AEI’s mission is to support our program participants in reaching their full potential and to promote opportunities for them to share their skills and talents in communities where they live with their fellow citizens.
This calendar year, nearly 600 men and women will benefit from programs provided by AEI. The quantity and quality of the success of these programs are due to the incredible work of our dedicated and committed staff. In our most recent survey by the Department of Developmental Services they noted, “across services reviewed, the agency created and supports a culture in which respect between individuals and staff was highly valued.” At AEI, we will always seek new and creative ways through which the individuals we support can live more fulfilling lives. To that end, this year we added Community Based Day Supports Without Walls, a fully community based self-directed program in which participants choose the activities they want to engage in and the community resources they want to access.
If you share our view that a community is only complete when citizens of all abilities are able to contribute to it, consider joining us as a fellow employee, volunteer, or donor, and help make that view become reality!
As we reflect on the past two years, one truth stands out above all else; talented, dedicated people can accomplish amazing things. We wish to acknowledge and celebrate these people.
It’s people like our Residential Program participants and staff. When day programs across the State were closed in early 2020, residents became isolated in their homes, and our staff were there without complaint. In order to minimize our residents’ exposure to the virus, we implemented a “live-in” staffing schedule where staff lived in a residence up to a week at a time. Staff didn’t hesitate to fill these shifts because it was in the best interests of the residents. Other staff volunteered to go grocery shopping, pick up medications, planned outdoor activities such as an Easter egg hunt, drive-by birthday celebrations, and picked up take-out for dinner. When the homes were hit with positive COVID cases, staff volunteered to live in the homes through the entire isolation period exemplifying an amazing commitment to the individuals they support. And for months on end, our program participants followed isolation guidelines without complaint despite the tedium and lack of socialization.
It's people like our Day Program staff, who established a communication protocol, contacting our program participants daily to ensure they were well and assist with any needs they might have as soon as programs closed. When other organizations were facing layoffs, our Board of Directors kept staff on payroll for seven weeks so these monitoring efforts could continue uninterrupted. Almost immediately after closing, staff developed and led a virtual programming curriculum including health and safety, developmental skills training, and socialization opportunities, many of which were co-hosted by our program participants. Many families described these virtual sessions as a “lifesaver”, expressing their thanks for keeping family members engaged and in touch with their friends at AEI. Prior to reopening in August 2020, our staff developed social distancing and cleaning regimens that minimized COVID spread in programs despite several positive cases.
It’s people like our Employment team. Since the onset of COVID in early 2020, our team has broken records placing 132 people to work with employers across Southeastern MA. Our Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) staff have increased the number of students in the program from 60 to 157 during the COVID period. This program has been so successful, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) featured it at a statewide conference on how to run a Pre-ETS Program during COVID.
It's Families and Caregivers. Through the most difficult times, families put their trust in AEI. They were partners in supporting participants while at home, often contributing their time and talent to the Zoom sessions and helping keep people engaged, entertained and safe. Families and care givers attended Open Forums, and they asked the hard questions and provided thoughtful feedback as we reopened programs and facilities.
It’s our Program Participants. While isolated at home in the early days of COVID, our participants took a leap of faith joining virtual sessions. Many learned how to use tablets, the internet and email for the first time in order to stay connected to friends and staff. People shared their families, pets, homes and treasured possessions each day. Our participants pushed us to find a way to stay connected in a meaningful way and as a result, the bond that exists between AEI staff and program participants has never been more evident.
For all of us, the pandemic has been the most challenging event of our lives. But together we have faced the challenge and come through with flying colors.
Just imagine what our future holds!
Thank you for your interest in AEI. The goal of this site is to give you a better understanding of the wide array of services our organization offers to individuals with disabilities throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.
The Mission of our organization is driven by the firm belief that a community is not “whole” unless each and every one of its members has the opportunity to contribute their unique gifts, talents, and skills to their community. To that end, our caring and dedicated staff offer individualized supports to each person we serve that promote achievement of one’s personal life goals. The quality of our staff has been recognized by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which have both accredited and licensed our programs at the highest level they award. Through collaboration with our funding agencies and many community partners, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life of the men and women we serve and their families.
If you share our values; if you believe, as we do, that each and every one of our fellow citizens should be treated with equal dignity and respect, consider joining us as a volunteer, donor, or friend. Together, we can create a better world for people of all abilities.
If you would like further information on our organization, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.