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Updates from GSS


06/12/2020

Hello Everyone,

As we navigate through these difficult and painful times of racial injustice, on top of the multiple impacts and trauma due to COVID-19, the agency understands the need for healing and self-care. In response to this immediate need, during this crisis period, we are offering Self-Care days to all full and part-time staff.  Self-Care days are to be used as a time to replenish your mind, body and spirit. As we tirelessly work to provide continued services for our youth and families, we must ensure that we take care of our own  mental health needs in order to properly care for our communities. We also understand that many staff may need time to reflect on the racial and social injustices that are plaguing our country. We encourage you to take this time off to reflect, and attempt in your own way to rebuild your spirit so you can continue the fight for racial equity.

Effective immediately, the agency is extending 3 Self Care days to all staff. These days can be taken at any time (with supervisor approval) until the end of the calendar year 2020. These days are separate from your vacation/sick accruals and will not roll over to the next year if they are not used.  Below are a few guidelines for staff and supervisors regarding this new benefit.

  • Self-Care days must be scheduled and approved by your supervisor in advance of being taken.
  • Self-Care days can only be used one day at a time and not consecutively.
  • Self-Care days cannot be combined with sick or vacation days.
  • If a staff member has resigned from their position Self-Care days will not be available for use, nor are they eligible for pay out as with vacation/sick days.
  • Staff impacted by the layoffs are eligible for Self-Care days but, as stated above, these days cannot be used consecutively and need to be scheduled with your direct supervisor. These days cannot be used on the last day of employment.

By next week you will notice a new pay code in E-time that can be used on your timesheet for Self-Care days. You will also find your Self-Care day allotment in the accruals section on e-time on a sperate line from the sick/vacation accruals. This will assist you and your supervisor with tracking the days.

Our goal is to institute Self Care days as a permanent policy in 2021. HR will continue to work with Senior Leaders to develop and implement this policy with board approval. Please keep an eye out for more to come on this later in the year.

If you have any questions regarding this new benefit feel free to contact myself or the following HR representatives:

Soni Rai, Senior HR Specialist

212.381.0210

Audrey VandenHeuvel, HR Manager

212.381.0260

_________________________________________________

 

Joy Gerber

Director, Human Resources

She/Her/Hers/Joy What does this mean?

 

Good Shepherd Services

Human Resources

305 7th Avenue, 5th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212.243.7070 ext.10176  Direct 212.381.0232

Joy_Gerber@GoodShepherds.org

 

 

05/24/2020

Dear GSS,

I write this as one of the hardest weeks in GSS’s history comes to a close.

Over the past two challenging months, we have watched the unfolding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our participants, our communities, and our organization.  And then a few weeks ago we learned that its impact on the economy and the city budget would lead to the suspension of our after-school programs for the summer – and likely into the fall.

This week we had to begin providing layoff notices to all impacted staff.  The loss of these staff and the essential supports that they provide to thousands of children and families every day is completely devastating.

Our losses include 300 colleagues, mostly in our after-school programs, but also in leadership and in support.  Some had joined us only recently while others have been with us for decades.  Many have literally grown up with GSS, first as participants and then as colleagues.  All are a part of our GSS family… and always will be.

Words are insufficient to express how great a loss this is for us collectively, and we know that there are none that can capture what this means for those who are impacted personally.

Thank you to all who have been helping as many of our colleagues as possible to find open positions in other parts of the agency.  And thank you also to those who have been working day and night to create an array of supports to offer those who will be departing, including:

  • Weekly office hours between HR Recruiters and Hiring Managers
  • Unemployment Insurance webinars hosted by Geraldine Ferrara, our General Counsel, and Joy Gerber, Director of Human Resources
  • Transition Circles to provide staff with emotional support during the layoff process
  • Resume review and assistance
  • Webinar series on interviewing skills, employment agencies, cover letter writing and online job applications
  • And pro-bono coaching for up to 80 departing colleagues.

For those of you impacted in this, next week you will receive an email with a list of ways to access these resources. And please keep looking at open positions to see if there may be a fit.

The COVID crisis has taken a heavy toll, causing stress, worry, and anxiety.  Recent emails that were sent as part of Mental Health Awareness Month by Sabina Saleh, Director of Trauma Informed Practice & Resiliency, and Joan Siegel, our Chief Medicaid Officer, are attached.  I hope you will read them and utilize these resources if you need them.  In addition, I have an open door policy…  you can reach out to me as well as any of these colleagues with whatever questions you may have.

It is my great hope that when this crisis has passed and we arrive at a “new normal” where after school programming is open once more that many of our departing colleagues will be able to return again.

I hope that all can find some time to practice self-care and community-care this holiday weekend.

