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Our World Volume 2, Issue 3: Spring 2011 | The Bancroft NewsletterOvercoming autismFormer Bancroft student Robbie Davis fitsright in with his public-school peers.Robbie Davis isn’t your average Such struggles led the9-year-old. A top student and talented Davises to Bancroft’sathlete, Robbie is above average in lots preschool program (nowof ways. the Early Education But just a few years ago, Robbie Program, for kids agesfaced many challenges. Diagnosed on 3 - 9). And there, Robbiethe autism spectrum at about age 3, blossomed. So muchthe sandy-haired boy could only speak so, that he was able toa few words. He couldn’t hold crayons start kindergarten at hisor utensils, for lack of fine-motor community elementaryabilities. And he didn’t make eye school at age 5, after justcontact or interact with others. two years at Bancroft. Robbie Davis poses after a car race, with his award and his dad Robert. “Robbie couldn’t request anything,” Today, Robbie is in a Robbie received life-changing services at Bancroft several years ago.says his mom, Colleen Davis. And he standard third-grade class,would “kick, scream and tantrum” in and requires no special from the neighborhood. He’s on thefrustration. “He was beating me every assistance. He has four or five “good “Principal’s List” for his good grades.other day.” buddies,” says his mom — typical kids And he plays soccer and street hockey, and competes in quarter-midget car racing. Hospital leader is new board chairman When he first arrived at Bancroft, staff members knew Robbie had a lot Bancroft has named a top healthcare of potential. And they were quickly executive as chairman of our board of proven right. trustees. The president and CEO of Kennedy “After four weeks at Bancroft, Health System, operator of three Robbie said ‘More juice please, South Jersey hospitals, Martin A. Mommy.’ I almost fell over!” recalls Bieber has more than 30 years of Colleen. experience as a healthcare executive “Once he started talking, his and administrator. language really took off,” says Bancroft He succeeds Joseph Atkinson, board teaching assistant Colleen Biemiller. chairman since 2007. “Communication made a huge “We are so fortunate to be passing the gavel from one superb leader to impact in Robbie’s life — with his peer another,” says Bancroft President Toni interaction, his teachers and his family.” Martin Bieber (right) accepts the chairman’s gavel from Joe Atkinson (center), former head of Bancroft’s board, Pergolin. “Martin will help us continue and Bancroft President Toni Pergolin. strengthening Bancroft for today and the future.” (continued on p. 3) Inside Mom spearheads Events reveal life Residential options this issue 2 advocacy efforts 3 after brain injury 4 for adults abound
Seizing the possibilities At Bancroft, we don’t just accept things the way they are; we seek ways to make them better. Through hard work and perseverance, we help people achieve amazing things. We’ve seen this time and time again. Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting a series of events marking Brain Injury Awareness Month. Three special evenings — called “Bancroft Unplugged: One world, many stories” — spotlighted people we’ve helped through our brain-injury programs. They spoke about overcoming major obstacles to lead full lives (see coverage on next page). Their stories were both heart-rending and inspirational. Many used the opportunity to thank staff members, family and others for their support. One woman even thanked Margaret Bancroft for founding the organization! The audiences gained a fuller understanding of both the difficulties and possibilities after such life-altering injuries. How very motivating this was for everyone — and a reminder that we take so much for granted. Our mission states that we help people achieve “their life goals as valued and respected members of our world.” It’s a simple yet powerful message. As we conquer each challenge we face, we become stronger and energized to do more. Bancroft’s mission is ongoing. Each day, we rely on the dedicated service, financial support and assistance of families, staff members and other friends to conquer challenges. Please join us as we work to transform our world for the benefit of so many. Spotlight on: Donna Icovino Donna Icovino is making the world a better place for people with disabilities, especially those with “dual diagnoses” — developmental and mental-health issues. Since her son Michael had a severe behavioral crisis seven years ago — and suffered from the lack of crisis services