EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER – WINNER and *NOMINEES* – April to June 2022 (2nd Qtr)
Carrie Cajka – FC “WINNER” Congratulations –
This woman is a go-getter, passionate about her work, literally ALWAYS willing to help others on her team including her supervisor. She shows an incredible amount of initiative and independent thinking and problem solving with a foster family and agency centered focus. She brings ideas to the team and presents plans/ideas for how to execute them. She is able to shed light in a productive way, in areas for improvement and how to work to achieve them. She is a natural born leader, and a HUGE help to members on the team. Whether it be helping with our database, covering on-call, or supporting with placements – Carrie is up to the task. Over this quarter, we have received multiple messages from happy families, glowing with appreciation for their interactions with Carrie and the knowledge and perspective she brings them. She is having an effect on the incoming families perspective’s on foster care that help better meet the placement needs of Colorado youth requiring foster care. Standing ovation!
Maria Hernandez – FC
Maria is a gem of a human being. She demonstrates confidence in her work, maintaining compassion and a person-centered approach throughout all of her interactions. She stepped up the advocacy work between this family and the county, and was able to help preserve the placement for longer than it would have originally lasted without her. The family raved about her and sung her praises to her supervisors.
Amanda Dempsey – PTP
Mandy is a tremendous support for the PTP program! She is dedicated to her work and assists when asked every time. This is in addition to sensing when there is a need and jumping in! Mandy is diligent in contacting our families and following up to obtain availability for visits. She ensures we have accurate billing for our counties and quickly mitigates any discrepancies.
Jamie Gordon – PTP
Jamie has been very flexible within the program, filling in for other staff when needed. We have many changes happening within the program right now, and Jamie has been great about rolling with the punches and helping us to make sure that everything is covered! Jamie has jumped head first into several of the new programs that we are working to get off the ground with Jefferson County.
Tyler Skelton – ACES
Tyler is independent, thoughtful, detailed and open to learning. Tyler is patient in his diligent searches for family. Repeatedly, our Adams County partners compliment his work. Tyler has excellent communication skills, which makes him successful in his work.
Kristy Briggs – HS
Kristy has been amazing at educating me about Colorado social services, state laws, and how things are done in the state (vs CA where I came from) and she has been instrumental in her guidance, answering my many questions, giving positive feedback, and she is always available.
Employee of the Quarter Awards
Congratulations to our Employee of the Quarter: JULY – SEPTEMBER 2021
~*WINNER: Shira Hecht; Clinical Program ~*
Shira personifies a great employee, clinician, and teammate. She consistently shows up for clients with a level head and a big heart. She has a difficult job working with all members of each family, but she has a God-like gift helping families overcome their challenges while working with them. She doesn’t try to change them into someone there not. Shira has a quality that many others struggle with; She holds her boundaries well, and can confront maladaptive behaviors with parents and guardians while maintaining rapport. If you have any questions about how she supports families change their lives just call one of her clients!
Shira is also one amazing co-worker. Clinical people work solo a lot, but if you ever get the chance to meet Shira then you quickly find out how supportive, hard working, and how much of a great listener she is. She always helps out coworkers with paper work and ideas to best help clients. This past quarter Shira assisted with covering several clinicians when they took time-off. Shira willingly stepped-up to the plate and facilitated sessions with numerous challenging clients. On top of all that, Shira has consistently volunteered for extra duties within Maple Star. She sits on our PQI meetings and volunteered to support MI. We have also heard from multiple payors about how wonderful she is to work with and some even request her specifically! Besides being nominated for EOQ several times she continues to provide excellent clinical supports to our families, accepts challenging feedback and makes needed adjustments.
AMAZING RECOGNITION ACROSS THE BOARD! WAY TO GO SHIRA, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!
Zhado Trumbo; Parenting Time Program/Visitation
Despite distance between regions and team members, Zhado has stood out in her program(s). This quarter a specific case arose that was difficult and complicated, especially when it came to scheduling. Zhado rose to the challenge and did an amazing job being professional, accommodating and approachable. When working with the difficulties presented by the MOC she was able to answer all the questions MOC had, and is working hard to get visits started as soon as possible. Zhado was timely in her responses and if any of us had been MOC, everything Zhado did would put us at ease. That is the kind of service, vibe, and energy we want to bring to all of our clients and families. Zhado’s quality of work is outstanding, her problem-solving skills are impressive, and her service to clients is awe-worthy as she really focuses on the power of positive relationships. You deserve a round of applause! Thank you for all you do Zhado!
Kim Charles; Foster Care
A shout out is well deserved for Kim who visited EVERY MSCO Office this quarter to support her team in prepping for the annual state audit. The span of her efforts to connect with her team across all regions did not go unnoticed! Thank you, Kim!
