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Kathleen Layton

Trudeau Celebrates Doddie McShane 40th Work Anniversary

It was 1981 when Doddie McShane embarked on her career at the Trudeau Center. A gallon of milk cost $1.83, Ronald Reagan was President, and the Disability Amendments Act of 1980 had just become law. Doddie started as a Direct Support Professional and has grown to become an irreplaceable part of the Trudeau family.

Doddie remembers her first days at Trudeau at a group home called the Greenwich House. She fondly recalls the 12 people who lived in the home and the staff with whom she worked. “Reflecting back to the early days, it was the sense of social justice that was important to us, as it still is today,” said Doddie.

“I’ve had the pleasure to know so many amazing people in this field. I treasure the wonderful friendships that I have made and that feeling of family that we still have to this day when we see each other.”

To celebrate Doddie and her dedication to Trudeau, Doddie and 17 Trudeau employees took time to reflect on the last 40 years—how it all started, the legacy, and Doddie’s future. After enjoying an anniversary lunch with her colleagues in the group home where she works, Doddie logged onto Microsoft Teams to a surprise party, virtually. She showed off gifts that Titus group home residents had given her and spoke about her time at Trudeau.

Terri and Doddie, 2021

Throughout the celebration many employees sang Doddie’s personal and professional praises. President and CEO Judith Sullivan remarked, “Doddie has a terrific, can-do attitude. She always sees the potential in everyone, particularly in those we support. Thank you, Doddie, for all you have taught me.” Patricia Spillane, a residential service coordinator, added, “You can’t put a value on someone like Doddie; she is a Trudeau historian; we need her background and history. Her knowledge is invaluable and so important for the individuals we serve.” Many people joked that Doddie’s reassurances of “this too shall pass” have helped them through many difficult times.

Doddie’s Anniversary Party

Doddie’s insistence on training and empowering colleagues and clients was a reoccurring theme of the hour. Many on the call thanked her for educating them and for looking at every error and achievement as a teachable moment. While Doddie seemed modest and even embarrassed with all the accolades, she conceded that 2020 and 2021 have been filled with teachable moments and that the anniversary has left her reflective. “It has been a year of fortitude where those dedicated to this field stepped out of their usual assignments, rolled up their sleeves and worked in whatever capacity necessary to maintain the safety and well-being of the people we support. A year ago, we faced an immediate sense of urgency to create something – a system of support outside of our usual comfort zone. This was a challenge we had never encountered – but we never gave a second thought to failing, it simply wasn’t an option.”

We could not have said it better, Doddie. Thanks for four decades of you! 

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Trudeau Center Receives CPR Package from East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Club

J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center recently received a CPR training package from a generous donation made by the East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Club of Rhode Island. The package contains infant and adult CPR mannequins and is an important and life-saving addition to our employee training instruction. 

The Trudeau Center and the East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Club boast a long and wonderful history. For over 20 years, the Club has hosted Trudeau’s adults with developmental disabilities for annual Halloween, holiday and summer parties. “Parties at the Club,” as many Trudeau folks have come to define them, are a tradition that Trudeau and the Club look forward to every year. Due to the pandemic, these celebrations have not occurred, so the East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Club made a generous donation to the Trudeau Center instead.

East Greenwich Fireman’s Club Volunteers

“The Club counts the Trudeau Center holidays as a highlight of our year. We have missed seeing these amazing people and thought a donation may help, until we can all get together again,” said Jim Troiano, President of the East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Club.

While the Trudeau Center did own one CPR training package, this new package will be located at Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, our educational and treatment program servicing children with autism and related disorders. “The Club’s unwavering support over the years has allowed the Trudeau Center to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people with disabilities. We have all enjoyed the events that the Club has hosted, and the kindness and community support the members provide. We thank them for their generosity and look forward to celebrating in-person there soon,” says President and CEO Judith Sullivan.

Parties at “The Club”

 Please consider giving to the Trudeau Center.

Pathways employee Matthew Clifford.

Thanks to Pathways employees George Boisvert, Matthew Clifford, and Joy Pizarro. Matthew is pictured above.