for people with such complex needs — Donna has dedicated herself to changing that situation. “I never want what happened to Michael to happen to anyone else’s loved one,” she says, recalling her son’s traumatic experiences when he was inappropriately placed in a psychiatric hospital. Donna’s advocacy has led to the creation of New Jersey’s Dual Diagnosis Task Force, which she co-chairs. This high-level team has developed a plan for creating and increasing crisis services statewide. She has co-authored the “Family Crisis Handbook” with expert Lucille Esralew, Ph.D., and the pair train families and clinicians across the state. “Donna recognizes how important it is for people with dual diagnoses to be In addition to her statewide advocacy, Donna treated for their issues,” notes Dan Keating, Ph.D., Bancroft’s family advocate. serves on a Bancroft board, our Family Council, Indeed, her commitment extends from the Statehouse to anyone’s house, as and a program advisory committee. Here, she Donna advises individual families — even taking their emergency phone calls in receives an advocacy award from the New the middle of the night. “Families are terribly overburdened,” she says. Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. “This is also a human rights issue. We all deserve the opportunity to actively participate in this world, and to live happy and fulfilling lives.” Note: Both the task force report and the crisis handbook are available at the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities website. Making it One World. For Everyone.Page 2
Robbie Davis:A third-grade success story(continued from cover) “When Robbie left Bancroft hewas amazingly social,” remarks EarlyEducation Program Principal MatthewSharp, noting that social skills areespecially challenging for people onthe autism spectrum. At Bancroft, Robbie took part ina full day of structured educationalactivities. In addition to socialization,he learned typical preschool academicskills like identifying shapes, colors,numbers and letters. Staff membersalso addressed Robbie’s behavioralissues, and provided therapies toenhance his speech and motor skills. A group from Bancroft Brain Injury Services in Plainsboro, N.J., is all smiles after their “Unplugged” event. “We have a limited amount of The evening of short, autobiographical speeches was also held at Bancroft in Brick and Cherry Hill.time to get our students preparedacademically, socially, physically andbehaviorally, so they’re ready to go ‘Bancroft Unplugged’ eventsback to their school district,” saysSharp. “We really maximize their day tell inspiring personal stories— it’s intense learning.” Bart George was injured in a logging Said Joyce Toy, at the Brick Robbie is a case in point. “He was very accident. Alisa Griffith was struck by a “Unplugged” event: “After my injury,well-prepared academically” upon leaving car. And Myles Mittleman fell down a I could not read, [write] or rememberBancroft, says Colleen Davis. “After two flight of stairs while having a seizure. most things. I can now read booksdays [in kindergarten], he was already While each sustained a brain injury and remember what I read… I wouldreading, because Bancroft had started from a different cause, all have made not be where I am today withouthim on sight-reading and phonics.” tremendous progress toward recovery, Bancroft.” Robbie started kindergarten in a and are grateful for the abilities they’ve Each “Unplugged” speaker offeredregular classroom, but with a personal regained. unique insights, while all were inspiringaid. By the end of first grade, Robbie The tales of their struggles and in their accomplishments and attitudes.no longer needed an aid nor speech triumphs — and those of 15 others — “Bancroft Unplugged has been sotherapy. In another year, he was able were highlighted in a series of March successful,” says Cynthia Boyer, Ph.D.,to drop both occupational (fine-motor) events marking Brain Injury Awareness senior clinical director of Bancroft Brainand physical therapy. Month, titled “Bancroft Unplugged: Injury Services. “His second-grade teacher said she One world, many stories.” “From a rehabilitation standpoint,would have never known” that Robbie Three special evenings — held these events helped people practicehad a disability, says Colleen. “Most separately in Brick, Plainsboro, and many important skills — such aspeople cannot tell. Cherry Hill, N.J. — centered on brief, memory, attention, speech, and self- “I think the future is really wide open heartfelt speeches by people served by awareness,” she explains.for him,” remarks