The Outreach Report

Welcome to The Outreach Report monthly staff e-news!   

Access to Continued Learning at Outreach! 

Outreach’s Learning Management System (LMS) contains a wealth of information to assist staff in their professional development. It offers self-paced, interactive learning modules aimed at engaging staff. It has industry-specific training libraries that meet mandatory and continuing education requirements. The system permits you to customize training to your needs, as well as upload policies and procedures and informative video blogs. Enrollment in courses is easy and accessible through mobile, computer, and tablet devices. You will receive online tracking of course compliance and metric reporting as well as notification of assigned trainings and deadlines reminders. LMS also provides easy access to your training records as well as licensing and certification information. Questions about LMS and what it can do for you? Feel free to reach out to the HR department at hr@opiny.org 

Save the Date! 

  • OTI Professional Development courses (free to all Outreach staff!) To register, link here by stated deadlines below:  
    • From Painkillers to Heroin – The Changing Face of Opiate Addiction(3 hours), March 4, from 2:00-5:00 PM. (Registration Deadline, February 27). 
    • Person-Centered Care (3 hours), March 6, from 2:00-5:00 pm (Registration Deadline, February 28). 
    • Toxicology Testing (3 hours), March 13, from 2:00-5:00 pm (Registration Deadline, March 6). 
    • Fentanyl, Xylazine and Polysubstance Use(3 hours), March 19, from 4:00-7:00 pm, (Registration Deadline, March 12). 
    • Crisis Prevention and De-Escalation (3 hours), March 20, 2:00-5:00 pm, (Registration Deadline, March 13). 
    • Overview of the Neurobiology of Addiction and Implications for Practice(3 hours), March 21, 2:00-5:00 pm, (Registration Deadline, March 14). 
    • Screening for Psychological Trauma and PTSD(3 hours), March 26, 2:00-5:00 pm, (Registration Deadline, March 19). 
    • Cultural Competence in SUD Treatment (3 hours), March 27, 22:00-5:00 pm, (Registration Deadline, March 20). 

Staff Profiles: Women on the Frontlines 

Outreach is known for its dedicated and caring staff. The front of house staff at the agency’s outpatient clinics and residential facilities are often the first point of contact for new clients, vendors, organizational partners, and potential employees. Their professionalism and warmth can be a deciding factor for someone considering engaging with the agency’s programs and services. In this issue, we profile two of our talented staff who sit on the frontlines. 

Vanessa Saunders

Title: Administrative Assistant, Outreach Community Residence in Brentwood, NY 

Key Responsibilities: I handle incoming phone calls and greet clients when they first come into the Residence, and answer questions about our services. I also order supplies and provide support to our counselors and staff as needed.  

Where are you from? Mastic Beach, Long Island  

How long have you been at Outreach? I started working at Outreach in 2012 as a van driver and childcare helper in Bellport. From 2017-2019, I took a few years off to pursue other work, and returned in 2019 when I learned that this position was available. 

What did you do before coming to the agency? I worked in the developmental disabilities field for four years prior to coming to Outreach.  

What drew you to Outreach? I really enjoy the human services field and supporting people. It means a lot to me to be able to help the counselors and staff here do the work they need to do.  

What do you like the best about working here? Seeing the difference in the people we help. By the time they are ready to leave, they are standing a little taller and looking more confident. Knowing that we were able to help them get to that place in their lives means a lot.  

How do you feel about working on the frontlines? There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure! It’s both stressful and rewarding. Helping people who are in a near crisis is important. I try to make clients feel comfortable and let them know that we are here to help, in any way we can in big and small ways.  

Denise Schellenberg

Title: Administrative Assistant, Richmond Hill Administrative Offices 

Key Responsibilities: My primary responsibility is answering the phones and directing people to the right people. Kathy Riddle (Outreach’s Founder and Board Chair) calls me, “the Voice of Outreach.” I also maintain office supplies, sort incoming mail, prepare outgoing mail, log-in IT and Maintenance requests and follow up, and help out at the front desk of the Wellness clinic downstairs.  

Where are you from? Glendale, Queens 

How Long Have You Been at Outreach? 18 years this month!  

What did you do before coming to the agency? I provided office support for a woodworking company in Brooklyn, NY.  

What drew you to Outreach? It was close to home.  

What do you like the best about working here? The people. Everyone feels like family here. This is my home away from home.  

How do you feel about working on the frontlines? It can be challenging keeping track of where every staff member is so I can direct clients and vendors their way. But I love what I do because I love helping people.  

Special Notice: Change in Pay Periods, Effective June 2024  

HR Director Lydia McNeil recently sent out a notification to all staff regarding an upcoming change to the agency’s pay periods:  

 

“Outreach has historically paid new staff on the first pay period after their start of employment. This means that there is no more than a week’s wait for the first paycheck. There have been some challenges with this model not only for the new staff but to those whose effective date of separation is the week of the pay date, and as such, a decision was made to shift to a traditional pay model. This is being brought to your attention because it will impact on our pay periods starting in the month of June 2024. We want to give everyone good lead time for this transition, as it may impact on the way staff manage their finances.  

