To help people with mental disabilities discover and achieve their hopes and dreams for a meaningful life in the community.
Transforming communities through the contributions of the people we serve.
View a video of people served by TSI in the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. This pilot project begun in 06/2007 was developed as part of Allegheny County's Office of Behavioral Health plan for Housing As Home.
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Ron Abels (Human Resources) and Frank Lovato (maintenance): Rookie of the Year
Christine Hartman (supervisor): Kasparitus Award
Izetta Caldwell (Community Support Specialist I): James Harrison Award
Michelle Welsh (Coordinator): Dare to Dream Award
Sallianne Brown (Coordinator): Conan the Communicator Award
Samantha Mitchell (Community Support Specialist II): Hidden Gem Award
Alissa Bell and Bob Dinkelmeyer were given the Blood and Guts Award. Alissa for devising strategies for success, and Bob for balancing the numbers.
Alissa Bell, Human Resources Specialist, was recognized for our Core Value, Customer Service. Kathy Moulayianis (who also has 25 years of service) was noted as the “Keeper of the Gate” for the S. Braddock location. She saw that temp staff needed better information about the site’s internal processes. Kathy developed a step-bystep manual to better familiarize staff with site’s operations. In the past, only individuals have been nominated for this award.
For the second year in a row, not one, but two teams were recognized: staff at our Royer location (Minnie Benjamin, Tracy Clark, Geneva Hall, John Lavender, Karen Perry, Jill Stratton, Lisa Taylor, Kelly Wilson and Ken Wymer) for our Guiding Principle never forget why we do what we do and Permanent Supportive Housing Staff (Melissa Caldwell- Hall, Dana Cook, Andre Glover, Pat Jackson, Tom Jesick, Denisha Mahoney, Kimberly Mikita, Monica Scott and Keisha Shealey). This team was nominated by their peer, Joyce Snyder, for the Core Values of Teamwork and Customer Service. “The dedicated service provided by the entire staff (who) always provides the utmost respect for the persons served, their family members and the landlords they interact with on a routine basis.”
25 Years of Service Carol McReynolds (left) has been with TSI since 1988. Her career includes: Assistant Fiscal Director, Purchasing Agent, Payroll Manager, Systems Administrator. She also became the first employee to become a Certified Novell Administrator. The agency decided to hire a consulting company to meet IT needs, and her role became the CIS Coordinator/Payroll Manager. Over the years, she has watched the company keep up with technology to make our work become less challenging. Carol believes that “with good leadership, TSI will prosper, not only with (services and opportunities for) persons served, but opportunities for staff to grow within the corporation. I believe my personal contributions to the mission/vision are my efforts and work that created the evolution of our internal (computer) network. My personal dedication over the years has ensured that staff are paid for their hard work and dedication to TSI.”
Kathy Moulayianis (Previously mentioned above) also has 25 years of service.
Lanise Holmes, Donna Santucci, and Sharon Porter.
Ron Lankey, this year’s Janet Sieber award winner has shown the TSI’s Core Values of Communication, Teamwork and Customer Service by his day to day customer service both with staff and also with the persons served. The Permanent Supportive Housing program became a part of TSI a little over six years ago. A housing program such as PSH requires the need to develop relationships with a number of landlords. These relationships need to be cultivated on a routine basis to make sure all apartment repairs are taken care of in a timely fashion. Ron has cultivated these relationships and communicated with the landlords to help them understand the importance of repairs to adhere to the Section 8 housing guidelines. Often times repeat visits are necessary to keep the process moving along properly. Ron’s communication and teamwork are critical to the success of the PSH program and he makes great efforts to ensure that the Housing Support Specialists, Supervisors, Coordinators and landlords are all on the same page when it comes to housing searches, inspections and re-certifications. Ron has demonstrated a high level of communication to juggle the many moving pieces connected with the Housing program. His planning, teamwork and on-going communication with everyone concerned is vital for the success of this fast paced program. In addition ensuring that accessible accommodations for persons served are addressed as the need arises, he is also responsible for helping to oversee maintenance of TSI buildings. He uses the same planning and communication skills to accomplish those tasks as well. He is responsive and thorough when dealing with any type of situation. Ron “exemplifies” the values of the Agency” and through all his actions he has consistently shown respect to all those involved.
