Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of generosity. GivingTuesday take place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

For Giving Tuesday this year, we are hosting a virtual giving tree to provide gifts to the people that we support in our residences, day programs and community. You can help ensure everyone has a special gift under the tree that was selected just for them!


VENTURE’S VIRTUAL GIVING TREE on Amazon

How it Works & How you Can Help


  • Visit the Venture Wish List Here – if you use AmazonSmile (see below) you can also find the list in your Amazon account under ‘your lists’ then ‘AmazonSmile Charity Lists”
  • Browse the list and select item(s) you want to purchase and add them to your cart
  • Select ‘this item is a gift’ so we will know who it is from and we can thank you for your generosity.
  • Checkout as usual and select the Venture Gift Registry Address for the shipping so the items will be delivered directly to Venture’s Administrative Office.
  • We will wrap the gift and have it delivered directly to the recipient to open and enjoy just in time for Christmas.

Please purchase items to be delivered no later than Friday, December 9th so we have time to wrap and deliver prior to the holiday.

If you have any questions, please contact Kerrie Mason at 774-922-1136

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


No Time to Shop? Click Here to Make a Donation to the Giving Tree Program.


AMAZON SMILE PROGRAM

Shop & Donate at the Same Time

Did you know that you can support Venture while you shop at Amazon year round? All you have to do is visit: smile.amazon.com and select Venture Community Services as your charity of choice. That’s it!

AmazonSmile now also works in the Amazon mobile app. Just activate in your settings.

Happy Shopping and Giving!

It Happened Again

As news organizations have reported, last week the U.S, Senate and House of Representatives passed a significant piece of legislation that has broad reach into several sectors.  Less well known nationally is that this bill originally contained billions of dollars specifically for agencies like Venture and, most importantly, for the amazing professionals who sacrifice so much to care for others.  Unfortunately, and infuriatingly, politicians sacrificed this portion of the bill in order to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.  I am all for reducing inflation, but leaving behind an industry that helps others?  Again??? No, that is not okay anymore (or at least it shouldn’t be).


Our society and elected officials need to start valuing the work done by everyone who supports others and respect their professionalism and dedication.  Make no mistake, those who choose to help others in this world do not get the recognition they deserve and we need to change that both for them and for those they help.  It is beyond time that specific legislation committed to recognizing and supporting the work of the human services industry is passed at the federal level.  Too often, this type of commitment is embedded in larger pieces of legislation that fund a multitude of things.  As such, when it comes time to start debating a bill, our sector can be chopped away so that crucial money is spent elsewhere.  This is what happened last week.


It is troubling that the people who have chosen to build a career around helping others must do so in anonymity.  There needs to be a concerted effort to change this so that people who help others are finally recognized as the professionals they are.  Working in this field is not easy and it never has been but we still have extraordinary people who show up every day to make a difference in someone else’s life.  Everyone in an agency contributes something to support people who need help.  From the direct care staff and managers to the nurses and facilities people who help make homes safe and welcoming, too many dedicated people are still getting lost in the shuffle.  The workforce in this industry is the linchpin to our nation’s vast social safety net and a huge economic driver as well.  Congress needs to recognize this with sweeping action and commitment. 


Keep in mind that while so many other industries are still in the midst of a workforce crisis, our industry at the center of an ongoing social crisis.  The workforce has always been what is best about the human services sector but there just are not enough professionals to meet the current demand.  At this time, there are thousands of people in Massachusetts who cannot get their clinical and personal needs met.  In other words, a significant part of our society is being left behind due to a lack of resources.  That is the definition of a social crisis.  The only way to fix this is to finally recognize the importance and commitment of the people who have chosen a career of helping people.  Our politicians in Washington have to do this by funding the services we provide at a level that allows professionals to continue making a career out of this work.  It is time to move us to the front of the line for a change.

Order Med Books

Developed by certified MAP trainers, this controlled substance documentation book is geared toward the specific needs of staff certified under the Medication Administration Program. The book meets all MAP requirements and is approved by the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health. Books are $60 each. Please contact Kim Hillier for more info.

Thank you – Wine Event

Thank you to all who joined us on Thursday for our Sip, Sample & Support event! We appreciate each and every raffle ticket, auction purchase, sponsorship, volunteer and donation that contributed to such a successful night of fundraising. Be sure to take a look at the photos from the night on our Facebook page HERE.