Mallori Kenworthy; DVRP
Mallori has been a MEGA valuable team member to Maple Star for years! She continues to prove why we hold her in such high regard as a team member and a leader. Mallori has stepped out of this role several times to support the agency as a whole. Mallori’s cross-program support and expertise to wrap up this quarter was amazing. She was responsive to support a DV circumstantial situation with another program’s family. Mallori was a great resource to help the program with determining appropriate steps to ensure safety, and perspective when some typical DV survivor traits started to emerge and made the team wavier. She was a rock for helping the team feel confident in their decisions that day. Her quick responsiveness and team player attitude was SO appreciated! We always love to see our team pull together lending their specific skills and expertise to all programs agency-wide that are 100% focused on the best client care available.
Jessi Crandall; Foster Care
Jessi’s flexibly and positive, encouraging attitude is a burst of sunshine that is an enormous asset to our program and our agency as a whole. From day one as a team member Jessi as stepped in to any space that has needed her help. She is a go-getter who is open to learning and growing in all areas of the program, and has volunteered to be a support to MI. She has stepped up and helped other team members when their work loads are overwhelming. Jessi has completed trainings and shared information with the team along when presenting new ideas. She is an innovator, encourager, accountable, dependable, and a valued to her families and team member on many levels. Jessi is a huge support and positive person who works diligently to build positive relationships through connecting and encouraging others.
Jessi you ROCK and we are grateful to have you on our team!
Deja Stewart; Parenting Time
Deja always gets her reports in in a timely manner, she is super professional, detail oriented, compassionate, kind, and extremely polite when asking for help to set up things for her (room reservations, etc.). She is a Rockstar and our department would be lacking a lot without her!
Ronda Carlson; Foster Care
The end of this quarter was what we have to guess was one of the hardest quarters since joining the Maple Star team. Ronda has a strong, positive, reputation with every foster family she touches and has been an emotional support for many families as they encounter the many different faces and stressors that come with being a foster parent. Strong, long-term, supportive relationships and rapport are so important in this work, and are an asset to having families be honest with us. When we are faced with having to make the hardest calls, we question if we are doing the right thing. Ronda was transparent with a family with a difficult situation, and let them know what she had to do. We recognize how difficult it was, thank you Ronda.
Victoria Valencia; Clinical
Victoria puts a lot of effort and creativity in her work. She goes out of her way to make the interventions meet the client’s interests and how they process information. Victoria recently took the lead on welcoming a new hire and loaded a basket full of items a new therapist would benefit from. She checks in with them and ensures they understand the processes. Additionally, Victoria has a client that has some major sensory issues and uses fidgets a lot. She noticed the client interacted differently when he had his “blanket” so she quilted a blanket with an assortment of fidgets woven into the fabric! That’s above and beyond & kiddo LOVEs his new blanket!
Amber Ingram; Foster Care
Amber has a dedication to her clients and compassion that is immediately noticeable!
Amber supports her clients and her coworkers with genuine connection 😊. No matter how mundane the day-to-day parts of her job may be, her attitude remains a strength. She puts her brain to work to come up with ideas and solutions to help her families ad the program. Amber is SO deserving of this! What a Rockstar.
Kristy Briggs; Home Study
Kristy has been a valued member of the home study team for many years and recently Kristy has transitioned into foster parenting. The past couple of months have been difficult for Kristy on a personal level but Kristy has never dropped the ball and remains devoted to her home study and foster parenting roles within Maple Star. I would like Kristy to know she is very appreciated and valued here at Maple Star! Thank you for being so AMAZING!
Melissa Suazo; Foster Care
Melissa has excelled at taking on a supervisory role this past quarter. She has maintained strong, positive relationships with her team’s previous peers – who she now supervises. Her team has shared the excitement of having Melissa as their new supervisor. Her go-getter attitude and enthusiasm for the role, the program, and with Maple Star is evident in everything she does! Melissa’s outreach to other organizations to get Foster Care access to amazing recruitment or publicity opportunities has been amazing! This quarter Melissa secured Maple Star interviews that will be added in to a documentary about a previous Bronco player, and video/audio material for commercials to launch on the Fox channel (not fox news haha)! So exciting! This amazing woman really embodies the characteristics of what it means to really be a team! In every direction, and at all levels 😊
Ellen Dudley; Clinical
Ellen is a great example of someone who uses their strengths well to enhance the field and help improve our clinical team, and is a very supportive teammate at the same time. Ellen gives her best efforts in all that she does, she is incredibly helpful in her niche areas with clinical documentation and helping re-vamp clinical tools, and her clients are served very well because of her work with them. Ellen helps keep our team to a high standard and I am very grateful to have her as a co-worker😊
Carrie Cajka; Foster Care
BAM BAM BAM! This lovely lady gets things MOVING on the Foster Care Recruitment Front! We have so many families coming through that Carrie has been able to suss out (what we hope) are the “right” foster families to onboard. Getting them to be on board with sibling sets, or increasing their age preferences and really driving home the importance of reunification and other Families First approaches to care in mind. We knew Carrie would be a natural fit for the role, but she has gone above and beyond in her outreach to secure donations, event opportunities, and resources at little to no cost. Carrie is making magic happen! Her work doesn’t stop at what was mentioned above, she also has had a large role in our Binti database perfection, and is supporting her team members, and trying to up their confidence in themselves to help drive program results and employee satisfaction.
