Nov 19, 2018

DSP Apprentice Students Celebrate Completion of First Semester

OGDENSBURG – Following the completion of their first semester several members of the inaugural class of DSP Apprentices met with members of United Helpers Mosaic’s advisory board to discuss their experience thus far.

Apprentices Deb Smith, Victoria Dewey and Patrick Flagg
Ed Fisher, Patricia Amo, Jason Cameron, John Gammon, Deb Smith, Victoria Dewey and Patrick Flagg each attended the meeting speaking about the challenges they’ve faced as part of the program, but also about newfound confidence, increased work skills and a new desire to better themselves and move up the career ladder at United Helpers. 

“When I started the class I didn’t have the self-esteem or confidence to talk in front of people,” Mr. Cameron said. “Now I’m looking into college programs to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. I now have the confidence to know I can do this.”

The class includes a mix of relatively new Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and experienced DSPs, but regardless of how long they have been with the company prior to enrolling in the program, participants say they’re seeing the benefits.

Mr. Fisher, who has been a DSP for nearly 30 years said, “The way we’re looking at the people we’re taking care of now is from a totally different point of view and that’s because we’re utilizing what we’ve learned in this program.”

Mr. Gammon agreed. “Even after one semester of this program the level of care our residents is going to receive has been elevated.”

Apprentices Jason Cameron and John Gammon with CEO Steve Knight
The program is a combination of classroom work and on-the-job training spread out over four semesters in years. At the conclusion of the program each apprentice will earn their Journeyman’s card.

Mosaic Vice President of Operations Michele Montroy said she can remember speaking with some of the apprentices right after the program began.

“I remember speaking to some of you after the first day of class,” she said. “You’re success hasn’t come without challenges, but I’m glad you have all stuck with it.”

In addition to crediting Mrs. Montroy, as well as their fellow classmates for supporting each other through the program, Program Instructor Alex Pacific also received praise from the apprentices.

Apprentices Ed Fisher and Patricia Amo
“If it wasn’t for Alex, I don’t think we would all still be here,” Ms. Dewey said, to which Ms. Amo added, “He was very willing to work with us to get us where we needed to be.”

United Helpers Mosaic Staff Development Director Jason Matthie said the program is designed to be a challenge.

“This isn’t an easy program. These people have had to push through some fears and anxiety. A lot of them are going back to school for the first time in a long time,” he said. “We wanted this to be challenging, but not so difficult that someone who was putting forth an honest effort couldn’t succeed. Innovation doesn’t come from doing the same thing over and over again. It comes from overcoming whatever challenges are put in front of you.”

In addition to classroom work and on-site training, the apprentices must complete homework assignments and study for exams, all of which are graded. Each exam includes 100 multiple choice questions, as well as five essay questions.

“That first exam was rough, but we all got through it,” Mrs. Smith said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has to bring.”

Sometimes classroom days even include guest speakers.

“Alex has brought in people from other companies to offer their perspectives to us and I think we’ve all gotten a lot from the speakers,” Mr. Flagg said.

Mosaic Advisory Board member William Nelson said he was thoroughly impressed with what he heard during the presentation.

“The way you guys have presented this to us is very inspirational,” he said. “One of the things we are all very aware of is how health care is changing. By participating in this program you are all becoming the agents of that change.”

Nov 14, 2018

Clarkson Student Living at Maplewood

Editor’s Note: This piece is the first in a short series of articles highlighting the experience of Rebecca Brogan, a student at Clarkson University who is living at Maplewood Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Canton. This piece, the first in the series, explains how the program, the first of its kind in New York State came to be. In our second installment, Ms. Brogan will speak about her first couple of months at Maplewood and what her experience has been like so far.

CANTON – Like most any other Sunday, Kimberly Blair was sitting at home watching 60 Minutes when a piece came on about college students in Europe volunteering and living in long-term care facilities in exchange for free room and board.

“I had seen the piece on 60 Minutes and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that would be so cool,’” Mrs. Blair said, noting the piece aired more than two years ago. “I never thought though that it could happen here,”
Marilyn Cobb participates in an exercise class led by Rebecca Brogan.

Fast forward now to the spring of 2017. Mrs. Blair was working in her office when Director of Rehabilitation Terry Micelli came into her office with a letter. 

“Terry had come in, set the letter on my desk and said, ‘read this,’” Mrs. Blair recalls. “I asked her what it was, and she said, ‘Just read it.’ I read it and then we both got really excited.”

The letter came from Rebecca Brogan, a 2016 graduate of Rutgers University from Frenchtown, NJ who was planning on attending Clarkson starting in the fall of 2018.

“I am reaching out to you because I feel I can offer a great opportunity that will not only benefit your program and your residents but also assist me during my studies at Clarkson University,” she wrote. “There is a growing trend in Europe that is making its way to the United States where college students live within a nursing or assisted living facility to create an intergenerational living program.”

