RUPCO Welcomes Kelsey Vargas to Program Services

Kelsey Vargas, L.M.S.W of Port Ewen joins the RUPCO staff as Program Services Supervisor and leads a staff of four who conduct direct case management at RUPCO via six offerings. Vargas, who joined the RUPCO team in April 2019, oversees all client outreach and community support to clients living at RUPCO properties or receiving services from RUPCO caseworkers. RUPCO’s five program services include:

HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDs) assists families with housing support and connections to different supportive resources in Ulster and Dutchess Counties.

NYSHP (New York State Supportive Housing Program) connects one case manager with Stuyvesant residents and the supportive services they need; the case manager makes personal connections with each resident, many of which don’t have family or people to check in on them.

EAP (Emergency Assistance Program) provides security or back rent support payments to families to prevent homelessness. Families are not necessarily RUPCO clients or residents. Funding for that from United Way, The Bruderhof, and other sources. In 2018, RUPCO helped 48 families with nearly $50,000 to keep children and their parents housed. In 2019, 10 families have been helped so far.

STEPH (Solutions to End Homelessness Program) is similar to EAP, and provides housing and support to families experiencing homelessness with young children. This program ends in December 2019.

“We’re also in partnership with Bridges of New York in Newburgh at East End Apartments, a scattered site program for veterans, homeless, and at-risk youth,” notes Vargas. Bridges provides connections to support services that these populations need and are entitled to receive, but may not know it, services that can make life easier, less stressful. “My goal with program service is to grow the professional mental health services we provide, stronger community resources, stronger community partnerships, and wider professional mental health network that we can draw from. I support the mental health aspect, which will grow as we open up Energy Square and Landmark Place. Hudson Valley mental health services are not far-reaching and there is opportunity for RUPCO to provide that life-support right through our programs and residential living.”

“Kelsey is highly educated, but her people skills and ability to connect with those she is interacting with has most impressed me,” notes Sheila Kilpatrick, Vice President of Operations at RUPCO. “She is compassionate, caring, and conveys a sincere appreciation for the needs of our clients.  She is exactly what RUPCO needs to help us grow our support services programming.”

Vargas comes to RUPCO as a bi-lingual clinical social worker by trade. By education, she received her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac College and completed her Masters of Social Work at University of Pennsylvania. “My license allows me latitude in making resident recommendations,” notes Vargas. “If I see a client needs additional assistance, I can refer that resident to the health professional needed.” Many residents are elderly, disabled, veterans, at-risk youth, or have a substance abuse or mental health diagnosis.

“I’ve always been interested in working with minority demographics, education access; health access to programs inspires me,” she continues. “Take a minute to think of mental health and home: if you don’t have a home, you can’t focus on any other aspect of your life. If you worry about where you are laying your head every night, you aren’t able to focus on your wellness, your medications. Your security is at risk, things don’t have a place. Once you’re situated, you’re home, you’re safe. Once housed, we can work with residents to address their routines, give life meaning, and set goals for integrating with family and our community.“

Recently married and Harry Potter fan, Vargas lives in Port Ewen with her husband and two dogs, Hagrid and Minerva.

Career Opportunity: Care Manager – Multiple Properties & Programs

The Care Manager reports directly to the Director of Program Services.  This full-time position (35-hour work week) is responsible for providing support, guidance and referrals to tenants and clients in designated programs. 

A considerable amount of travel is a requirement of the position to assist clients with stabilizing their housing and achieving/maintaining their independent living. 

This full-time position has duties which may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Responsible for conducting an initial assessment as well as developing an individualized service plan to address whatever obstacle(s) the tenant/client is facing.
  2. Conduct screenings and intakes to qualify participants as applicable.
  3. Provide ongoing interaction and observation of client’s environment, general behavior, daily activities and interactions with others.
  4. Responsible to support participants in multiple properties as assigned.
  5. Make referrals and coordinate care plans with other service providers as needed or as appropriate.
  6. Provide activities for the tenants to promote socialization.
  7. Responsible to ensure confidentiality of client files.
  8. Responsible for all client data entry to document compliances and changes in household information in all applicable databases.
  9. Responsible for monthly contacts and input into all applicable databases.
  10. Responsible for timely return of phone follow-up with clients and providers.
  11. Provide transportation as needed to appointments or schedule transportation.
  12. Available to be flexible with work hours as business necessitates.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Education and Experience:

Must have good communication skills, excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work with diverse groups. Computer literacy and data entry experience. Must have current driver’s license and reliable vehicle for travel. BS/AS degree in human service-related field preferred.  In lieu of education, 2+ years of relevant case management experience will be considered.

Attributes:

Flexible, compassionate, creative, organized, motivated and a verifiable understanding of the services and resources available in the community. 

Please submit letter of interest including summary of qualifications for this position to [email protected].

RUPCO-RCAL Summer Intern Sorts Data for Deeper Knowledge

John Krom, Sacred Heart UniversityRUPCO welcomes Sacred Heart University junior John Krom as a summer intern addressing issues of poverty in the local area. Krom will work closely with experienced staff in Program Services to help identifying families eligible for the Family Self-sufficiency Program, explore resident population statistics, and determine other demographic data. A recipient of the American Legion Scholarship Award, Krom is also a part of Sacred Heart University’s Junior Achievement group, which focuses on teaching young children the aspects of business and what careers are available to their generation. Krom’s internship is a result of a partnership between RUPCO, RCAL and New York State  Education Department’s Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES).