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

05/12/2020

Too often lost amid the growing numbers of COVID-19 deaths in New York City are the stories of those now gone. If you lost someone to coronavirus or work with families who have, THE CITY (thecity.nyc), a news site that serves New Yorkers, wants to hear from you. We have a handful of questions below — please answer as many as you can. With your help, we can share the stories of the New Yorkers taken from us too soon.  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfw1r9xyXVA9CjeMP2V8xr1ZszLr4ZgCOtHB7kLTzPaGrXd9A/viewform

 

05/07/2020

NYNeighbors COVID-19 Emergency Assistance

Hello GSS,

A donor has provided us with $500,000 in COVID-19 emergency assistance: $300,000 for participants, and $200,000 for staff making less than $50,000 annually. The application process is now open! There are two ways to apply:

  1. If you have access to your GSS login and password, please complete our online application. You will be asked to upload various support documents to this application. This method is easier for us to process, so please use the online application if possible.
  2. If you do not have access to your GSS login, download this .pdf, fill it out, and email it along with the support documentation to NYNeighbor@GoodShepherds.org.

If neither of these options work for you of if you have other questions, please email NYNeighbor@GoodShepherds.org for additional assistance.

The funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will be given to first-time applicants, and we will consider second requests for assistance on a case-by-case basis. Finally, assistance will be in the form of gift cards for food/pharmacy/baby supplies, and direct payments for rent, utilities, and COVID-19 related medical expenses.

Thanks,

Good Shepherd Services

____________________________________________

Alex Marcus

Assistant Director of Talent Acquisition and Organization Development

Good Shepherd Services

305 7th Ave. • New York, NY 10001

Office: (212) 381-0266

Alex_Marcus@goodshepherds.org

Click here to schedule a call

Pronouns: He/Him/His

05/07/2020

Hi GSS,

Here are some important points that have come up regarding applying internally:

  • Some of our vacancies are for programs that need to open June 1st, so please apply asap!
  • Make sure to update your resume to include your current GSS position. Some candidates have sent resumes that don’t list that they currently work at GSS.
  • If you speak Spanish, include this in the “Skills” section of your resume. There are numerous positions where Spanish is required.
  • Do not apply for more than 10 jobs until you’ve heard back. Some candidates are applying to any and everything to increase their chances—even to jobs where they don’t meet the qualifications. Make sure to read the job description and be sure you are really interested and qualified for that particular job.
  • If you take a new position, remember that you will need to stay in that position for nine months before applying to another position. Even if your original program gets funded again, you will have to stay in the new role.

Please let us know if you have any questions! And remember, Kim Bush can assist with applying to jobs in iCIMS. Email her at Kimberly_Bush@goodshepherds.org or call (931) 321-1207.

Thanks,

The Recruiting Team

_________________________________________________

Alex Marcus

Assistant Director of Talent Acquisition and Organization Development

Good Shepherd Services

305 7th Ave. • New York, NY 10001

Office: (212) 381-0266

Alex_Marcus@goodshepherds.org

Click here to schedule a call

Pronouns: He/Him/His

 

05/04/2020

Hi GSS,

Today from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm Michelle Yanche will host a virtual Town Hall using Zoom. Greghan Fischer, our CFO, will be presenting on the agency’s budget to give staff some background on how that process works. This will provide helpful insight into why certain decisions are being made regarding cutbacks.

For security purposes, we can’t post the link and password here. Please contact your supervisor and they can send you the link and password. You do not need video to participate, you can just call in.

Thanks,

Human Resources

_________________________________________________

Alex Marcus

Assistant Director of Talent Acquisition and Organization Development

Good Shepherd Services

305 7th Ave. • New York, NY 10001

Office: (212) 381-0266

Alex_Marcus@goodshepherds.org

Click here to schedule a call

Pronouns: He/Him/His

 

05/01/2020

Hello GSS,

We would like to share with you the extra steps we are taking to support internal candidates in applying to other roles at GSS should their employment with the agency be at risk due to the projected budget cutbacks.

  1. Hiring managers have been instructed to only hire internal staff wherever possible, and most positions have been removed from the external job boards. Exceptions are being made for positions where there are no internal staff with the necessary qualifications, and for certain residential programs where we have to staff them within the next 30 days. But even for those programs, internal candidates are still being given preference.
  2. Once you apply, your Recruiter will schedule a one-on-one conversation with you and the hiring manager. We are calling these Zoom Office Hours. You will be able to ask questions about the position, about the site, and confirm whether you are qualified to apply. If you are still interested, the hiring manager will schedule a more formal interview with you.
  3. In order to reach as many staff as possible, we will be emailing your work and personal email addresses and texting you with links to lists of job opportunities and how to apply. (If you need to update your email or phone number, please update your profile in ADP or reach out to Hope_Bomani@goodshepherds.org to assist.) We will also make sure that this message and these materials are amplified throughout the agency by leadership wherever possible so that no one is left out of the loop. Please let us know if you have suggestions on how to get the word out!

Finally, here are three items that will help you with this process:

  1. A guide for how to apply on iCIMS for open positions
  2. A list of our currently open positions
  3. A step-by-step PowerPoint on what to expect from the Recruiter and the Hiring Manager throughout the process

If you need assistance with any aspect of applying through iCIMS, contact our Onboarding and Sourcing Specialist, Kim Bush, at Kimberly_Bush@goodshepherds.org or (931) 321-1207.

Other questions about the positions and the sites can be answered by Cesar Guzman (FJS and Bronx CBP) at Cesar_Guzman@goodshepherds.org or (646) 678-0873 and Hiba Rashid (Support and Brooklyn CBP) at Hiba_Rashid@goodshepherds.org (347) 514-1224.

