Leo’s Letter: Caring For Those Who Care

On September 27, community members from CLASS/LifeLinks, Northeast Arc, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, NFI Massachusetts, Key Program, Centerboard, and Bridgewell hosted a legislative breakfast at Peabody City Hall with the theme “Caring for Those Who Care.”

The speakers from the agencies were articulate and compelling. Several legislators personally attended: Senator Joan Lovely, Rep. Daniel Cahill, Rep. Theodore Speliotis, Rep. Paul Tucker, Rep. Thomas Walsh, and Rep. Bradley Hill. Others were represented by aides.

At the session I got to meet Rosemary and Mary Ann, active members of the DDS advisory boards. Rep. Walsh shared how when he was on school committee, that Rosemary’s and others appearances at the evening meetings struck him.

Here they were, caregiving throughout the day with a busy schedule, and yet they made the time and had the energy to show up at school committee.

That kind of energy and time is what it’s going to take to address our workforce crisis. We need to push for increases this year – and starting with a $2 per hour jump to address entry level, along with increases for those with experience and supervisors, and other staff supporting our constituents is essential (clinicians, program directors, etc.).

We can make a difference, but only if bring our communities together as we’ve done in the past!

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