Colleen, noting that Bancroft Brain Injury Services. “And from a public perspective,Robbie wants to be a doctor. “I have learned to make the most they helped raise awareness of both “If not for the interventions of the of what I can do,” said speaker the impact of brain injury and thetalented professionals at Bancroft, Dan Livecchi, before 120 guests great progress people with brainRobbie wouldn’t be completely at the Cherry Hill “Unplugged” injuries can make.”mainstreamed, with no aids, and doing event. “After my brain injury, I lost For more information on Bancroftall the things he does independently. confidence… Now I’m able to do Brain Injury Services, visit bancroft.org “He’s a different child now,” adds things independently that help me feel or call (856) 616-6454.the grateful mom. “He’s happy.” better about myself.” Page 3
| Bancroft Community Residential Services for Adults | A range of Supporting life goals, dreams homes and Choices. for adults with developmental disabilities are all about. That one word describes what Bancroft’s residential programs services Whether it’s the choice of how to spend one’s free time, or the option of a wide range of support levels, Bancroft can meet the needs of each adult in its • More than 100 homes and continuum of residential programs. apartments in the community. “Because of Bancroft’s size, we are able to offer people many, many options,” • Staffing levels range from says Clair Rohrer, senior operations director of Bancroft’s New Jersey programs for intensive to highly independent, adults with developmental disabilities. depending on individual needs. “But we’re also able to keep individual programs small,” she notes. “Most of • Person-centered approach our homes in the community, for instance, have no more than four residents, puts the focus on the individual’s which enables us to provide plenty of personal attention.” strengths and desires. Bonnie Davis enjoys living in a garden apartment in a large Voorhees, N.J., • Clinical supports are complex. available, including behavioral “I live by myself — that’s my choice,” says the highly independent 56-year-old, planning and support, and nurse who first came to Bancroft in the late 1970s. “I can relax and do what I want to case management. do, when I want to do it.” • Clinical best practices, Bonnie participates in the Milestone Program — Bancroft’s most independent including ABA (applied behavior level of residential services — which provides up to ten hours a week of staff analysis), are used. support. For Bonnie, most of that assistance centers on budgeting her money, • Meaningful day activities. paying bills, and following an exercise routine. All program participants hold “The staff are good,” she says. “They care. If we need something, we can pick jobs, volunteer positions, or up the phone and they’re there.” attend day programs to further Ari Rubenstein requires more support — which he gets in his nearby group home. their vocational and/or life skills There, two staff members assist Ari and his three housemates with a variety and goals. of skills during days and evenings, and one awake staff member remains in the • Community participation comfortably appointed rancher overnight. and involvement are maintained “All three of his needs are met in his residential placement,” says mom Randee at a high level, including a wide Rubenstein, referring to Ari’s neurological disabilities, physical challenges and variety of recreational and leisure deafness. “He’s made remarkable progress at Bancroft.” activities. Ari is working on such daily-living abilities as preparing his lunch and cleaning • Opportunities for self- up afterwards. A fan of celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray, the 28-year-old advocacy, continuing education, hopes such skills will lead to a volunteer job in a kitchen. Special Olympics participation “I like to cook pasta,” he reports, when asked for his favorite recipe. and more. “Ari has better feelings about himself because he’s given the ability to make • Other residential programs choices,” says Randee. “He feels really good about who he is and where he is.” are available, including campus Bruce Chapin likes “to go to the gym and work out,” among other activities. settings for those who require The 43-year-old lives in a Voorhees apartment with two longtime friends. Staffing greater supports and supervision. is only needed in the evening and on weekends, thanks to the roommates’ abilities and mutual support. For more information, “They chose each other,” says staff member Dwight Castellanos. “They’ve visit bancroft.org or created their own ‘family.’ They do all their celebrations here — Thanksgiving, New call 1-800-774-5516. Years, Christmas dinner. Bruce has his own life, separate from his family.” That life is very active, notes Castellanos: filled with dinner parties, vacations, restaurant meals, Special Olympics competitions and more. Says Bruce: “I like it here.”Page 4