Core Value: Customer Service
TSI rents apartments through a local realty. This realty has their own maintenance department for repairs to the offices and apartments leased by TSI. New wall heaters were installed in the staff offices and they were not working properly. Displaying the excellent Core Value of Customer Service, Joe Sieber rewired the heater and attached a control panel so the heaters were functional and the staff could work in a comfortable environment. Joe then explained step by step what was needed in order to keep the offices warm for the upcoming winter season. In addition to this, he also provided excellent service while preparing for upcoming inspections.
Laurie Elliott (Not Pictured)
Core Value: Teamwork
Laurie Elliott was awarded for the Core Value of Teamwork. A TSI employee had a medical issue that made walking stairs difficult. A temporary reassignment to another site without stairs would allow this employee to continue working while awaiting her scheduled surgery. In order for the reassignment to be effective per staffing needs, there needed to be another employee switch places and assignments. Laurie volunteered “without hesitation” to switch buildings so her peer could continue to work up until her surgery. The switch in locations added approximately forty minutes to Laurie’s commute to and from work. The reassignment lasted for three weeks and the site that Laurie moved to commended her positive attitude and good work at the site.
Dennis Herndon (Not Pictured)
Guiding Principle: Teamwork
Dennis Herndon depicted a potentially dangerous situation that was averted due his quick action. There was a fire in one of the bedrooms at one of our sites. Dennis was doing a building check in response to the fire alarm and noticed smoke coming from one of the bedrooms. He quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put out the flames until the smoke became too much and he had to leave the area. One of the firemen at the scene noted that the fire was mere minutes from getting into the roof of the building and spreading. He added that by dampening the fire with the extinguisher it enabled the fire company to get there in time to put the fire out before it caused more widespread damage. As a result of Dennis’ quick action, which included putting himself in dangers way, the damage was contained to the one room and the other residents were able to return to the building with minimum distress.
Core Values: Teamwork and Customer Service
Joyce Craddock was also involved in the same unfortunate situation as Dennis. She exhibited the TSI Core Values of Teamwork and Customer Service. On her way home from a training, Joyce stopped at the office. Upon arrival she discovered the residents had been evacuated because of the fire. Without being asked she stayed to help keep the individuals served calm and provided updates to everyone as they developed. Joyce assisted directing outside service providers to nearby quiet locations in order to conduct their scheduled meetings with persons served. Her actions were of great help to the individuals and were also greatly appreciated by her co-workers. By remaining at the site for several hours past her shift, she was able to help direct traffic and ensure the individuals in the building were safe, calm and supported in a very chaotic situation.
Kelly Wilson, Supervisor Intellectual Disabilities Supported Living
Guiding Principle: Lead by Example
Our intellectual disabilities (ID) programs are faced with significant financial hardships. Over the last year, staff who work within this program have had to endure the difficulties of operating under such budget constraints. One program in particular, Intellectual Disabilities Supported Living (IDSL), was operating not knowing whether or not the program would remain operational. Kelly Wilson is the supervisor for this program as well as a site based ID program. Kelly was awarded for the Guiding Principle Lead by Example. She worked shifts at the site in order to not to incur additional costs to the already tight budget and took on a case in the community to increase services that can be billed to also help the budget. Juggling budget constraints and overseeing two separate programs while keeping everything running smoothly by pitching in wherever needed is certainly an example of Leading by Example.