Bonnie Dumas, ACCES Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, coordinated the summer work experience. “We hope this opportunity at RUPCO will give John work experience and provide him soft skills in a career field he is interested in.” She sees this as an opportunity for John to gain the workforce experience he needs to transition from college schedules to business structure.

RUPCO oversees paid and unpaid internships each year as part of its commitment to the community. “We believe in providing valuable work experience in the nonprofit sector,” notes Tara Collins, Director of Communications of Resource Development. “In just the last three years, RUPCO has hosted a dozen interns from SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Ulster, Kingston High School, Sacred Heart University and Walden School District. Students gain skills and a resume addition, but the real value comes with their increased knowledge about their communities and how nonprofits support their neighborhoods. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nonprofit sector accounted for 11.4 million jobs nationwide in 2013, 10.3% of all private sector employment. That employment number is rising each year. Interning is a valuable experience for future young professionals and helps them understand the mechanics of nonprofit business in general, and RUPCO’s community engagement specifically.”

Hilary Nichols of RCAL is glad John has the opportunity to share his skillset at RUPCO while also being open to learning new skills that will cross connect in other spheres of the workforce. “John will brings a sense of eagerness and a way for people to re-look at their own job so they have a renewed sense of importance. I hope it will bring a sense of satisfaction within the RUPCO agency to have him there. I hope John will gain a sense of what the culture and climate is within an office or business environment so he learns how everyone needs to come together as a team to get things done. He can take what he learns and also apply it to college.”

John Krom and familyKrom’s previous customer service experience will come in handy this summer. A former line cook at Hurley Mountain Inn and waiter for Olivebridge’s County Inn, Krom also assisted with planning and organizing college activities. These jobs have prepared him with organizational skills and attention to tend to customer needs. Along with data entry and demographic research, Krom’s investigative skills will help RUPCO better understand its client base and how to serve them better in the future. Krom hopes that through collaborative work, he can help RUPCO clients and program participants advance to “better living, so people can move on, to lead more independent lives, and to help them save money.”

For Krom, Home Matters because it “shelters and protects you. It’s your sanctuary, and it makes you feel safe.” He emphasizes the importance of having a stable family life within home. “Family is what motivates you to your best. It helps you grow into the best human you could be, and provides a safe environment for you to live in. Family teaches you the foundation of life and pushes you to never give up. Without my family, I don’t know where I would be or where my motivation would come from.”

Kids’ Summer Programs

young white child experimenting with brightly colored paintsStarting July 1, RUPCO’s Program Services is offering two creative programs for resident children.

Lace Mill Kids is open to children ages 3-5 who live at the midtown Kingston community. Children will learn dance and rhythm in a fun and interactive way as a warm-up to activity each day. The group will create a “Lace Mill Kids” mural with different art mediums to commemorate the summer program. The program meets Tuesdays and Thursday from 10am to noon.

A second program, Woodstock Commons Kids, is geared towards children ages 5-13 who live at the intergenerational campus. Children will warm-up with basic acting skills and created a “Woodstock Commons Kids” mural with various materials and art supplies. This session meets from 2-5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Summer Program Coordinator Jara Childs oversees both free programs which run for four weeks through the end of July. To register or for more information, email Program Services Supervisor Kim Mapes or call (845) 331-2140 ext. 307.

Care Manager: NY Connects

Social Care Photography, DHThese positions were filled as of January 2016.

The Care Manager provides nonjudgmental, individualized information and assistance to persons of all ages with disabilities regarding Medicaid Long Term Care Services and Supports (LTSS) which provides linkages to programs and/or services that the individual and/or their caregiver qualify for. The Care Manager bridges the gap between client and partners, working collaboratively with agencies and other service representatives to ensure, tot he fullest extent possible, that benefits and entitlements are accessed. This is a 13-month pilot program designed to provide seamless coordination across systems and populations seeking LTSS and provide easier access and understanding.

Responsibilities:

  • Use of online and other questionnaires
  • Collection of preliminary functional and financial information and coordination with other agencies to guide individuals through the eligibility process
  • Guidance with the requirements of application and enrollment assistance for public benefit programs including Medicaid
  • Provision of Person Centered Assistance/Options Counseling
  • Assistance in care transitions
  • Confidentiality

Position Requirements:

  • Must have strong work ethic
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Good interviewing and problem-solving skills
  • Good documentation skills
  • Basic proficiency using computers and web-based systems
  • Excellent public speaking and written communication skills
  • Ability to provide services to seniors and disabled clients with patience and compassion
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships
  • Ability to communicate, orally and in writing
  • Ability to prioritize and multi-task
  • Ability to respond to customers in a professional , nonjudgmental an d culturally appropriate manner

Minimum Qualifications: Graduation from high school or possession of an equivalency diploma plus one of the following:

  • Three (3) years paid full-time or its part-time equivalent experience involving work within a health or human services agency, preferably in Ulster County providing customers with information OR
  • Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with an Associate’s degree and one (1) year of experience as defined in (A) above OR
  • Associates degree plus five years relevant experience.  or related disciplineMaintain a clean and safe
  • Any equivalent combination of training and experience as defined by the limits of (A) and (B) above
  • Valid NYS Driver’s license

Salary: $498.75 per week

Application Deadline:  Friday, December 4, 2016

Submit notification of interest by email: Kim Mapes, Program Services Manager