Ari Rubenstein Learning to communicate For Ari Rubenstein, who is deaf, much of his well-being is tied to his communication skills. That’s no problem in his Bancroft-run home, where Ari’s peers and staff have received sign-language training from program manager Kia Dreggs. Plus, Ari has learned to independently use such assistive technology as a TTY (text telephone), video phone and email. Says mom Randee Rubenstein: “Ari has gone from a child who was extremely frustrated… into a handsome young man who feels comfortable in his home setting, r Kia Dreggs. e with staff membe work setting, and is able to communicate.” Ari (right) at homBonnie DavisDoing for herself and othersBonnie Davis wears many hats, including office receptionist, activeadvocate, and peer role-model. She credits Bancroft with helping herattain these successes, even as she continues to learn and grow. “Bancroft’s adult residential program is good because it teachesindependence,” she says. “I’ve learned social skills, how to getaround the community independently, how to go to work and be ontime, how to be responsible. “When I first came to Bancroft, I couldn’t do a lot of thingsfor myself,” recalls Bonnie, who initially lived on the Mullica HillCampus. “Now I cook my own meals and make a lot of my own Bonnie does hedecisions, with minimal assistance from staff.” r own grocery sh opping, among other tasks. Bruce Chapin Building skills in the community Bruce Chapin has learned much through Bancroft residential programs. He can take the bus to New York City by himself, to see his family. He’s become an avid cook who usually makes dinner for himself and his two roommates. And he’s acquired many healthy habits, from bicycling to lifting weights. These days, Bruce’s main goal is to work on his social skills. “We try to focus on adult behaviors and appropriate public behavior,” says staff member Dwight Castellanos, who frequently accompanies the roommates on outings in the community, to provide social guidance. th staff member “Bruce has come a long way,” notes Castellanos. “I’m so ce s his checkbook, wi Bruce (right) balan proud of him.” Shaun Er win. Page 5
Leaving your legacy at Bancroft Modernizing Legacy society renamed for Jacob Schaefer — Mullica Hill a role model for planned giving More and more Bancroft supporters Today, as Bancroft’s “legacy society” are leaving their legacy here — continues to grow, we have renamed making a planned gift that will make a it the Jacob Schaefer Legacy Society. difference for many years to come. The society recognizes all donors of Such a “legacy gift” benefits both planned gifts to Bancroft, regardless the donor and the organization. of the gift’s dollar amount. Options include naming Bancroft If you have already included in your will or setting up a charitable gift annuity, trust or life insurance policy. A new residence rises on the Mullica Hill Campus, which is being largely rebuilt through Bancroft’s “Oftentimes donors can major new fundraising campaign. make a greater impact than they could have ever imagined, Bancroft’s Mullica Hill Campus — a through a planned gift,” key site on our continuum of services says Heidi Rixman, Bancroft’s — is getting a major makeover, director of major gifts. “And thanks to the Transforming Our in many cases, the gift costs World campaign. much less than the amount Over the past six months, donated, due to tax benefits construction has begun on the first and income the donor receives of the new residences. Workers have from the gift.” laid the foundation and installed Jacob and Mary Schaefer, for underground utilities. Framing is instance, set up a charitable now under way, as shown above. remainder trust many years ago By strengthening programs and to benefit Bancroft programs. The late Jacob and Mary Schaefer, shown with son Jim, facilities at Mullica Hill, Bancroft Because of this thoughtful who receives services from Bancroft. will enhance opportunities gift — and Jacob Schaefer’s for employment and greater 30 years of service on our board of Bancroft in your estate plans, please participation in the community. trustees, among other important roles let us know so we can properly Many adults who