Myrla Myers, IDSL
Joyce Snyder, IDSL
Jill Stratton, IDSL
Shawn Glass, IDSL
Guiding Principle: Lead by Example and Teamwork
In an effort to save on operating expenses, the IDSL team, Myrla Myers, Joyce Snyder, Jill Stratton and Shawn Glass, experienced a move to a new office space and also a new supervisor after being with the same supervisor for many years. In the midst of all the financial uncertainty they did not skip a beat when it came to delivering above and beyond services to the people served, their families, ISCs and each other. Their great service led to getting six new admissions into the program along with increased hours of service to those already being supported which increased the reimbursement for the program. The feedback from the persons served, family members and everyone they come into contact with are nothing but positive. A few examples include changing schedules to meet needs and providing a variety of needed and welcome supports. In a normal working environment this level of service and positive attitude is commendable. For these actions and behaviors to be exhibited with the daily financial constraints along with the uncertainty of the program hanging over head makes it even more remarkable. The nomination stated “the list could go on and on…..this team’s attitude and work ethic kept me going when I felt like throwing in the towel.” “…this is an exceptional group and TSI is lucky to have them.”
Staff who have been with the Agency for 10 or more years are eligible to be nominated for TSI’s Janet Sieber Award. Gerry Henry, Executive Assistant to the CEO, was honored with this award for her outstanding commitment to the agency Core Values of Teamwork and Customer Service. Gerry, being the successor to Janet Sieber, made winning the award all the more special. She was nominated for always offering to help others and for volunteering to take on a variety of tasks. Her nomination stated that she regularly reaches out to overwhelmed coworkers, asking “What can I do to help?” She was noted for “quietly and almost unnoticeably keeping the organization on track.” She is always the first person in and the last person to leave. Gerry, who has been with the Agency for over 20 years, was moved by the award but said she is just “doing her job.”
Bob Dinklemeyer, Staff Accountant II
Jenny Spitzer, Permanent Supportive Housing Team Supervisor
Core Values: Customer Service and Teamwork
One of the individuals served by the Housing Project was contacted by the electric company and told that their service was to be shut off unless they received payment within the next four hours. These two awardees attempted to quickly run a special check for payment only to find that the electric company refused to accept a check. Both of these employees offered to use their personal credit cards if need be but ultimately found another solution. They had a check made out to a local credit union, walked the check to the credit union and set up a one time debit card which would be accepted by the electric company. If Bob and Jenny had not quickly and creatively resolved the situation, the person served would have been forced into a respite situation. Their actions saved the individual unnecessary anxiety and relocation.
John Starr, Property Management
Guiding Principle: Lead by Example
An individual from the Permanent Supportive Housing program had been away from his apartment for an extended time. The apartment was unattended during this time and food and other items were left to rot. When time came for the individual to move out, he was not able to provide much help to maintenance with the move. The apartment was not ready for the move and those involved with the move were reluctant to even enter the apartment. This John took the first load of garbage out and then returned by himself to complete the job, all the while not complaining once about the condition of the apartment. He said he felt an obligation to the person served and also to the landlord to clean up as much as possible. The landlord had not been very cooperative during the process but John wanted to clean up the mess so that it would not reflect badly on TSI.
Joyce Snyder, ID Community Supports Specialist II
Guiding Principle: Never forget why we do what we do
A person served supported by Joyce indicated in a phone conversation that she was not feeling well and reported having some small seizures. Joyce advised her to contact 911 if the seizures continued or if she felt worse. When Joyce called the person served after in the day to check up on her, she could tell the person was in distress. Her apartment was close to the office so drove to her apartment. When she arrived at the apartment she could see the person lying on the couch through a window; she was not able to get to the door nor able to communicate on the phone. Joyce was able gain access to the apartment. The person served began to have a grand mal seizure. Joyce contacted 911 and her from sustaining any injuries during the seizure. After assisting the paramedics in getting the individual to the hospital for treatment, Joyce contacted the individual’s husband at work and arranged transportation for him to get to the hospital to be with his wife. She then stayed at the hospital with the individual and her husband to provide support for them and to provide the hospital with any information that was needed.