Thank you,

Alex and the Recruiting Team

 

04/10/2020

Hello GSS!

The following illustrates how you should enter your time in e-time for Good Friday, the instruction is based on the where you fall in the categories below:

Regular full-time or part-time (benefits eligible) staff

  • If you are physically working in a program on Good Friday, you will receive 1.5 times pay for working as an essential staff and an additional 1.5 times pay for working on the holiday.

To start , when you enter the time card you will see the pay code “Good Friday 2020” prepopulated with your regularly scheduled number of hrs. per day.

  1. Insert a new row on Fri 4/10 and select the “Holiday”  pay code and enter a negative -7 or -8 hrs. under the amount column.
  2. Insert a second row on Fri 4/10 and select pay code “Wrkd Hol” and enter 7 or 8 hrs., depending on whether you are a  7or 8 per day staff.
  3. Insert a third row on Fri 4/10 and select pay code “COVID-19” and enter the number of hours worked.
  • If you work remotely on Good Friday, you will receive your regular pay, and a floating holiday to be used at a later date. 

To start , when you enter the time card you will see “Good Friday 2020” prepopulated with your regularly scheduled number of hrs. per date as approved by your supervisor.

    • No action is required, simply review and submit your timecard.
    • You will receive your regular pay, and a floating holiday to be used at a later date.
  • If your program or department is closed on Good Friday, you will receive a paid holiday, as you normally would.
    • No action is required simply review and submit your timecard.

Non-benefits eligible hourly staff

  • If you are physically working in a program on Good Friday you will receive 1.5 times pay for working as an essential staff.  You will not receive additional pay or a floating holiday.

To start , when you enter your time card you will select the “COVID-19” pay code under the pay code column and enter your total umber hours worked.

  • If you work remotely on Good Friday, you will receive your regular pay.
    • Simply enter your start and end times as you normally would, review and submit your timecard, no further action is required.
  • If you do not work on Good Friday, you will not be paid.
    • No action required.

Be well and be safe!

_________________________________________________

Sophia Moulton

Assistant Director of Payroll, HRIS, & HR Operations

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Phone: 212-243-7070 Ext.10183

 

04/09/2020

Hello GSS,

To say that this is a tough time for all of us would be an understatement. Getting through this is not easy at all. Hardest of all may be to try and take care of ourselves as we work to take care of others.

I want to acknowledge the tremendous toll this crisis is taking on our city, including our own workforce, many of whom have been directly impacted by COVID-19 either personally, or through colleagues, participants, family members, friends and neighbors.

To help, we have put together some resources that are available to help address the very real feelings we all are struggling with – isolation, crisis, grief and loss – during this time. Some of these resources are available specifically for our staff and but some are available for both staff and participants. The list of resources is included at the bottom of this email and we have also highlighted some of them in key places like our ADP and Green Door home screens.

Early this week we had a wonderful Town Hall in which approximately 125 of us came together to talk through what we are experiencing and how we are responding. One questions that came up was how we are leaning into our trauma-informed practices to support each other. As an agency, we rely on our Sanctuary Model practices such as regular community meetings to check in with each other and to offer help where it is needed. This is a practice that we are utilizing throughout the agency right now and it is helping us stay connected and coordinated.

I also want to draw your attention to April’s Tip of the Month (attached) sent by Irina Kaplan and the TIP Steering Committee, which reminds us how to use best practices such as building community, establishing nurturing relationships and a strong belief in recovery and resiliency, to help us respond in this moment. These practices represent the essence of who we are as an agency, and they are the tools that we can put to use right not to help us get through.

Please take some time to review the resources we have gathered below. Some have been circulated previously but some are new. I hope you will take advantage of these resources if you can use them and also don’t hesitate to talk with your supervisor if you need time to re-charge.

Resources for our staff:

Sheltering Arms:  This week, our friends at Sheltering Arms have offered our staff access to their counseling services.  Staff can email: stafftelecounseling@shelteringarmsny.org and you will be connected to a team of licensed psychologists and social workers who have volunteered to offer counseling services to non-profit staff.  We are incredibly grateful that they are opening up this resources to our staff, and in doing so – providing an stress, anxiety and grief counseling.

ACS Crisis and Bereavement Counseling:  The Administration for Children’s Services is partnering with the NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to provide free crisis counseling and bereavement services to essential staff, focused on crisis, grief and loss.  Staff can use these services to share their feelings and to learn ways to help them through the crisis or grieving process.  The contact person is Luisa Nannini:  lnannini@nyspcc.org – 347-326-4055.

Employee Assistance Program:  For short-term free counseling: 1-800-964-3577  If you see a therapist/counselor already, check if they can do remote phone or skype sessions.

Internal GSS Offerings:  Please take a look at the April Mission and Culture Calendar  to find opportunities to connect with colleagues while participating in the stress relieving offerings we have available.

