By George Fleischner, CEO Nonotuck Resource Associates.
Nonotuck Resource Associates is a not-for-profit organization, founded in Western Mass. in 1972, that serves people with disabilities principally through shared living and adult family care services.
Nonotuck's mission focuses on providing authentic life experiences and relationship opportunities to the people we support. We believe that home and home life provides an anchor from which people draw the strength to grow and develop in their own unique ways. We believe that our main efforts should go to life sharing, or the fulfillment of choice and control in a mutually shared and loving way with people who will support and sustain each other.
Over the last 15 years, Nonotuck has experienced significant growth and now serves over 600 people across the state Massachusetts from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. Our practice is to establish local offices in each region where we work to truly be connected to each unique community. These distances, however, created challenges that began to impact the cohesiveness of the agency and made face to face communication difficult without long travel times. Nonotuck then looked to technology to find solutions. We started first with hardware by providing laptops, Iphones, and hot spots to all staff then searched for cloud based software that would provide flexible video conferencing ability and after looking at a variety of products, we chose Fuze.
Fuze has become an integral part of the daily functioning of the agency. We use Fuze for state-wide meetings, which has drastically cut down on travel/mileage expenses as well as creating incredible time savings for staff. Fuze is used for both planned and spontaneous meetings whereby people can have face to face contact that is much more effective and personal than the traditional conference call. We use Fuze regularly for supervisions, to ensure full participation in staff and committee meetings, and spontaneous meetings including participants anywhere across the state. In fact, a longtime member of Nonotuck's Board of Directors who is moving out of state will be able to continue his service by utilizing Fuze to attend Board meetings.
Fuze has become very effective in meetings with people in other agencies and in fact it is often an amazing and eye opening experience the first time they are exposed to it.
We have used Fuze to connect the people we serve with their families and guardians who live far away during individual service plan meetings. We can connect our clinical services directly to the people we serve and their care providers during home visits.
We have begun to explore other uses for Fuze and find that the possibilities are only limited by the breadth of our collective imagination. Fuze has changed our organizational culture by giving every staff person and ultimately the people we serve and their families the tools to contribute, collaborate and have a voice in the design and delivery of personalized services. Through the use of Fuze, people can connect from remote geographic locations in real time, face to face, as we strive to attain the fundamental agency value of life sharing.
Truly, the larger Nonotuck grows, the smaller we become.