Janet Sieber Award Winner Gerry Henry, Executive Assistant to the CEO
Cover Values: Teamwork and Customer Service
The most prestigious employee honor, the Janet Sieber Award, is given to an employee who has provided a minimum of 10 years of service to TSI and exhibits dedication, loyalty and commitment to the agency and the individuals served. The 2010 more than deserving award recipient was Dana Cook.
Dana had multiple nominations from various nominators. She was noted as having held a leadership position for most of her tenure at TSI. The nominations spoke of her work with the individuals served, work with her staff and the overall way that she operates the program and conducts herself. She was characterized as "always there for staff and those served." It was stated that she keeps high standards for her program and that the program's performance always exceeds expectations. She is very active with every individual in her program and is well liked by all. One nominator stated that her "Customer Service comes from the heart."
Many of the accolades in the nominations were associated with how Dana works with her staff. She was noted as being very supportive of her staff and as a result has had minimal turnover in the program she supervises. Dana provides support and lets staff make decisions trusting in their ability to make quality decisions. No issue is so overwhelming that it isn't greeted with her famous saying: "It's going to be OK." One of her staff stated, "There is no one else I'd rather work for or with." This is a high compliment to be paid to any supervisor. These examples show the characteristics of not just a supervisor but that of a leader.
Izetta Caldwell, Community Supports Specialist II, East Pittsburgh Commons
Core Value: Customer Service
An individual served by TSI experienced an unfortunate fall which required admittance to the hospital on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. Izetta knew that this individual had family members visiting New Year's Day and that there might be issues with their visit as a result of the hospitalization. Although this was a scheduled off day for her, Izetta requested to work so she could escort the family to the hospital. She also wanted to work to make sure she could ready the apartment of the person served so the visiting family could get easily settled and be comfortable for their visit.
Keisha Meadows, Receptionist, Administration
Guiding Principle: Be willing to take risks Core Value: Teamwork
Keisha received two separate nominations from two different nominators for support she supplied that went beyond her normal receptionist duties. One nomination stated that she made sure a printing project was completed by staying after her normal work schedule, and then she even delivered the items to the TSI event on her day off. The other nomination was made because of her increased duties with the publication of the TSI newsletter. Within the past year, Keisha was named the Assistant Editor to the Newsletter in recognition of her commitment and increased responsibilities. The duties associated with the Newsletter clearly fall outside of her typical daily responsibilities.
Joe Sieber, Asst. Property Manager II, Maintenance
Guiding Principle: Lead by example
During preparation for the Psychiatric Disabilities program's licensing inspections, the maintenance department was faced with staffing vacancies. With a newly hired staff taking over some of the duties that were left unattended, the new maintenance staff would have been overwhelmed with all that was needed for this inspection. Joe took the initiative to take on the additional responsibilities without being asked. He assumed the additional responsibility without neglecting any of the properties he was responsible for maintaining, and his efforts helped to ensure another successful inspection.
Gena Wells, Housing Supports Specialist, Permanent Supported Housing Program
Guiding Principles: Discovering what's important to our customer and constantly seeking to promote people's rights.
Gena's nomination was inspired by a letter from one of the individuals served in the community. The individual wished to live independently in the community, but the plan was to place her in an assisted living facility. Through connecting with the person and listening carefully, Gena discovered that living in independent housing with a built-in community was important to her. Ultimately, Gena was able to secure housing for the individual in a new apartment complex in the community and help her keep the independence she so desired.
Kelly Wilson, Program Supervisor
Core Value: Teamwork and Customer Service
Kelly recently accepted the supervisor position at the Royer program. At the same time, the supervisor from the site where she left was unexpectedly off work for a period of time as that site was preparing for inspection. Kelly stated: "Tell me what you need done. I am here to help." She took a leadership role in helping with the inspection preparation at the site by coordinating shopping, cleaning and working with everyone to get the work accomplished. She also enlisted the assistance of the Intellectual Disabilities Supported Living team to help with some tasks. All of the volunteered help was done alongside learning new job responsibilities and assuming a leadership role at a new site.