Resources for our participants and staff:

The NYC ACS “Coping through COVID” Campaign was launched this week.  The campaign is aimed at child safety and supports for families, and offers many different resources on food pantries, free WiFi, housing assistance and more.  www.nyc.gov/acss/covidhelp

NYS/Headspace Partnership:  To combat “cabin fever” and stress that some people are experiencing during this necessary social isolation response to COVID19 and NY PAUSE, New York State is partnering with Headspace.com to provide free mindfulness, meditation and mental health resources to all New Yorkers. This is a great resource for everyone – youth and staff alike! They are available at Headspace.com/ny.

The New York State Emotional Support Hotline operated by OMH also continues to be available 1-844-863-9314.

NYC Anti-Violence Project crisis hotline for LGBTQ & HIV-affected survivors: 212-714-1141

Safe Horizon’s domestic violence hotline1- 800-621-HOPE (4673)

NYC WELL: Call 888-NYC-WELL or Text WELL to 65173 to connect with free and confidential mental health sessions.  You can also click here

For more facts and resources, please visit the City’s website:  https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/index.page

 

Michelle

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

04/09/2020

Good Morning GSS Staff,

I hope you are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time. As we progress through this challenge, we wanted to share with you the redeployment of the Payroll Issues Support email [Payroll_Issues@GoodShepherds.org]. The Payroll Team is here to help, and as a critical Agency support partner, we understand the importance of our ability to continue to support you amidst this global health event. We are all working hard to ensure that every staff who is entitled to a paycheck is paid, paid correctly and paid timely.

We also know that mistakes happen, we are only human, so when mistakes happen, whether on your part or by us, know it can be resolved. The quickest way to report an error or an issue is to send an email directly to Payroll_Issues@GoodShepherds.org. This in-box is manned by all those who are in a position to take immediate action.

To help us meet our goal of ensuring that every staff who is entitled to a paycheck is paid, paid correctly and paid timely, we need your support:

  1. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES / TIMECARD

Employees must update and save their timecard each pay period.  Additionally:

  • Exempt staff must keep an accurate record of non-works hours taken (i.e. sick and vacation).
  • Non-exempt staff must keep an accurate record of their daily work hours, including actual start and stop times.
  • Interns (LTW & WPP) Internship Coordinators must enter the start and end times for their assigned interns and approve the time cards.
  • Managers/Supervisors must REVIEW and APPROVE the timecard for their staff each pay period for accuracy and completeness.
  1. REPORT ADDRESS CHANGES IMMEDIATELY
    • Notify Your HR Specialist
    • Use the Personal Info card in ADP self-service
  • Starting Pont: [Myself > My Information > Profile] to review and update your personal information. This card displays home phone, email, and address information. Clicking View More opens a new window where you can update your home address, and home contact information.
  1. SIGN UP FOR DIRECT DEPOSIT
    • Add Your Direct Deposit Information in ADP self-service
  • Starting Pont: [Myself > Pay > Payment Options]
        1. Click Add Bank Account.
        2. Enter and confirm the nine-digit Routing Number that identifies your bank and click Next.
        3. Enter and confirm your bank Account Number and click Next.
        4. Indicate the type of account you are adding.
        5. Indicate that you have double-checked your account number and that you agree to the terms and conditions.
        6. Click Add.
    • Notify your HR Specialist and complete and submit the GSS Direct Deposit Form

~IMPORTANT~

All-new direct deposit setup goes through a “Prenotification” (or prenote) this is when a bank tests the new direct deposit account(s) before an actual deposit is made to make sure that money is deposited into the correct account.

Prenote usually takes ten (10) days. During prenote, the bank will notify GSS if an invalid routing number or account number was used. You will continue to receive a negotiable (“live”) paycheck during prenote. After prenote, direct deposits are made automatically.

Thank you,

________________________________________________

Sophia Moulton

Assistant Director of Payroll, HRIS, & HR Operations

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Phone: 212-243-7070 Ext.10183

Email: Sophia_Moulton@goodshepherds.org

Gender Pronouns: She, Her, Hers, (What does this mean?)

GoodShepherds.org

 

 

04/07/2020

Hello GSS!

Over the past week, we have received many questions about Spring Break, Good Friday and Days “off”.  We hope that this communication provides further clarity.

Good Friday

Regular full-time or part-time (benefits eligible) staff

  • If you are physically working in a program on Good Friday, you will receive 1.5 times pay for working as an essential staff and an additional 1.5 times pay for working on the holiday.
  • If you work remotely on Good Friday, you will receive your regular pay, and a floating holiday to be used at a later date.
  • If your program or department is closed on Good Friday, you will receive a paid holiday, as you normally would.

Non-benefits eligible hourly staff

  • If you are physically working in a program on Good Friday you will receive 1.5 times pay for working as an essential staff.  You will not receive additional pay or a floating holiday.
  • If you work remotely on Good Friday, you will receive your regular pay.
  • If you do not work on Good Friday, you will not be paid.

Spring Break for staff working in DOE schools: 

As per the Chancellor’s announcement on Friday, 4/3, spring break has been cancelled for NYC Schools https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/policies/spring-break-announcement.  Schools are expected to continue to support remote learning during the days that were previously scheduled as spring break.  Because Good Friday has historically been considered a GSS Holiday for our school based programs, and these staff will now be asked to work remotely on Good Friday, they will be given a Floating Holiday to be used at a later date. Where programs are able to stagger staff schedules to allow their teams to have a few days off during spring break, we recommend trying to accommodate this as much as possible, based on program need.  Vacation hours will need to be used for days off.  Staff requesting time off for religious observance (ie. Good Friday, Passover) can use their vacation time as required by our current policy.

