He can always be counted on and never says no.
Maria is a caring and patient individual who puts her Clients at the forefront of her everyday work. Her professional approach to providing service is second to her compassionate approach that she gives to every client. I know this because they also call me and tell me how wonderful Maria is and how she listened to them and made them feel special. Maria is my teammate on HWCLI’s Nutrition Team and she also helps keep me grounded and motivated along with the other wonderful Teammates like Carolina and our Supervisor Tommi-Grace. I must say, without their constant communication and uplifting words it would have been a tough task to do remote work from home. This whole team should deserve a mention, but Maria for me is a mention because of her dedication to her community and HWCLI’s goal and vision for a more prosperous and fair LI.
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Established in 1947, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI) is a regional, nonprofit umbrella organization for health and human service providers. We are dedicated to improving the lives of Long Island’s most vulnerable residents by responding to their needs through the promotion and development of public policies and direct services.
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