The following individual has been nominated by her peers and selected by the Board of Directors as the winner of The Janet Sieber Award 2009, the most prestigious award given to staff. To be eligible to receive this award, the nominee must have worked at Transitional Services, Inc. a minimum of ten years and demonstrated the following traits that Janet Sieber exemplified during her tenure at TSI: dedication, loyalty, professionalism and adaptability.
The nomination for TSI's most prestigious award, The Janet Sieber Award described Michelle Welsh as having demonstrated compassion, dedication, perseverance and a commitment to excellence in service to others. It also stated that time and again, she has faced difficult tasks and been able to not only meet the challenge, but to grow and develop because of them. The nomination noted a quality of Ms. Welsh's is a sense of purpose - a determination to identify problems and solve them. Plenty of people in the world are happy to point out what the problems are in a given situation, but she sees a problem and looks to help to create a solution – or find the person who can help create the solution. She is not only a person who has learned to see the big picture – she sees the big picture and all the smaller pictures that make up that big picture. In that way, she is able to communicate what the overall agency goals are, and help people identify specifically how they contribute to the achievement of those goals. This special ability makes her an active participant in solving problems as they arise and removing obstacles so the job can get done.
The nomination also noted a commitment to furthering TSI's mission by demonstrating a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. On two separate occasions, she had the difficult task of transitioning individuals from programs that were closing. Closing a building is a major undertaking with many different pieces connected to the task. Despite the daunting challenges involved in this process, she set about the work of ensuring the individuals in our program were given the best choices possible with the supports needed to be successful. She remained focused on achieving this goal with professionalism and integrity.
The nominator noted that she is dedicated to improving her skills and abilities to better serve others. Most of us have a difficult time admitting our weaknesses, but for many years, she identified skills she would like to develop, and has demonstrated an admirable work ethic and determination to improve in those areas. One example of this was her ability to overcome her fear of public speaking. Most people who have this fear don't seek out opportunities to become a trainer. Mrs. Welsh identified her fear of public speaking as an obstacle so she took the steps necessary to learn complex material and trained Agency staff on the material. The staff benefitted from the training material, and the people we serve benefitted from the increased skill level of those who were trained.
Ms. Welsh has worked at TSI for over 17 years. She started as what was then called a Resident Advisor position (today known as a Community Support Staff I) and steadily worked her way up in the organization to her current leadership position. One quote from her nomination is that she is an "outstanding example of Leadership by Example." Her actions not only speak louder than words, but so many of the individuals who have come in contact with her have learned to follow her example, and TSI is a better organization as a result.
The nomination ended by stating that perhaps the most interesting quality Ms. Welsh brings to TSI is that she has done these things without fanfare, without calling attention to her accomplishments, and without patting herself on the back. To her, quite simply, it is just the way she does her job. Often, she is embarrassed by compliments or public recognition. The modesty with which she works is model for those who know her. The message they take away is this: identify problems – then work hard to solve them, persevere, be humble, act with integrity and continuously seek to improve yourself.
The following staff have been nominated by their peers and selected by the Board of Directors as winners of the Above and Beyond Award for 2009. They have put the needs of others before their own, living the values and honoring the principles of Transitional Services, Inc.
Lanise Holmes' nomination noted several of TSI's core values with a special emphasis on the Core Value of Customer Service. On occasion, the TSI receptionist assists the nominator with work but was off work for several weeks. Ms. Holmes was helping to fill in at the front desk and offered the nominee assistance in scanning some documents and assembling packets. While completing the task, she independently decided to scan the information in Word in addition to Abode as she thought Word would be easier to read. Despite wearing several hats at the time, this volunteered task was not only completed, but completed more completely than originally asked and completed quickly. She was told the packets weren't needed for several days but she completed the job that same day. Volunteering and then doing more than asked and quicker than needed is truly an example of exhibiting a high level of customer service.