Vacation Time:

We know that many of you are experiencing anxiety and burnout during these times and that some of you need to take time off.  We are asking Directors and Supervisors to please work with your teams to look for ways to accommodate this.  As long as coverage can be provided for every area of work, we encourage you to allow your staff to disconnect by taking vacation days here and there.  We also encourage you to take the time as you need it.

If you need any further clarification feel free to reach out to me directly (please do not replay all) OR contact your HR Specialist.

Be well and be safe!

_________________________________________________

Joy Gerber

Director, Human Resources

She/Her/Hers/Joy What does this mean?

 

Good Shepherd Services

Human Resources

305 7th Avenue, 5th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212.243.7070 ext.10176  Direct 212.381.0232

Joy_Gerber@GoodShepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org

 

 

04/03/2020

Dear GSS,

It is Friday now and my usual thoughts of “TGIF” just no longer seem to apply as one day blends into the next and weekdays become increasingly undifferentiated from weekends.  The usual sense of “workday” and “workweek” is blurry at best.

This period of time has been particularly intense and I know it will continue to be for us all before we at some point begin to turn the corner.

Today I am writing to shine a light on how our colleagues across the agency are answering the call to serve our participants, our communities, our city – and most of all, our mission.  I also want to provide some additional clarity to our approach for redeployment for this next period of time.

I have been inspired by stories of teamwork and resilience – both in our participants and in our staff.  Earlier this week, staff from our Community Based and FJS Divisions came together to brainstorm about ways in which they could come together to support our work and each other, especially given recent shortages in our residential programs.  As a result, some of our colleagues from community based programs have already risen to this challenge and will be redeployed to our residences over the next few weeks.  Thank you to each and every one of you!

As we brace for the possibility of increased staffing shortages, we are facing the difficult reality of asking even more staff to respond to this call.

In considering redeployment, we are being very intentional to approach it both responsibly and also equitably, knowing full well that none of our staff have signed up to work under these challenging conditions.  We have made every effort to identify those staff with the greatest readiness to redeploy, those who could volunteer to be part of the “first wave“, and then to consider which staff have the greatest ability to redeploy given the other responsibilities they are currently carrying.  But we also have to plan for the possibility – and even the likelihood – that more will be needed.

I want to be very honest with all of you about the reality we are facing.  The governor’s executive order, and the city’s guidance that followed, named GSS and our full staff as part of the city’s essential workforce.  This gave us the assurance that our contracts and, therefore also our staff, would continue to be paid through this crisis.  But with that also comes the responsibility to help the city get through this in any way we can. That means continuing to come to work where programs remain open and to be willing to redeploy where more hands are needed. The alternative was layoffs and some of our colleagues were already planning for this in their organizations when the governor’s executive order was issued.  This very difficult reality is being weighed and balanced every single day by the Executive Team, as we meet daily to make decisions and plans about how best to move forward.

As we enter what we anticipate to be the most challenging days of this crisis, I want to acknowledge the commitment, bravery and sacrifices that staff working on the front lines are making.  For those of you who are doing this, please know that we are working hard to find ways to put protective measures in place for you.  As we await the delivery of bulk orders for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), (hoping more supplies will begin to arrive within the coming week) we will begin disbursing surgical masks and gloves to staff beginning with those who are working directly with participants.  We now have an adequate supply of hand sanitizer that is being distributed to all of our open sites.  Also, because having a fever is one of the primary symptoms for COVID-19, we are implementing protocols requiring staff to monitor their temperature on a daily basis – both at home and upon arrival to their work site (Joan Siegel send out two very important emails about this yesterday).  Anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees will be asked not to report to work.  While this will provide greater health protections for both participants and staff, it is also likely to result in greater staffing shortages.  We continue to emphasize safety and best practices around hand washing and social distancing.

We must count on each other to take all possible measures to keep our community as safe as we can as we walk through this together.

This is a quote from our foundress Sr. Mary Euphrasia that I have always loved but it has never resonated more than it does now: “Rise above difficulties and go straight on.  With courage let us give ourselves entirely to the good of [each other]”

All we can do is keep moving forward, one day at a time, until we get to the other side.

Michelle

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

3/27/2020

Dear GSS,

As the weekend begins, we face challenges, on multiple levels, that we have never faced before.  But we also have amazing assets bolstering is… from our “heroes” delivering services on the “front lines”, to all those keeping the agency’s business operations running, we are relying on each other as we never have had to before, and we continue to serve our mission through this storm.

