June 15, 2021
By Cheryl Steenerson, PFK Bluegrass Region Coordinator
As 2019 rolled in, I began to realize just how few opportunities existed for our adult consumers to socialize and make new friends, after they left school. That’s when the 3rd Thursday Social Club was born.
Though PFK started it, we only organize and execute it, because we wanted to open it up to all adult IDD folks in the Bluegrass area. Any adult on the Waiver can attend, along with their staff.
Though 2020 got hijacked from us, 2019 saw lots of fun activities and attendees. On the 3rd Thursday of each month we would gather for a meal and a fun afternoon activity like visiting the Bluegrass Airport Museum, touring Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory, The Movie Tavern, 3D printing, pizza and bowling, crafting and painting. Each event is kept low cost and each participant pays their own way, if there is a fee.
Now that 2021 has arrived, we already have one done! On Thursday, May 20th, the group met at the Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort for an outdoor picnic and tour of the grounds.
It was a perfect day with plenty of sunshine and even a light breeze! Participants brought their own lunch and then followed the map to see numerous astounding works, complete with information signs explaining the work and the artist. Everyone had a blast!
Several of the pieces were interactive and invited the participants to touch, climb and even sing within them. The park is a nonprofit that runs on donations. A golf cart is available for use for those with mobility issues. They also have classes and events, both day and night, to introduce visitors to a variety of art and even understanding the night sky!
Many events for 2021 are in the works including Shaker Village (Harrodsburg), The Living Arts & Science Center (Lexington), lake fishing (Richmond) and the River Cruise (Frankfort). Suggestions for events are encouraged from the participants.
August 19, 2019
In this edition of our employee spotlight, we would like to introduce two of our program coordinators: Melinda Brightwell and Brian Parker. Mendy oversees services including family home provider and ABI companion care. Brian oversees community living supports, respite, community access, personal assistance, personal care and homemaker services. They oversee these services in the Louisville, Elizabethtown, Bardstown and Bowling Green areas. Mendy and Brian utilize their wealth of experience and demonstrate teamwork, compassion and hard work on a daily basis to ensure each consumer we serve receives quality individualized services. We asked them to share what being a service provider means to them. Here is what their journey means to them in their own words:
I have been in this field for a little over 16 years. After working in the school system for 8 years, I went to work for an agency as a direct support professional. I loved being a DSP, getting to know clients, and building relationships with teams. I then became a house manager, an ADT assistant Director and then started providing medical coordination with the nurse, before coming here to Path Forward. Being a service provider to me means that you look out for your clients and you do whatever you need to do to make sure that their needs are met. I love working in this field. It is so rewarding seeing our clients having meaningful lives and doing things that they want to do such as going on vacations and being able to get out into the community and do the things they choose to do. As the residential coordinator, I love to see my clients placed in a home where they are happy, feel support, and have the family life that some of them have never had before. The life lesson that I have gained from working in this field is that never take anything for granted and always be grateful for the people that you have in your life, sometimes you don’t realize the impact that you can have on someone’s life just by being there.
Bring a service provider to me means helping build positive relationships with the consumers we serve, their staff and team members, and the community. It means helping the people we serve reach their greatest potential and goals. It means advocating for the consumers we serve to have the fundamental rights that everyone else has. Being in the human service field for the last 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes for the better over the years for the consumers we serve. Generational perspectives have changed regarding acceptance, advocacy, community inclusion, and overall quality of life for the consumers we serve. During my journey in this field, I have seen a lot from working in an institutional style facility, establishing staff residences, group homes, being a behavioral technician, house manager, residential director(for over 30 houses), and program director(overseeing a residential program, ADT program, FHP program). There were a lot of good memories made, even through the difficult times. Human growth for the consumers we serve and contractors is what I remember most. I am a pretty laid back kind of guy but patience, listening, and promotion of the best version of myself daily are lessons I have gained on this journey that transcends into my everyday life.
