Goodbye Dana Franceschini

Goodbye Dana Franceschini. Picture of Dana

We Say Goodbye Dana Franceschini, here is a message from Dana:

It is with sadness that I must remind you all that my last day at Helping Hands Respite Care will be August 7th. It has been an absolute pleasure working with all of the care providers, clients, and their families. I will never forget the experiences that I have had and those individuals that have truly touched my heart here at Helping Hands, especially since you have all inspired me to pursue a degree in social work. I wish you all the best in life, and I know that I will be leaving you in good hands.

With Love,


Community Immersion

Boys visiting museum during a community immersion activity

Community Immersion Activities at Weekend Respite House

In the past few months we have worked harder to prioritize opportunities for our Weekend Respite House guests to get out and about in the community. Sometimes this takes a bit more preparation and even a bit of resourcefulness. This usually relates to where we might be going, transportation issues and in some cases finding locations which would meet the needs/interests of all of our guests. (Sometimes with the right staffing ratio we can divide and conquer and make sure that our guests get to have an experience targeted to their ability level.)

Special challenges related to unexpected behaviors during community immersion activites are not unlike what a parent might experience when taking his or her child to the grocery store. Somehow they know when you, as the parent or responsible party, are vulnerable to public displays of misbehavior. In the case of our guests at Weekend Respite House, we know that many times their behaviors are rooted in some discomfort related to a break in a predictable routine. The good news is that with our training and the proper mindset we successfully navigate most of these potentially difficult situations.

Managing Behaviors During Community Immersion Activities

Here is our best advice on managing a public (or private) behavioral situation:
1. Be vigilant for early cues that there might be some discomfort, frustration or confusion brewing.
2. When faced with a difficult behavior make a conscious effort to take a few deep breaths and use a calm and clear response in a soft, but firm, voice.
3. Make sure you are using compassion to understand the cause of the discomfort.
4. Refrain from confronting and/or arguing with a distressed person, instead creatively and cheerfully redirect attention to something which will generate more acceptable behavior.

During a recent visit to the Impression Five Museum we had a chance to use our own advice on managing behaviors during a community immersion. One of our guests was totally enthralled with the fact that there was a group of children having a birthday party at the museum. It was clear that our guy was not going to be easily diverted from “crashing” this party. Because we maintained our calm the situation did not escalate and the folks from the birthday party were gracious enough to share a shiny balloon and soda.

Breaking Barriers Today Outing

Breaking Barriers Today Outing pictured at Lugnuts stadium with Big Lug the team mascot

Breaking Barriers Today Outing!

On a warm, sunny day the participants of Helping Hands Respite Care’s youth and young adult activity program, Breaking Barriers Today, experienced the excitement of going to a professional baseball game.

You might remember these old baseball lyrics:

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack. I don’t care if I never go back. For its root, root, root for the cubbies. If they don’t win it’s a shame. For its one, two, three strikes, you’re out at the old ballgame!”

Or, perhaps you recall the fun of doing the wave or beach ball toss in the crowd at a baseball game or waiting with excitement to see the mascot and players take the field.

Breaking Barriers Today joined Lansing Parks and Recreation along with other organizations such as CMH, CADSA to hang out at Cooley Law Baseball Stadium.  The Lansing Lugnuts played against the Bowling Green Hot Rods with a final score of 4-2. Lugnuts took the win!

Before the game, our “kids” from Breaking Barriers Today and Lansing Parks & Recreation participated in a parade on the baseball field and met with Big Lug, the Lugnut team mascot, on home plate! Everyone came home happy and also tired, but we all enjoyed our time and meeting up with other friends at the ballgame.  All in all, it was an exciting day for the whole group; especially with this being something that has never been done in the history of Breaking Barriers Today or After School Program.

Good game, good day, with good friends!