Randy Barefoot had two separate nominations from different nominators. Both nominations described positive actions toward the individuals we serve. One of our individuals served was being a little reserved socially but had stated that he liked to garden. The employee working with this individual mentioned this interest in gardening Mr. Barefoot. He cleaned out a tote that had some dead flowers in it and planted some seeds in the tote so the individual could water and care for the plants. His actions allowed the person served to enjoy one of his interests.
The other nomination for Mr. Barefoot also told of a story of looking out for the interests of another person served. Mr. Barefoot went to this individual's apartment to do some repair work. The person served had just returned home after surgery, but said she wanted the repair work done and said that it was all right to do the work that day. After he got started working, Mr. Barefoot checked on her and observed that she appeared uncomfortable. He asked if she would rather have the work done at a later time. The individual appeared relieved and appreciated the work being delayed until she felt better. The nominator commended Mr. Barefoot for attending to the person, showing compassion and putting their needs first. Even more worthy of noting, this attending to the individual was done by someone that is not a direct care giver but a worker from the maintenance department.
The agency core value of teamwork is prominent in the Above and Beyond nomination of Joyce Felton. Responding to and going above and beyond for one of our persons served is prominent in the nominations as well. One morning an individual served showed up at one of the sites. This individual had lived at that site previously but was currently living in his own apartment in the community. The individual was upset and stated that he had problems with a woman that was staying in his apartment, had been assaulted by her and kicked out of the apartment. The staff person at the site did not know this individual and began to try and make contact with the people currently working with the person in the community. Ms. Felton received a call about the situation as the person was still sitting in the staff office and the staff person was unsure what to do. Ms. Felton then began to work to resolve the situation. From the initial calls made, another TSI staff person arrived at the site to fill in for her co-worker that supports the upset person. Ms. Felton and the other TSI staff person went with the individual to his apartment. She went inside, confronted the female there, asked her to leave and asked her for her key to the apartment. She was able to get the key without incident. All these actions were for an individual that had no connections at the time to the site. She showed great team work and a high level of customer service.
The agency core value of team work was displayed by Joyce Fisher. One morning an individual served showed up at one of the sites where they once resided. This individual had lived at the site previously but was now living in his own apartment in the community. When he arrived he was distressed about an individual who was in his apartment. During the initial calls from the staff person at the site to contact the person currently supporting the individual, word of the situation got to Ms. Fisher. The primary support staff, back up support and the supervisor of the supported living program were all out of the office at the time. When the coordinator explained the situation to Ms. Fisher, she went into action. She was unfamiliar with the individual served, but she canceled her scheduled appointments and called the site supervisor to discuss a plan to assist the individual. She went to the site and accompanied the supervisor and the individual to his community apartment. Ms. Fisher assisted in getting the unwanted individual to leave the apartment. She also made sure the individual had a place to stay for a few days to ensure his safety and make him feel more at ease about the whole situation. Ms. Fisher exhibited team work both in covering for her co-workers as well as team work in helping another department/site in the agency. Her willingness to become involved and work together with the site supervisor enabled the person served to get assistance in a trying situation.
Sheri Cook displayed a calm demeanor in the midst of a potential crisis situation at one of the sites. A person served came to the office and asked Ms. Cook to come to their apartment. When she arrived, she saw flames on the stove inching toward the kitchen cabinets. She grabbed the fire extinguisher while directing the person to call 911. She was able to extinguish the flames and then provided support to the others who reside in the building who were present. Her main focus was always on the safety of those in the building. In the aftermath of all the confusion, she even commented that she was glad a specific person was not present as the situation would have caused much distress to him. She remained selfless in action and attitude throughout the incident. The individuals in the building were fortunate to have her fast response, calm demeanor and supportive actions. Ms. Cook's actions exemplifies the notion of putting the individuals served first.