Right now, it is also more important than ever before to take care of ourselves and each other, including our mental health and well being.  We want to share the resources we have in place to support you:

The following resources were shared in a previous message from Irina Kaplan:

  • Employee Assistance Program – for short-term free counseling: 1-800-964-3577
  • If you see a therapist/counselor already, check if they can do remote phone or skype sessions.
  • NYC Well – Text, call, or chat options for mental health and crisis intervention: 1-888-NYC-WELL
  • NYC Anti-Violence Project crisis hotline for LGBTQ & HIV- affected survivors: 212-714-1141
  • Safe Horizon’s domestic violence hotline: 1- 800-621-HOPE (4673)

Across the agency, our Culture Carriers are showing up every day (including by Zoom!) to make a difference.  Shout out to Celia Ceballos, Assistant Director of Mission and Culture, who shared an inspirational message expressing her support and gratitude for all staff (her message is attached).  Thank you Celia!  We feel your positive energy!

Celia will soon be sending out a calendar invite to her weekly virtual events so keep an eye out!

In addition, Nancy Fritsche-Egan, Irina Kaplan and Krystal Melendez are going to offer virtual community circles for staff.  And finally Elizabeth (Liz) DiLuzio will be hosting stress-relieving virtual yoga, breathwork and meditation classes via Zoom!  Watch for these opportunities as well. Thanks to all for your contributions!

Part of how I am taking care of ME is staying connected to the GSS team by visiting with our colleagues working in program.

Wednesday I spent some time with our team who stepped up to staff the Regional Enrichment Center, at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, including Adam Bartholomew and Jean Poyo from GSS, and Lottie Almonte from the DOE with me in the photo below (we were social distancing more than it appears in the picture – promise!)  The team is part of the citywide effort to provide emergency childcare for the children of health care staff and other essential workers.

Michelle

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

3/24/2020

Dear GSS,

I just wanted to take a moment to reach out to thank you for all you are doing to respond, in the spirit of our mission, in this unprecedented moment …  to the needs of participants, the communities in which we work, and our city.  Whether you are keeping one of our residences going, redeploying at a REC to help care for the children of health care workers and other essential staff (including our own colleagues), doing case contacts, or homework help, over the phone, internet or in person where that is still necessary, or helping keep all the “trains” running from wherever you are …. your work matters … now perhaps more than ever before.

I also want to name the reality, which you already know, that many New Yorkers – including some of our colleagues and participants – have begun to test positive and these numbers will increase in the coming days and weeks.  So far we have notified staff and participants in sites where someone has tested positive.  We know that increasingly it will become impossible to do so and we are continuing to seek guidance about whether tracking exposures or continued notifications even make sense at this point.  Government officials have already stated that all New Yorkers should now consider ourselves as having been exposed.

We are truly stepping into a space where we are facing the unknown.

This is where our role as the city’s essential workforce really matters.  We are needed and we will continue to serve, even when it is hard.  And it will be hard.  As some of us get sick, others will need to redeploy, and maybe redeploy again.  Keeping our residences staffed is a top priority and we are quickly moving into an “all hands on deck” situation.  There is no way around this.

We are doing everything possible to seek out sources of personal protective equipment, which is very challenging to come by, and we have had to ration what we do have.  We hope that this will change in the coming days.  Please… especially all those on the front lines… maintain as much personal space as possible (I know this is very challenging given the work we do!), wash hands as regularly as possible, and most of all avoid touching our faces.

Tomorrow, I plan to visit our colleagues who are redeployed at the REC at Boys & Girls High School and in the coming days I look forward to being with those of you working at other sites.  I cannot tell you enough how much your dedication to our participants, our mission and our work means – always, but especially now when it matters the most.

Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Michelle

This is a quote that came in a daily email I receive… it really spoke to me today so I am sharing it with you:

Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror.  Just keep going, no feeling is final.   — RAINER MARIA RILKE

 ——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

3/22/2020

Dear GSS,

I hope this message finds you safe and healthy.

This email contains several important updates, so please read them carefully.

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the serious way in which COVID-19 is continuing to impact us all.  Our thoughts are with friends, family and colleagues, whether they are directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19.

As an agency, we are trying to be very clear in our communication protocols and our responsibility to everyone that is impacted by this.

Staff Notification:

As background, please note that the NYC Department of Health has stated that at this point, each of us should assume we have been exposed to COVID-19.  Based on this, GSS will only notify relevant staff when we have a confirmed positive case.

  1.  When HR is informed a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately contact our Emergency Response Team which includes Senior program leadership as well as our Health Services team.  We assess each situation in order to gain information that will allow us to inform staff as accurately as possible. Our goal is to act quickly so we can inform all staff that may be affected.
  2.  As the information about COVID-19 continues to change, we also wanted to inform you of the most recent guidance we received this weekend from Dr. Angel Mendoza, Chief Medical Officer at ACS: It stated that only individuals who are symptomatic must isolate. If you are symptomatic, you should remain isolated until you have been symptom free for 72 hours. No quarantine is recommended by the DOHMH for asymptomatic individuals, whether they are exposed or not.

We understand this is different from the information that we have shared previously, but guidance from the city and state has been changing very rapidly and we are doing our best to give you the most up to date information we have.

Again, our goal is to inform any staff who may have been affected by a positive COVID-19 case as quickly as possible.

If you have a question about our notification policy, please reach out to Joy Gerber, Director of Human Resources Joy_Gerber@goodshepherds.org.