This was exactly what Mrs. Blair had seen on television a few years ago. After being given clearance to pursue this opportunity by United Helpers CEO Stephen Knight, Mrs. Blair said she reached out to Ms. Brogan and began “jumping through hurdles” to make sure they could be ready for her arrival in August of 2018.

“As you know health care is a very heavily regulated industry, and rightfully so,” Mrs. Blair said, noting she first reached out to Department of Health Officials, who after several discussions said Maplewood could be the first facility in New York State to host such a program.

Mrs. Blair said they then had to find a space in the facility, which they could convert into an apartment for Ms. Brogan. Ultimately an office and a seldom-used men’s locker room conveniently located next door was identified as the space that would become her home for the next two-and-a-half years.

“We had to work with the town’s code enforcement office and there were a couple things we needed to change, but we were able to get her room ready to go in time,” Mrs. Blair said.

Prior to entering into a formal agreement with Ms. Brogan, Mrs. Blair invited her and her mother to visit.

“We were impressed with her and they were both impressed with us,” Mrs. Blair recalls, adding, “Her mother told us Rebecca has always been an old soul.”

In exchange for the free room and board, Ms. Brogan is obligated to provide 20-30 hours of structured volunteer time with the residents each month, but to date, Mrs. Blair said she has gone above and beyond, often spending additional, unstructured time with them as well.

“That time can be even more valuable, as she’s interacting with them one on one and forming relationships with them,” Mrs. Blair said.

Activities Director Dawn Kimble oversees Ms. Brogan’s efforts and said so far she has been impressed.

“Rebecca has forged friendships with many of the residents and has even provided one on one visits to residents who often do not participate in our other activities,” Ms. Kimble said, listing exercise classes, cards, movies, and even manicures as formal activities that she has participated in.

“She is not timid and encourages residents to share their interests and life experiences,” Ms. Kimble said. “Many of the residents have told us that they really enjoy her company.

Mrs. Blair said to the best of her knowledge Maplewood’s Giving, Living and Learning program is only the second of its kind in the country, with the other being located in Cleveland, Ohio at a facility located adjacent to a music school.

“I would really like to see this program continue and maybe even one day we can make it a competitive program,” she said, adding she envisions opening it up to students from Clarkson, St. Lawrence, SUNY Potsdam, and SUNY Canton.

“If they’re interested in working with the elderly, we would love to have them here,” Mrs. Blair said.

Ms. Brogan is seeking a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Clarkson and is slated to graduate after the completion of the fall semester in the year 2020.

“If all goes well, she’ll be here the entire time,” Mrs. Blair said.

The Giving, Living and Learning program is an expansion of Maplewood Health Care & Rehabilitation Center’s already existing intergenerational program, as residents from both the skilled nursing and assisted living sides of the facility interact regularly with children from the Canton Day Care Center, which is also housed at Maplewood.

Nov 12, 2018

Welcome New Hires

Please welcome the following new employees to the United Helpers family.

Kimberly Distasio - RN

Manan Brethour - Task Aide
Courtney Parker - Task Aide

United Helpers Home Health Services
Diane Peck - Home Health Aide
Patricia Pierce - Home Health Aide

Erica Bishop - Office Tech (housing)

ACT Team
Bobby Jo Wells - Nurse Manager

Mosaic Behavioral Health Clinic
Britney Lawton - Office Manager

Irish Settlement Road IRA
Damien Johnson - DSP
Abigail Simmons - DSP

Nov 5, 2018

Major League Prospect Rehabbing at RiverLedge

OGDENSBURG – The last thing any athlete wants is to be injured, but when you’re a prospect dreaming of one day making the big leagues a serious injury could potentially put an end to your dreams before your head even hits the pillow.

Seth Pinkerton is confident that’s not going to happen to him. Mr. Pinkerton is currently rehabbing a left knee injury at United Helpers RiverLedge Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Ogdensburg and if his second stint in physical therapy is anything like his first, he’ll return to the field stronger than ever. 
Seth Pinkerton working with RiverLedge Physical Therapist Brett Amo

Mr. Pinkerton, who graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 2015, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th Round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft following a successful three-year career where he became the University of Hartford’s all-time saves leader.

However, prior to the start of his senior year at Ogdensburg Free Academy, Mr. Pinkerton found himself rehabbing a shoulder injury.

“I told him that by the time he was discharged from therapy that he’s be stronger and throwing faster than he ever had before,” said RiverLedge Physical Therapist Brett Amo. “The fact that he did, however, is a testament to him and his hard work. I could see how hard he was working and I knew his rehabilitation would be successful.”

Up until that point, Mr. Pinkerton said he had never really lifted weights, something he admittedly now regrets.

“I never touched a weight in high school, which I kind of regret now, but after working with Brett I was able to gain three to four miles per hour on my fastball,” he said. “Brett helped me get stronger so I was ready to go for my senior year and able to go to prospect camps.”