 

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THE TRUDEAU CENTER RECEIVES $7,500 GRANT FROM DOUG FLUTIE, JR. FOUNDATION FOR AUTISM

Aaron, Pathways student

Warwick, RI (January 25, 2021) –J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center is pleased to announce it has received a $7,500 grant from the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. These funds will provide critical personal protective equipment and educational resources for in-person and distance learning at Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, Trudeau’s comprehensive education and treatment program servicing children with autism and related disorders.

Founded in 1998, Pathways is committed to utilizing scientifically validated teaching strategies to improve the lives of children with autism and their families. In response to COVID-19, Pathways educators have worked tirelessly to change operating procedures, create a new curriculum plan that supports in-person AND distance learning, and practice diligence in keeping vulnerable students safe. Through this funding, the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center will be able to continue to provide students with autism and their educators a safe and nurturing environment for learning. 

“Doug Flutie Foundation’s unwavering support over the years has allowed the Trudeau Center to make a positive difference in the lives of so many children with autism, and their families. We thank the Flutie Foundation for its generosity and for helping better the lives of the autism community at such a challenging time,” says President and CEO Judith Sullivan.

“The Flutie Foundation Signature Grants help our partner agencies address a variety of significant needs in the autism community, especially in light of coronavirus repercussions,” says Nick Savarese, Executive Director of The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. “Programs like Pathways are helping people on the autism spectrum live life to the fullest and we are proud to support their efforts.”

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Jessie Perrin ’17, behavior analyst for children with autism and disabilities

Jesse Perrin ’17 (M) grew up volunteering at many organizations, and he always seemed to gravitate towards the kids who were picked on or who were disadvantaged in some way, helping to mentor and teach them despite their challenges.

When he graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) with a degree in psychology in 2013, he decided that he wanted to pursue a lifelong career of working alongside disadvantaged kids—particularly with autism and disabilities through applied behavioral analysis (ABA).

“I think life is difficult enough as it is, and if you really are at a disadvantage, it’s an obligation to help people who have less advantages than you,” Perrin described. “And ABA provides the best tools to do that in my field.”

While Perrin started on his master’s in ABA at UMass Dartmouth, he kept hearing about the ABA program at Salve Regina. He felt like he wasn’t being challenged enough in his current master’s program, so he made the leap to transfer and finish out his degree at Salve Regina, which he finished in 2017.

Read more at Salve.edu…

 

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What’s New at Trudeau?

Shaw’s Employee Dave Huntoon

By Kathleen Layton

Shaw’s in Cranston, Rhode Island bustled with energy on a recent Tuesday morning. The store was gleaming, and the produce department was filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, arranged neatly and even artistically. This is where customers can find Dave Huntoon, a proud Shaw’s employee for over 12 years.

On October 22 I talked to Dave while he calmly replenished an onion display. A multitasker, Dave answered questions and stocked vegetables — all while pausing to personally direct customers to their desired fruit or vegetable. Asked how he feels about his job, Dave replied, “I like the people I work with because they are friendly and always help each other. Organizing the produce is important because you want to make it look nice and keep it well stocked.” The produce certainly looked nice and was superbly stocked during my visit.

A 2004 Pilgrim High School graduate, Dave works approximately 15 hours every week.  On weekdays he takes a RIPTA bus to and from work and on the weekends, his father plays chauffer. Dave lives in Warwick with his parents and is one of three boys. When asked what he enjoys doing when he is not working, Dave beams, “I help my mom babysit my nephews. My nephews absolutely love me, and I get a kick out of spending time with them. The boys are my biggest fans!” Considering Dave’s enthusiasm and kindness, I am not surprised.

“With this job, you gotta put your heart into it.”

As an essential employee, Dave has been working throughout the pandemic. When asked if that was scary, Dave shared, “With this job, you gotta put your heart into it. Sure, it was nerve-wracking at first, but I feel safe and like coming to work.”

In 2006 Dave formed a relationship with the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center as a part of its Transition Academy. This program helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities become contributing members of their community through meaningful employment. The Trudeau Center is especially proud of pairing Dave with Shaw’s and enjoys watching Dave’s career grow. As the agency celebrates the national Disability Employment Awareness Month, we salute companies like Shaw’s and employees like Dave for working hard to make work work — for people with disabilities.

Please consider giving to the Trudeau Center.


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