Cornerstone Autism Center’s mission statement is to “maximize those who struggle, embrace those who love, fulfill those who serve.” On November 15th, 2013, Debbie Ide and Ken Weadick, co-owners of Cornerstone, hit our 3rd leg of the mission statement right on the nose!
The day started off with a quick ice breaker to get our two centers mixing it up together. After our first five winners collected their prizes, Debbie started the presentation with a brief history of where Cornerstone came from complete with slideshow pictures. Debbie went on to talk about other components of the company that don’t often get highlighted, like the Cornerstone Autism Foundation, our billing department, and our new parent liaison. She followed that up by announcing that Cornerstone has served over 120 clients in our short three and a half years of existence, and proceeded with a slideshow of all the sweet faces that have passed through our halls. Talk about a tear-jerker!
A tradition started 3 years ago where staff members are asked to vote for their peers that most exemplified each part of our mission statement. I had the honor of announcing this year’s winners just before we were excused for a short break. To see who those winners are, head over to our Facebook Page and check out the pictures under Make It Happen Day 2013.
After a short break, we reconvened to hear about our partnership with Aflac, and then listened as Mike Yoder from ServantHR went over this year’s handbook changes. Everyone gets nervous when we talk about handbook changes, but boy were we in for a surprise! Mike discussed our dress code and emphasized what is acceptable dress, but shocked us when he announced that we will have the option to wear navy, black, or PINK scrubs! PINK, so cool. We were next reminded of the appropriate Cornerstone hooded sweatshirt to wear for warmth, and then were gifted with a new Cornerstone fleece to wear too!
The policy changes soon shifted to our Paid Time Off policy. Earlier this year we tested out having 2 unpaid days in addition to our regular PTO days. We were told that this test was no longer happening and our unpaid days were going away…BUT they were replaced with two additional PAID days! To top it off, Cornerstone introduced a PTO chart that rewarded our years of service with the company. I don’t think any of us could have asked for anything more: a new fleece, black and PINK scrubs, and TWO more PTO days!!! WOW!
After Mike was finished, we enjoyed a “virtual tour” of both centers. It isn’t often that our staff gets to see the other centers. Once the tour was complete, Ken took the stage and recognized those staff members that obtained their BCaBA and BCBA certifications over the past year. There were 9 in total. AWESOME!
Next Ken started discussing the progress our clients had made over the past year. Since November of 2012, 2,071 goals have been met by our clients, 10,355 sub goals have been met, and a whopping 103,550 targets have been mastered. AMAZING! Ken expressed his pride in the part everyone took to make these incredible strides in our clients, and followed that up with a challenge to do even better in 2014. We are all excited to accept that challenge. Our morning was topped off with a touching thank you video from some of our current and past families. It’s always a sweet surprise to hear from our parents.
After enjoying a catered lunch, our crew of over 90 staff convened in the 3-story motor room to take a group picture. This task gets harder and harder to do each year, but our photographer got it done in record time.
We were instructed by Debbie to locate seating charts posted in the lunch area to see what tables we were assigned to in the next part of our day. We were about to participate in a team builder, but our two centers needed to be mixed up first. When we entered the training room, we found our seats and began to listen to what our afternoon would entail. Our teams were about to be tasked with building 17 bikes for underprivileged children. On the stage we saw bike frames and wheels. On our tables were craft materials and instructions.
In order to get parts to our bike, we had to complete a series of challenges. Our long term goal was to create a team logo and write a letter to the child that would eventually receive our bike. Our short term goal was to complete the challenges in order to get the parts for our bikes. The challenges started with creating a team logo and slogan to get our bike frames. Once we got our frames we completed other challenges to get our wheels, handlebars, seat, and bike bell. The challenges consisted of finding objects around the center, balancing a hand full of nails on top of a bolt head, building pipe cleaner bikes, and stacking balloons up with tape to make a free-standing tower.
Once our bikes were built, each team had an opportunity to show off their bikes and logos to everyone else. When we were done we saw 17 completed bikes sitting on the stage where we once saw a mess of bike parts. We were reminded of what a bike means to children, like freedom and independence, and were asked to imagine what the kids’ faces would look like when they got their new bikes.
As we sat together imagining the joy these kids would feel, a back stage door opened and 17 children from the local Boys and Girls Club slowly walked onto the stage. The air was sucked out of the room as the staff began to understand that these very children would be taking our bikes home with them today. Cheers erupted and the staff rushed to the stage to greet the children and show them their new bikes.
Make It Happen Day is a day that David introduced to Cornerstone 3 years ago. It was an experience he enjoyed at one of his previous companies and wanted to share that excitement and team bonding with his own staff. After witnessing the joy of new scrubs, and additional PTO days as well as sharing one of the most incredible team bonding experiences with my co-workers, I can say that David would have been so proud of what his partners accomplished on November 15th. We always talk about Cornerstone being a family, and this day brought us all a little closer. Thank you Debbie and Ken for making this year’s Make It Happen day a day to remember!
December 13, 2013, cornerstoneac