Our Essential Workforce:

As a non-profit organization providing key services to youth and families throughout the City of New York, Good Shepherd Services is considered to be an Essential Employer under Governor Cuomo’s 3/20/20 Executive Order.  As contracted service providers, this means that our staff may be called upon at any time to meet the needs of our participants.  If we fail to do so, we risk not being paid by the City.

Service Provision:

As we respond to this crisis, we are driven by our mission and our goal to ensure continuity in the provision of essential services to our communities, and ongoing support for the safety and well-being of our participants.  Over the next week, many of our community-based staff will be re-deployed to the City’s Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs), where they will provide daycare and enrichment support to children of First Responders.  Staff in some of our Cornerstone programs will begin distributing food to families starting Tuesday.  Our Foster Care and Preventive staff are continuing to make critical home visits with high-risk families as needed.  Our Single Stop staff are continuing to provide emergency services, and so many of you have continued to support your participants even though your programs are closed.

I am so deeply grateful for your commitment, and compassion, especially during this extremely difficult time.

Programs and Sites:

Over the past week, several of our community-based buildings have closed or partly closed with services reduced and moved to a remote format.  In order to make sure that staff stay informed about shifts in service provision, we have created a document containing the status of each program area.  This document is kept on the Green Door’s Coronavirus Resource Hub and will be updated regularly as situations change.

Out-of-home-care programs remain open at all times. These programs include:

–  Residential (17th Street, YRC, NSPs, NSD, Green House

–  Family Foster Care/Treatment Family Foster Care

–  Supportive Housing (Chelsea Foyer, MERH)

–  Safe Homes (Residential)

Community-based program staff continue to be engaged in responding to the emerging needs of participants due to travel restrictions, the closure of schools, closures of other services, and diminishing employment opportunities.

–  The C.R.I.B. – At this time, the C.R.I.B. staff are working remotely and promoting the website through membership contests, promoting resources for health and wellness, education and concrete supports.

–  Community Partnership Program (CPP) – All staff are working remotely and are maintaining communication and coordination with the community and other providers. They also continue to work on the Census.

–  Single Stop – Staff are meeting with participants by appointment one day a week at PJACC (Friday) and 5th Avenue (Wednesday) to offer emergency services only: Food stamps, Unemployment claims, and Shelter applications.

–  Care Coordination – All staff will be working remotely and providing services per State guidelines.

–  Prevention – Staff are currently working from home and having daily phone calls with families through teleconferencing. The prevention team is working closely with ACS to figure out how best to conduct home visits to high risk families during this time.

–  After Schools and Beacons – After school programs in DOE and Charter schools remain closed until DOE reopens the schools. Staff are working remotely reaching out the families and planning for summer camp.  Staff may also be redeployed to RECs.

–  School-Based Programming (including LifeLink) – Since all DOE schools are closed, our staff are all working remotely. Staff are checking in with students regularly and helping them acclimate to remote learning.  Staff may also be redeployed to RECs.

–  Cornerstones and Community Centers – At this moment our Cornerstones and Community Centers are closed, but will likely be converted into resource centers or food distribution centers depending on the needs of the city.  When this happens, GSS will staff them.

–  Rebound – All staff are working remotely.  Staff are helping participants create resumes and conducting mock interviews remotely.  They are also providing general guidance and support.

 

–  Youth Justice (AIM, Arches, Next Steps, Parent Support, ACE, BRAG, Good Works) – Our youth justice programs are modifying their work in order to best work with participants while safely practicing social distancing.  Staff are using a variety of methods such as teleconferencing/video conferencing, phone calls, text messaging, and moving groups to 1:1 meetings all while ensuring participant engagement.

Once again the Coronavirus Resource Hub contains all of this information and will be updated daily as things change.

Support Departments:

At this time, all 7th Avenue Support Departments will continue to be available but will be working remotely.  As stated last week, staff are reachable by email as they normally would be.  In addition, some staff have added their personal cell phone numbers to their signature lines so that they can be reached by phone.  If, for some reason, you do not receive a timely response – please contact one of the following staff depending on the area of work:

Alexandra Cheriyan, Government & External Relations Alexandra_Cheriyan@goodshepherds.org

Geraldine Ferrara, General Counsel  Geraldine_Ferrara@goodshepherds.org

Greghan Fischer, Finance Greghan_Fischer@goodshepherds.org

David Gerber, I.T. David_Gerber@goodshepherds.org

Joy Gerber, Human Resources Joy_Gerber@goodshepherds.org

Erika Lake, Facilities Erika_Lake@goodshepherds.org

Diana Noriega, Anti-Racism & Equity, Learning & Development, Mission and Culture Diana_Noriega@goodshepherds.org

Joan Siegel, Health Services Joan_Siegel@goodshepherds.org

Miranda Yates, Program Evaluation and Planning Miranda_Yates@goodshepherds.org

Michelle Yanche, Executive Office Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

Other Administrative Offices:

As we explore the needs of our other Administrative offices, we will continue to keep you up to date on openings and closures.  In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact the AED or Division Director who oversees each site.