August 15, 2019
10 Years and Counting!
By Alex Sholtz
Path Forward of KY was founded in January 2009 with the goal to provide effective and individualized services to people with disabilities. We began in Louisville with Supported Employment and then as the years passed we continued to add services and 3 new regions, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and the Bluegrass. 10 years on, we now offer Case Management, Behavior Supports, Personal Care, Community Living Supports, Respite Services, Community Access, Acquired Brain Injury Services, Family Home Providers, Ticket to Work and an even more thriving Supported Employment Service, in three Regions.
This decade of work has grown our great team of staff and contractors that embody our mission, vision and values. With a leadership team boasting of more than 75 years of experience in Human Services, and having Brittany lead us on our journey, we look forward to building even greater services and Regions for the exceptional people that we serve. When you get right down to it, it’s all because of rock solid teamwork. After all, that’s the PFK Way!
August 12, 2019
Denise Knight and Teresa Lonkard
Paulette has always been passionate about learning and about achieving her goals. When she learned about the College Connections program through Down Syndrome of Louisville with a partnership with JCTC, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. On May 23, 2019, after almost 3 years of hard work and determination, Paulette celebrated graduating college at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Paulette enjoyed taking part in classes including Life Skills, which she attended with several of her peers. She then chose a variety of integrated courses including African American Music History, Drawing, and History of Rock and Roll. She reported that she loved her music classes and learned a lot. After giving a speech during her ceremony about what graduating meant to her, she celebrated her accomplishment with her family home provider and her siblings. She said it was a “great day” and she was sure to let all of her friends know about her graduation. Paulette shared that her mother had always told her that she could graduate college and she wanted to complete the program for her mother. Paulette is excited to have her certificate of completion and to be a college graduate. She is ready to go out and change the world. Congratulations Paulette!
January 23, 2019
In 2008, the face of the global economy changed forever. America was in the height of the 2008 Recession. Investment banks, the secondary credit market, and an unregulated financial market disappeared. The housing market collapsed. Central banks around the world propped up the financial system. In September of that year, America came very close to total economic collapse. New inventions still made a difference! 2008 saw a camera for the blind, electric cars, instant replay for baseball, No Country for Old Men won Critic’s Choice Best Film and Alex Sholtz and Jim Bratcher rolled up their sleeves and started the work to establish the very successful Path Forward of Kentucky!
The first service to be offered by PFK was Supported Employment. This service assists consumers in navigating the State’s Vocational Rehabilitation program and puts them on a path of employment, out in their communities, by providing job coaches. Today, the coaches guide consumers thru the entire employment process, from resumes to interviewing and finally on-the-job support for over 94 job placements in 2018.
Case Management services followed Supported Employment and today works with 34 consumers to put together a full menu of waiver services. Community Living Supports, Personal Care and Respite services were then added and exponentially grew the company, by hiring and training Direct Support Professionals throughout the Louisville Metro Region. These services help consumers become as independent as possible, in all aspects of their life, as well as provide their guardians with essential breaks from 24/7 care.
Acquired Brain Injury Waivers joined the list not long after, followed by residential services in the form of Family Home Providers. By 2012, Path Forward of KY had grown around Kentucky to include Supported Employment services in the Bowling Green Region and created the Bluegrass Region, serving 10 counties in central KY for both Michelle P and Supports for Community Living waiver services.
After getting the company up and running, like a well-oiled machine, the Executive Director position was handed down in 2013 from Alex to Brittany Knoth, our current ED. Brittany has led the way in professional development and team building while establishing the name of Path Forward as a respected leader in the field of Medicaid Services. In 2018, Brittany was honored by being selected to serve on the Centralized Quality Management Advisory Subpanel for the Medicaid Waivers Redesign. Today, Brittany excels in both management style and substance, leading growth and rock solid teamwork!
Over this past decade, PFK has grown to be financially sound by using a common sense approach while keeping quality and compassion top of mind. As chief motivator, Jim Bratcher, likes to say, “The main thing is and always will be the main thing at PFK; the folks we serve. That will always be our focus!”
Touching the lives of more than 200 consumers and guardians, closing in on half a million hours of service, PFK has a well-earned reputation of fine service driven by teamwork. We can’t wait to see what the next decade holds in store for us.