Special thanks to our co-host Ted’s Package store for coordinating all of the distributors and their auction donations.

We look forward to everyone’s support again next year.

2022 EVENT

Up to the Senate Now

Budget season is well underway here in Massachusetts and the work continues in the legislature to create the financial framework and details for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1st.  The Governor submitted his proposal to the House of Representatives in January and the House sent their version to the Senate last month.  Now, it is up to the Senate to lead the way in recognizing the vital work done by skilled professionals in human services agencies by finally paying them a fair wage.  It is, in fact, long overdue.


Agencies in Massachusetts provide critical services to people with disabilities and mental illness through contracts with the Commonwealth.  These contracts contain dollars dedicated to staff salaries and those contracts have been woefully underfunded for more than a generation now.  This is at the heart of the workforce and social crisis that has existed for several years, well before Covid-19 entered our lives.  The industry has asked the legislature to add $351 million to the Governor’s budget proposal specifically to enhance pay for all of the people who spend their days and nights caring for others.  Yes, I understand that $351 million is a big number all by itself but it represents just 0.007% of the proposed state budget;  0.007% to reinforce the critical safety net that supports several hundred thousand Massachusetts residents each year.  This safety net is wholly dependent on a skilled workforce that must no longer be marginalized and taken for granted.  It is time for the Senate to take a bold step and reinvest in this workforce so that Massachusetts can remain a national leader in healthcare.


Unfortunately, the House chose not to add a single dime to the salary line proposal in the Governor’s budget.  This is why we need the Senate to step in and accept this challenge to give agencies the financial ability to stabilize and grow a tired workforce that has done so much for so many in this state.  Massachusetts already dedicates considerable resources to people with disabilities and other needs and it is something for which leaders in Boston should take a well-deserved bow.  However, we cannot stop short when it comes to paying skilled professionals a decent wage to help people who desperately need to be helped.  Massachusetts made a promise long ago to support individuals in the community rather than returning to the misery of state run institutions and that promise has been kept largely on the backs of a talented but depleted workforce.  These professionals need to be paid well enough that they can now afford to keep helping people.  Dedication to helping others should not have to come with a vow of poverty and the Senate can start the process to ensure it does not. Let’s see what they do with the chance. 

ASD Program Grand Opening

Today we were pleased to host many of our community partners to celebrate the official opening of newest program for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Venture Advancement Center offers transitional programming focused on assisting with the training, education and social skills required to find meaningful employment. We also honored the legacy of Dick Hoyt with a memorial dedication. We welcomed his sons Rick and Russ Hoyt of the Hoyt Foundation who addressed the group on behalf of their family, presenting, Venture CEO Mike Hyland with a generous donation. This donation will enable us to continue to offer opportunities for inclusion.


“Venture is excited to officially open our new Advancement Center and to continue the legacy of The Hoyt Foundation,” said Mike Hyland, Venture President & CEO. “This first of its kind program will open many doors for people just as they have done through their tireless commitment to people living with disabilities.”


Pictures from the event are posted on the Venture Facebook Page

New Program for ASD

We are excited to announce the launch of The Venture Advancement Center located in Sturbridge. The program benefits young adults (18+) in the central Massachusetts community who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  This transitional program focuses on assisting with the training, education and social skills required to find meaningful employment. In general, engagement in meaningful work provides a host of benefits in addition to compensation and self-sufficiency.  Most people, regardless of ability, will derive a sense of purpose from their work. You can learn more here

Order Med Books

Developed by certified MAP trainers, this controlled substance documentation book is geared toward the specific needs of staff certified under the Medication Administration Program. The book meets all MAP requirements and is approved by the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health. Books are $60 each. Please contact Kim Hillier for more info.

A Social Crisis

by Venture President & CEO, Mike Hyland


2021 has proven to be another year of success at Venture as we created new programs and initiatives while still managing the global pandemic and all of the logistical challenges that come with it. We have all essentially learned to live with COVID-19 and remain hopeful that we can one day truly put it behind us as people continue to be vaccinated. However, another long-standing threat continues to loom over the entire human services industry: there simply are not enough people to do this incredibly important work.