Joy Goldsmith, AED for Brooklyn Community Based Programs Joy_Goldsmith@goodshepherds.org:

503 5th Ave., Blake Ave., PJACC

Anne Waldfogel, AED for Bronx Community Based Programs  Anne_Waldfogel@goodshepherds.org:

2471 Morris Ave.

Karen Callender, Senior Division Director, FFC/TFFC Karen_Callender@goodshepherds.org:

1775 Grand Concourse

Important Communications:

This week, several important communications were sent out.

I want to draw your attention to Friday’s communication from Greghan Fischer, CFO & CAO, about payroll and expense guidelines during this time (attached).  In order to get paid in a timely way, you must follow the guidance she shared.  In addition, please made sure all of your staff, including part-time staff, have active GSS emails so that we can communicate with them.

In closing, I wanted to share this grounding  quote that the Executive Team used as part of our meeting check-in over the weekend: You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope. 

— Thomas Merton

Thank you all for the courage, faith and hope you are demonstrating during this time.

 

With deep gratitude,

Michelle

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

3/19/2020

Dear GSS,

As this unprecedented week starts to wind down, I wanted to just say thank you to all of you. Today I took some time to visit some sites where our colleagues continue to do the work despite what is happening around us. I have seen the compassion, commitment, optimism and bold leadership of GSS shine through in so many different ways as all are rallying to support our participants and each other.

Given the number of emails from the health department, funders, government officials and our colleagues – including me – we are all experiencing various levels of information overload.

We want to get you all of the information we have available, but I know it can be hard to absorb so many things coming at us all at once.  One great suggestion I received today (thank you, Akelia!) is to think about having a periodic call-in or video forum to share important information.

We know conference calls are straining under the pressure and not working very reliably right now. But we are also looking at how we can better use the Green Door, Zoom and Skype.  Over the next week we are going to explore how we might put these options to work in order to be a bit more creative and engaging.  Such forums would also provide an opportunity for you to ask the questions that are on your mind.  These emails will still continue, but the emergency response team will do our best to think about alternative ways to communicate as well.

One last thing ~ during this time, don’t forget the importance of self-care.  If we do not attend to ourselves in some small way every day I, it will be very challenging to support the needs of others.  I’ve attached some helpful information on healing, self-care and community care sent earlier this week by Irina Kaplan, Director of Trauma Informed Practice & Resiliency (thank you Irina!). Please take some time to review this information, and then look for ways to put it into practice.

Thank you again for all that you do – and especially for all that you are doing right now.

Michelle

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

 

 

3/17/2020

Dear GSS,

As we have said, the situation regarding COVID-19 is changing from day to day, sometimes even more rapidly.  Guidelines issued by the CDC and the Department of Health this week continue to state that maximizing social isolation is the best way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.  Today, Mayor DeBlasio announced that New York City should prepare for a Shelter-in Place order to be in effect within the next 48 hours.  Therefore, we are now at the point of allowing staff in positions for which it is possible, to begin working remotely effective tomorrow, 3/18/20.  Your supervisor will speak with you about whether this option can work for you and how you can continue to provide services to your participants from home.

Guidelines:  https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page

Poster:  https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/stop-the-spread-poster.pdf

First and foremost, please refer to the attached Work From Home Policy shared by HR Director Joy Gerber last Friday and review it with your supervisor.  Our AED’s and Division Directors have already begun to have conversations about what this will look like, and the reality is that it will look different in every program.  For those of you who have not yet requested remote access, please work with your supervisor to request it from the I.T. Helpdesk.

Questions:

Will I continue to get paid if I am working from home?

Yes, please complete your timesheet in ADP as you normally would.

Direct Deposit will continue as is.

For those who do not have Direct Deposit, paper checks will be mailed to your home address, so please make sure that HR/Payroll has your current information on file.

We are strongly encouraging everyone to sign up for Direct Deposit to ensure that you get paid as quickly as possible.

What if my program is closed and I can’t work from home?

If your program is closed and you are healthy, you may be asked to work in another program that is short staffed.

If you are asked to work for a program that is outside of your program area, you will receive additional pay.

If there are no options for re-deployment, you will continue to be paid as you normally would.

Will I continue to receive support from 7th Avenue?

Yes.  All 7th Avenue staff are reachable by email as they normally would be.  In addition, some staff have added their personal cell phone numbers to their signature lines so that they can be reached by phone.

If, for some reason, you do not receive a timely response – please contact one of the following staff depending on the area of work:

 

Joy Gerber, Human Resources Joy_Gerber@goodshepherds.org

Greghan Fischer, Finance Greghan_Fischer@goodshepherds.org

Miranda Yates, Program Evaluation and Planning Miranda_Yates@goodshepherds.org

Alexandra Cheriyan, Government & External Relations Alexandra_Cheriyan@goodshepherds.org

Erika Lake, Facilities Erika_Lake@goodshepherds.org

David Gerber, I.T. David_Gerber@goodshepherds.org

Geraldine Ferrara, General Counsel  Geraldine_Ferrara@goodshepherds.org

Michelle Yanche, Executive Office Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

If you have any questions, please speak with your supervisor immediately.  Once again, we thank you for your flexibility and hard work during this challenging time.

Hang in there!  We will get through this together!

Michelle

——

Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267

Michelle_Yanche@goodshepherds.org

GoodShepherds.org  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

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