are supported in here — we named our Community recognize you. To learn more about Bancroft programs may at some Services for Adults’ headquarters in legacy giving options, please contact point transition into or out of Cherry Hill, N.J., the Jacob Schaefer Heidi Rixman at (856) 348-1164 or Mullica Hill, as their needs change. Center. firstname.lastname@example.org. The campus will also become a place for all people supported by Bancroft — as well as members of Save the date the community — to learn and get involved. The fun comes For more information or to support Transforming Our World | early this year! The Campaign for Bancroft, please Bancroft Day contact Linda Wasilchick, director Saturday Sept. 24 of campaign operations, at (856) Challenge Grove Park 348-4002, or email@example.com. Cherry Hill, N.J. A free festival for Bancroft friends, families and the community For updates, visit our website: www.bancroft.orgPage 6
Bancroft newsmakers: noteworthy people, events, milestonesClockwise from top left:• Show of support: Selena (center) renowned conductor Alice Parker. titled “Music Through the Decades.”and Paul Tropea accept a colorful thank- • Inclusive activity: Student volunteers • Fur, feathers, scales: Studentsyou gift from President Toni Pergolin, from Philadelphia visit The Bancroft and staff from The Bancroft School atat a spring reception for Bancroft School to help with Martin Luther King Voorhees Pediatric Facility enjoy a visitfamily members and friends. The Day activities. Here, the volunteers join with birds, reptiles and mammals fromTropeas hosted the event, to help share Casey Atkinson (wearing headband) Pennsylvania’s Elmwood Park Zoo (photosinformation about the “Transforming in an art activity. The volunteers were at bottom center and bottom left).Our World” campaign (see story on p. 6). organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers, • Art attack! John Meacham shows• Chicago joy: The Joyful Noise choir, through its teen mentoring program. some of the colorful paint used in awhich includes many adults supported by • Musical journey: Students Justin collaborative art project, created by aBancroft, sings at the national conference Galeski (from left), Dalton Stilts, and group at Bancroft’s Flicker Residences forof the American Choral Directors Eric Panetta drum up a tune during The older adults. The ocean-themed pieceAssociation, held in Chicago. Leading the Bancroft School spring show. Dozens of was recently displayed in a public exhibitgroup – before an audience of 1,000 – is students performed in the production, in Deptford, N.J. Page 7
Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Bellmawr, NJ Bancroft 425 Kings Highway East Permit 482 P.O. Box 20 Haddonfield, NJ 08033-0018Free expert advice, 24/7 —easy as 1-2-3!1 Visit www.bancroft.org2 Go to “Quick Links”3 Click on “Family Resource Center”Get info, resources, answers and more! Our World Our World is published three times a Keep kids learning this summer year by Bancroft, a private, nonprofit Your child’s education doesn’t have to stop for two months, just because organization. school’s out. In fact, summer offers many opportunities for learning and Our Mission expanding your kids’ abilities. Bancroft’s mission is to ensure that Here are some tips from Matthew Sharp, M.Ed., principal of Bancroft’s every person is given opportunities for Early Education Program: lifelong learning and fulfillment. • Expand the classroom into the natural environment of home and We do this by altering perceptions, community. Take your child along when you go to the store, post office or and by supporting those with intellectual library, and encourage his involvement in the tasks at hand. At home, allow and developmental challenges and acquired brain injuries in achieving your child to help put away the groceries or sort the laundry. their life goals as valued and respected • Foster choice-making. For instance, let your child choose between a members of our world. day at the beach or a walk in the park. • When you plan an outing, be sure to develop a schedule of activities To contact us, call: and review it with your child. This will reduce unpredictability and give 1-800-774-5516 your child a structured day to look forward to. Create a visual schedule for children who can’t read. Bancroft, a New Jersey Non-profit Corporation • Practice skills at home before your outing, such as greeting people and 425 Kings Highway East, P.O. Box 20 ordering from a menu, if needed. Haddonfield, NJ 08033–0018 To read the whole article, visit bancroft.org. bancroft.org