It is well known that there is now a workforce crisis in America as we deal with the pandemic. What is less well known is that this industry has had the same crisis for several years, long before anyone ever heard of COVID-19. Now, that workforce issue has ballooned into a social crisis. The safety net that so many people rely on is being threatened like it never has before. Already, too many people are unable to get the help they need because there isn’t a professional to provide those supports. And it’s getting worse.


Every day, people with disabilities and other unique needs depend on a professional network to provide them with opportunities to learn new things, access the community, socialize, and be heard, all while being kept safe. What happens when that network is disrupted? The opportunities disappear and the people who are entitled to them become detached from their communities. Their mental health and wellness suffer and their families have to find a way to keep them safe, often at the expense of working. For more than a generation, Venture and our peer agencies have seen to it that those who want and deserve an opportunity to thrive have had it. Our dedicated workforce opened doors and changed lives, and did so in virtual anonymity. Now, with fewer people to open those doors, more and more people are at risk of being left behind. So, how did we get here?


For too long, society has neither recognized nor invested in the importance and success of the work done by talented professionals at provider agencies. This workforce has been underpaid, undervalued, and overburdened for many years. Now, that lack of investment has created the crisis we face. Agencies that hold state and federal contracts need to finally be paid adequately so that our employees have a truly livable wage, affordable healthcare, access to higher education, and affordable housing. That is how we finally turn a job in human services into a career in human services. It is the only way we can keep opening doors and creating opportunities.


We can no longer wait to provide recognition and security to the committed individuals who dedicate their lives to helping others. Agencies like Venture need a viable, long-term workforce that can continue to grow the safety net that Massachusetts has always been committed to having. It is time to value the skills and dedication of people who make up this safety net by acknowledging their professionalism and paying them for it. The best way to honor all the people who show up every day to do tremendously difficult work is to finally build a system that gives them the financial security that allows them to make this work a career. These selfless people have deserved it for a very long time.

READ OUR FY21 ANNUAL REPORT

Inclusion Should be for All

By Mike Hyland, Venture CEO

It has taken far too long but we finally see a sustainable movement in this country to call out and overcome the biases and outright hatred that have harmed generations of people, people who have been intentionally marginalized and left out of so many opportunities.  All around us in workplaces and society, initiatives are underway to systemically embrace and promote the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.   It is fair to ask, “What took so long?”  It is also worth noting that Venture and organizations like it exist because people with disabilities have always been among the people who have been marginalized and dismissed.  And even now, it still happens with too little uproar.


People should pay attention to Morgyn Arnold because her story, while interesting, is not especially unique.  What a shame that is.  Morgyn is a 14-year old girl in Utah with a developmental disability who has a love of cheerleading.  As such, she naturally became the manager of her school’s cheerleading team and learned all the cheers so she could support her teammates and school at every event.  Rather than do likewise for Morgyn, her school made the conscious decision to exclude her from a typical school tradition.  In fact, the people in charge of the school went out of their way to exclude Morgyn.  After taking the yearbook picture of the full cheerleading team, the school inexplicably took a second picture of the team but did so without Morgyn in it.  The school then chose to publish only the second picture in the yearbook and on the school’s social media platforms.  Morgyn found out she had been excluded when she picked up her yearbook.  Take a moment and try to imagine how she felt when she realized she wasn’t in the yearbook with her friends.


The school has apologized and the reaction to the story has been largely one of outrage but this type of exclusion is nothing new.  In fact, something similar happened previously to Morgyn at the same school!  The reality is that people with disabilities have always been marginalized and left behind.  If this country is to evolve and become truly inclusive, we all have to remember what happened to Morgyn Arnold and be appalled by it.  And we have to remember how common her story is.  The Disability Law Center of Utah receives over 4,000 complaints each year of a similar nature to Morgyn’s story.  That is 4,000 in a single state and only the incidents that are actually reported.  Multiply that number across 50 states and you will see we still have a very, very long way to go when it comes to accepting and including people with disabilities.


Morgyn’s very gracious family has said that rather than focusing on condemning the school and its decision, people should use the event as a rallying cry to ensure that people with disabilities are remembered in all D.E.I. initiatives.  Morgyn’s teammates are victims of this bias as well since it wasn’t their decision to exclude Morgyn from the yearbook picture.  Hopefully, something good can come out of a terrible thing done to a teenager with a disability.  In order for that to happen, everyone should make it a point to remember Morgyn Arnold.