SJCS Stories

Spring Newsletter 2019

Alan ThorntonThe history of St. John’s has been one of growth and change, slowly working to best meet the needs of the communities we support. Over the past year, we have been working to identify our strengths and how our expertise and values can best meet the needs of communities. In many ways this process mirrors our work helping individuals find careers.

Dionte in Washington, DC has been working with a St. John’s Employment Specialist to find a position in his community that is the right fit for his skills and talents. His Employment Specialist, Kim, has worked with him through the application and interview processes, supporting him to find the best way to answer questions about his qualifications. Kim has also worked with him on how to dress and present himself as a professional during the interview and on the job. Dionte has been quick to understand what an employer is looking for. After a number of interviews, he found a position at Your Staff Incorporated. He likes being part of the team and being able to support himself.

Much like our work with Dionte, redefining and expanding our mission has been a very thoughtful and intentional process, expressing our passion for people and their full realization of their rights, potential, and opportunities. Over the past year, Board and staff have been discussing the unmet community needs, our ability to play a role in meeting those needs, and how to move our work forward. Recently, the Board approved a new mission statement, “Advancing inclusive communities where every person, regardless of circumstances, has the right and opportunity to live their best life.” As with Dionte, our new, forward-facing mission, includes a professional look that fits with our work. The new logo centers on the inclusive connections we forge in the community.

We are excited to present our new look to you, and to hear your feedback! We hope that our refresh in branding will help push our work into the future.


Alan Thornton

Alan Thornton
President and CEO
St. John’s Community Services

P.S. Your support is crucial to our mission, become a sustaining donor today! Visit www.sjcs.org/donate to make an automatic monthly gift of $10, $15, $50 or more to further our mission and help those we support!

Robert’s Discovery Journey

Many of the individuals we support are looking for their first job, and might not know what type of position would be a good fit. Through the “discovery” process of our Supported Employment Program, individuals like Robert can explore several different employment opportunities in their communities and shadow a position to better understand how it fits with their skills and interests. Robert in Delaware has been working with an employment specialist to find his first job. He is excited to have a position in the community that will give him the opportunity to meet new people and also support himself.

Robert was able to shadow a kitchen position at Perucho’s Peruvian Chicken, a warehouse associate at Habitat for Humanity, and a production associate at a Goodwill Retail store. The staff and management at each location were exceptional! They helped Robert understand the types of tasks that would be required, the work environment, and how his own skills would fit.

Robert was enthusiastic to meet new people and could see potential for himself in each position. Ultimately, Robert enjoyed working in a kitchen position best, but he remains open to other opportunities as well. His St. John’s Employment Specialist, Dawn, is now working with him through the next steps of the supported employment program, applying for positions and preparing for interviews. She recently said, “seeing the satisfaction and pride of the individuals finding a great first job gives me joy.”

Harlan Morris

On May 1st, St. John’s Community Services acquired Harlan Morris Retirement Community in Trenton, TN. The acquisition was completed at the invitation of and in partnership with the existing Harlan Morris Board. St. John’s is committed to ensuring the continuation of this important resource for the Trenton community while providing the highest quality care for the residents. The transition began in early March of this year with SJCS taking over day-to-day management of Harlan Morris. We are excited to welcome the residents of Harlan Morris to the St. John’s family!

Patsy celebrates her birthdayPatsy’s Birthday Celebrations

Patsy in Martin, Tennessee is well known around town. With the support of St. John’s, she is active in the community – working at Weakley County Press, volunteering, and enjoying time with friends. Patsy recently celebrated her 69th birthday, and one celebration was not enough! Her coworkers celebrated her day with a cake and candles at the office. Later she celebrated at a Mexican restaurant with friends. Patsy is an example of how community integrated, individualized services are life-changing for those we support!

New Services in Ithaca, New York

Over the summer, St. John’s was given the opportunity to take over services for a homeless shelter in Ithaca, New York. In November 2018, we officially began providing support for individuals and families facing homelessness. St. John’s also provides food pantry services in Ithaca for those experiencing hunger. Since November 1, 2018, we have provided 9,605 meals to 1,434 individuals. St. John’s is proud to have been selected to support this community and look forward to continuing to make an impact!

ART Options Gallery Opening

Join us for a celebration of art, creativity, and summertime! ART Options Summertime Vibes exhibit opens June 29th. We are celebrating with an opening night event from 3:00 to 8:00 PM including drinks, snacks, music, and a sip & paint from 4:30 to 5:30! The exhibit will be open from June 29th to August 11th at the Willow Street Gallery, 6925 Willow St., NW, Washington, DC.