A successful senior season then led to a successful college career, which ultimately led to Mr. Pinkerton becoming one of the few people fortunate enough to receive a call letting them know they’ve been drafted and are officially on the path to the big leagues.

That path, however, took a major detour when late in his first season of professional baseball, he injured his leg while making a play in the field.

“I ended up with a grade two MCL and LCL sprain, as well as a complete tear of both my medial and lateral menisci and a complete tear of my ACL,” Mr. Pinkerton said. “My meniscus tear was so severe that Dr. Andrews (world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews) had to ‘go fishing’ behind my knee to find it and suture it back together again.”

Mr. Pinkerton said the initial plan called for him to split time between his home in Ogdensburg and the Minnesota Twin’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida, but after the severity of his injury was discovered the decision was made to limit his travel.

Following his surgery with Dr. Andrews on Sept. 25, Mr. Pinkerton said he spent five days in Alabama where the surgery took place. On Oct. 1 he began a three days per week physical therapy regimen that will continue until min-January when he reports to Fort Myers for some additional therapy with the Twins’ training staff.

“I’ll be down there until the season starts and then I’ll go to wherever I get assigned,” he said, adding that he is planning to be on the field and ready to go when the season starts next spring.

As for right now, Mr. Pinkerton said he’s ahead of where doctors told him he could expect to be.

“I’m ahead of the game right now. At this point, I should only be at 105 degrees, but I’m at 130 degrees,” he said referring to the range of motion in his injured knee. “Brett is competitive and so am I. He pushes me that extra little bit that I need to be successful.”

While Mr. Pinkerton credits Mr. Amo with helping him get to where he needed to be in high school and again right now, Mr. Amo said that his success is more of a tribute to the hard work Mr. Pinkerton has continued to put in.

“He is an incredibly hard worker and obviously that hard work has paid off for him to be where he is today,” Mr. Amo said. “The fact that someone like Seth trusts us with his rehab shows that we are able to treat people of all ages and activity levels, from those just looking to resume regular daily life to athletes performing at a professional level. We have a great team here and I appreciate that Seth trusts us to rehab him back to where he needs to be to resume his career.”

For more information on therapy services at RiverLedge in Ogdensburg, contact (315) 393-0730. For information on therapy services at Maplewood Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Canton, contact (315) 386-4541.  You may also like United Helpers on Facebook or visit

Oct 16, 2018

Welcome New Hires

Please welcome the following new employees to the United Helpers family.

Alexis Gonzalez - Task Aide
McKenzie Hazelton - Task Aide
Michael Herbick - Task Aide
Emily Madlin - Task Aide
Kayle McCormick - Food Service Attendant

Ashley Knight - Task Aide
Tammy McDonald - LPN
Teresa Pryce - Food Service Attendant

Maplewood Assisted Living Program (ALP)
Diance Donaldson - Home Health Aide

Dakota Marzano - Maintenance II

Behavioral Health Clinic
Dakota Marzano - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Bernard Avenue IRA
Chicimma Lasisi - DSP

High Street IRA
Alyssa Fisher - DSP

Rensselaer Falls IRA
Kelli Driscoll - DSP

High Street IRA
Louis Labarge - Maintenance II
Brianna McDougal - DSP

Health Home (Supported Case Management)
Mackenzie Gardner - Care Manager

Oct 15, 2018

United Helpers Hosting NSC Defensive Driving Course

OGDENSBURG – United Helpers will be hosting a New York DMV approved National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 in the Staff Development Training Room at the Mosaic Complex, 100 Ford St.

The class serves as a refresher course for drivers of all ages and includes safe driving tips and an overview of today’s vehicle and traffic laws.

Successful completion of the class makes attendees eligible for a mandatory insurance premium reduction of up to 10% for three years on the base rate for their automobile or motorcycle insurance premiums, provided you are listed as the principal operator. Participants may also be eligible to have up to a four points removed reduction with the NYS DMV. The class may be taken once every 18 months for point reduction.

The cost of the class is $30, payable in cash, check or money order made out to United Helpers Care, Inc.

Advanced registration is required. To register please contact Mark Darou at (315) 394-6702 ext. 303 or

Oct 8, 2018

Saluting our Dietary Team

Pictured from left to right are members of the RiverLedge Dietary Team: Carol Hooper, Sara Stetzel, Suzie Friot, Scott McIntosh, Julie Delarge andTerry Grennon, Foodservice Director

  This week, October 7-13,2018 United Helpers salutes its outstanding Dietary Teams. United Helpers employs nearly 90 dietary team members, including chefs, cooks, diet technicians, food service attendants, dietitians, hospitality coordinators, nutrition assistants, and management staff. 

  Proper nutrition is a key factor in maintaining health and wellness. Maintaining dietary guidelines is even more critical when dealing with people who have compromised health. We rely on our foodservice professionals to deliver meals that meet specific dietary restrictions and also please the palate.

They truly deserve our appreciation and t