Congratulations to our APRIL-JUNE 2021 Employee of the Quarter!
*~Winner: Amber Ingram; Foster Care Program~*
Amber is an absolute superstar, who has been nominated every quarter since her employment began! Families continue to report how much they love her and she ensures she is building connections with the foster kiddos in the homes and not just going in to collect paperwork and “check boxes”. She takes connecting with her families very seriously and is able to balance connection and professionalism very well. Amber’s immediate actions and response to supporting the foster care program, nearly doubling her workload during a transitional period has been an amazing help! This quarter she has taken on new families who were used to a different way of doing things, and although change can be really difficult, Amber is putting in the time to help the families really understand the way oversight of their home and expectations need to go, and she stays committed to Maple Star’s standards with our homes.
Amber is on the right path to become a great leader in program. She steps up, she follows through and she is constantly learning. Amber keeps a positive attitude even when the position gets “tough.” She embodies everything that Maple Star strives to represent!
Shira Hecht; Clinical
Shira is a true teammate. She will work the same case as a co-therapist, but still save room to check in on how the case is sitting with co-therapist, support and listen. Not only that but she has a way of bonding (really well) with just about every kid we work with—it’s pretty amazing. She makes the team better and supports the families we serve very well. She has received feedback of being a great support to the families on her caseload, they feel heard by her and safe to process their thoughts and feelings. Also, she somehow is able to build rapport with just about anyone, that goes such a long way therapeutically and is an incredible strength of hers.
Jennifer Kemp; Foster Care
Jennifer goes out of her way to be helpful and is so dedicated to helping others. She always has work on her plate and never turns down the opportunity to help others and get things done no matter how busy she is already.
Morgan Horneck; Clinical
Morgan is a consistent and knowledgeable therapist for all of her clients. On the cases shared with her, she always discusses her clients with the upmost regard and kindness. Morgan always has a creative idea or insightful take on the dynamics of the case to work on cases effectively.
She is always attempting to reschedule when clients cancel and uphold all the standards that Maple Star embodies particularly during a pandemic.
Congratulations to our JANUARY-MARCH 2021 Employee of the Quarter!
*~Winner: Jennifer Wilson; Clinical Program~*
Jennifer’s time with Maple Star has shown how capable and motivated she is to grow and learn as much as possible. Aside from being an extremely dedicated therapist to her clients and team; she trains new hires in Motivational Interviewing, has worked for Aces, and recently began assisting the Clinical team with administrative duties. Jennifer exemplifies the high standard we have at Maple Star.
Jennifer never complains, is always present, responsive, and always able to help her team. She is scrupulous in her documentation and understanding of situations, as well as providing top notch care to her families. Jennifer provides a steady hand in even difficult situations/cases, and is able to provide support and perspective. Recently Jennifer has worked with some very challenging families and demonstrated solid professional boundaries, thoughtful interventions, and good communication with her team about the dynamics of the family.
Thank you for all you do Jennifer! Your win is well deserved!
Christi Beach; Foster Care
Christi is a solid supervisor who holds her team accountable for higher expectations that will undoubtedly improve the program. She is always looking for ways to support & advocate for them. There are things that most employees/supervisors don’t enjoy doing, but Christi has never tried to get out of them, or find ways around them. Christi is a brainstormer, who is always working towards solutions, not just sitting with the issue, and encourages her team to do the same which promotes professional growth and competency for her staff.
Christia Martinez; Parenting Time
Christy has been with Maple Star almost 6 years and brings a trauma lens to all of her work with clients. She has gone above and beyond in supporting her clients. Christy has worked with a client for almost 3 years and supported the Mom through several challenges, including multiple placement changes, one of which involved Mom moving out of state. Christy always maintains a positive attitude towards her work with Maple Star and her clients that she serves. She is dependable and an asset to the Parenting Time Program.
Jessi Crandall; Foster Care
Jessi is a hands-on helper. She continually offers assistance to others while also continuing to stay on top of her own work and stays organized. Jessi has taken on assisting busy recruiters while we experience change and while her own workload grows. We appreciate all her help! She has a great attitude and is making strong efforts to get to know and connect with her team.
Jade Fung Program; Foster Care
Jade walks the walk! She is compassionate, wise, and intentional in all we have seen her do. Jade helps out new workers with cheer/joy, and guides her clients with grace. She maintains a positive attitude towards her job duties and watching her work through problems is awesome, as you can see her knowledge and experience growing as she builds off of prior situations.