The transition will be made on the June 14, 2024, pay date, when you will receive salary for only one week, covering May 31 to June 6, 2024. The June 28, 2024, pay date will cover the full two-week pay period of June 7 to 20, 2024. Please note that there will be three pay dates in May 2024 (on May 3, May 17, and May 31), which provides an opportunity to plan your finances accordingly for the June 14 transition.  

 Please note that this will not impact the processing of payroll for Parttime and Per Diem staff. In addition, there will be no change in the accrual of vacation, sick, and/or personal time. In fact, this pay period change will make the accrual more accurate in TimeForce as well as in ADP. 

 We wish to emphasize that this is more of a pay period change to ensure that payroll is processed correctly, and will help avoid issues such as overpayments, etc. Please also note that this change has nothing to do with funding, as Outreach is in a solid financial position. 

 To minimize the impact on this transition, staff will have an opportunity to supplement the one week of pay on the June 14 pay date by participating in the agency’s “vacation buy-back” option. Outreach will allow staff to cash out some portion of their vacation days as well as unused holiday/floating holiday hours; however, you will need to keep a minimum of five (5) vacation accrual days in your accrual bank. Payment for the vacation buy-back will be included on the June 14 pay date. In general, vacation time accruals are capped at 210 hours and holiday/floating holiday hours expire after 90 days. Please know that the “vacation buy-back” is purely voluntary. Outreach’s time-off policies are designed to ensure eligible employees can take paid time-off from their job responsibilities to maintain a high standard of work-life balance. Though we do understand that some staff have accumulated time and would prefer to take some of that in the form of a payment. Thank you.” 

Congratulations to Staff with February Birthdays!  

Joseph Adames, Outreach House II 

Doris Azornu, Outreach Recovery Center 

Areeba Babar, Bellport Outpatient Services 

Nikki Beirne, Bellport Outpatient Services 

Natesha Marcia Blanchard, Richmond Hill 

Mary Brite, Richmond Hill & ORC 

Leslye Casolaro, Bellport Outpatient Services 

John Cauthen, Outreach House I 

Dr. Enoch Chan, Richmond Hill & ORC 

Jeanne Chan, Richmond Hill 

Stephanie Chavez, Women’s Recovery Residence 

Sheila DelValle, Outreach Recovery Center 

Rachelle Emile, Men’s Community Residence 

Blythe Fickenwirth, Outreach House II 

Diana Figueroa, REACT Center 

Kyana Hall-Toney, Outreach House I  

Samia McCree, Outreach House I 

Nicolette McConnell, Bellport Outpatient Services 

Martha Ann McNeil, Richmond Hill 

Taisha Milord, Outreach Recovery Center 

Marci Ann Mirisola, Richmond Hill & ORC 

Christal Montague, Richmond Hill 

Gianni Parlapiano, Outreach House I 

Marsha Radulov, Richmond Hill 

Jonathan Romero, Men’s Community Residence 

Michael Stephen Romeu, Men’s Community Residence 

Kimberly Schumann, Outreach House II 

Cassandra Simpson, Outreach House I 

Michael Stewart, Richmond Hill 

Karl Telemaque, Young Adult Residence 

Kaity Telesford, Outpatient Services 

Bekir Uzunlu, Richmond Hill 

Amin Villaran, Outreach House I 

Shaniqua Warren, Outreach House I 

Veronica Wilkom, Outreach Recovery Center 

New! Employees of the Month  

We salute staff members who were selected by their colleagues and leaders as their programs’ February Employees of the Month! Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated service to Outreach and its mission to help build healthy lives! 

 

Katherine Bollman, Outreach Community Residence 

Mia Eaton, Outreach House II

Nancy Medina-Edwards, Richmond Hill Wellness Center 

Marcia Goldberg, Women’s Recovery Residence 

Donna Winding, Suffolk Avenue Outpatient Services 

Welcome to our New Hires in January-February 2024!  

Marilyn Clarke, Outreach House II 

Nathaneal Dunkley, Outreach House II 

Kyana Hall-Toney, Outreach House I 

Nicolette McConnell, Outpatient Services 

Andrew Moricone, Outreach House II 

Yusuf Salahuddin, Outreach House I 

Robert Whitfield, Bellport Outpatient Services 

Outreach Fun Fact:  

Why is the agency called Outreach?  

According to Kevin Wadalavage, one the agency’s earliest employees (and now our Training and Quality Consultant), Outreach’s name is reflective of the work it did right from the start, reaching out into the community. “We went into the parks and areas where there was active drug use and let people know that, if they or anyone they knew, needed help, they could come to our office at 74-09 Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. This was before the agency had any treatment services. At that time we provided assessment and referral to other treatment programs.”  Kevin sent along a photo of some Outreach staff, circa 1985, who were doing just that.  

(Left to right: Kevin Wadalavage, Steve Liquorman, Nora Mulvihill, Geryl Percora, and Dave Stevens).