Oct 2017

AWARE Vipers basketball to attend state in Helena

Practice has began for the AWARE Vipers Special Olympic basketball team. The first day was Oct. 23 at Whittier School in Butte.

A combination of Butte and Anaconda residents and coaching staff, the team members include left back, Jay Arnesmeyer; Coach Gabriel Hunter; Wayne Marry; and left front, Coach Annette Bud; Dan Ramsey; Todd Adcock; Robbie Fitzgerald; and Coach Russ Peterson.

The tournament will be held in Helena Nov. 9-11, 2017. If you see them, wish the team good luck!



Oct 2017

AWARE staff receive latest electronic records training

AWARE’s electronic records system, myEvolv, is being updated once again.

Back in January, AWARE created a small team to implement a new incident reporting module within myEvolv. The team includes Matt Bugni, Tim Hahn, Jake Henderson, Donna Kelly, Knute Oaas, Richard Saravalli, Summer Stone and Jenn Wihlborg.

Pictured right, Summer Stone trains staff on the new incident reporting system in myEvolv.

Now 10 months into the project, the team is moving forward by scheduling staff training for the incident reporting system.

According to Stone, AWARE EHR Specialist and trainer, incidents are significant life events that may take place in a home or program, such as an injury, HELP intervention or medication error. They’re required to be reported.

Stone plans to train all supervisors and group home staff throughout Montana on how to use the new reporting system. She says training sessions for staff last about two hours while supervisors get additional follow-up training.

All AWARE staff will be trained on how to use the new system by early 2018. So far Stone has completed training in the Butte and Missoula group homes, Butte day services, Missoula community services, and the Bonner comprehensive school and community treatment program.

“By the time they leave training, they’re very familiar with how to complete the incident reporting forms and have a good understanding of the document workflow,” she said.

Incident reporting goals for electronic records

The goal of the incident reporting system is to help service directors and managers see trends occurring across all AWARE services. Reports show what’s happening in real time.

The data collected will help them determine the best training and support needed for staff. It also reveals interventions that may work best for each client.

In addition, AWARE is working with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to build the incident reporting forms so they meet state requirements. The custom forms will allow AWARE to submit timely reports to DPHHS. Sent via a secure email process, the new system will help AWARE in its goal to become paperless, saving both money and trees.

Before employee training began, the team piloted the new incident reporting forms in two homes, Brandon Way House in Missoula and Mammoth House in Butte. The pilot homes completed training the first week of July and went live using the forms mid July.

Stone said testing was valuable because the team was able to work out the bugs in the new forms. The test sites also gave invaluable feedback on the incident reporting form.

Stone says once the incident reporting system is in place, the next big EHR project will be updating treatment plans already within myEvolv.

“The EHR always needs to evolve and grow with agency needs,” Stone said.

AWARE’s myEvolv has been in service for three years. The new incident reporting replaces an old system.


Sep 2017

AWARE early childhood clinicians trained by the best

During the past two decades, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) has emerged as a leading-edge method to help parents improve their children’s disruptive and oppositional behavior.

It’s one of the evidence-based modalities AWARE’s early childhood clinicians use in their practice. AWARE provides training and helps clinicians become certified for this modality.

For the past two summers, AWARE has hired PCIT expert Dr. Cheryl McNeil, PhD, to give a one-week, hands-on, intensive training. A professor at West Virginia University, McNeil is world-renowned, specializing in parent-child interaction and treating children with childhood disruptive behavior problems.

Trista Vonada, an AWARE lead clinician and certified PCIT trainer, helps direct AWARE’s PCIT professional development efforts.

AWARE’s Early Childhood team received training by PCIT expert Dr. Cheryl McNeil, PhD, (center) June 2017.

“We’re fortunate to have such unique experience come to a small town in Montana,” Vonada said. “Having a master trainer who teaches people across the world is something that doesn’t happen every day.”

AWARE’s early childhood clinicians continue professional development through monthly clinical supervision calls with McNeil and Vonada.

“To witness the parallel process and dual treatment PCIT brings to the parent-child relationship allows clinicians to feel effective and find a home in their practice,” Vonada said.

An AWARE family PCIT success story

“Changing chaos to calm became our new household mantra. After raising three children of our own and fostering seven others with varying developmental needs, my husband and I thought we were ready for this fourth and final challenge. We knew we loved this little girl who entered our lives. It wasn’t until we attended PCIT that we felt 100 percent confident in our decision to move forward with adoption.

“We found ourselves fully engrossed in the PCIT process and truly appreciated the bundle of energy who unexpectedly changed our lives. PCIT gave us a sense of admiration for our daughter’s strengths and allowed us to feel confidence in the predictability and consistency we are providing her. The growth we experienced as a family through PCIT positively impacted our relationship investment and allowed our family to reach a new, unimaginable sense of calm.

“I am grateful for AWARE brining PCIT into our lives, and I am especially grateful for our clinician, Trista Vonada, for walking with us on this journey.”   PCIT Parent Graduate 


Sep 2017

Celebrating AWARE staff (and the latest commercial below)

Our mission at AWARE is to help people live independent lives. We always find a way to ensure each adult, child and family we serve receives the exact care they need at any given moment.

The key component to our success is the kind and professional staff who work at AWARE. Each employee has their own way of showing respect to those we serve. They also have a way of keeping their work lighthearted. Truly, it makes for a workplace that’s challenging and rewarding all at the same time.

Click the graphic below to find the latest commercial, which highlights the fine example of the work our staff does at AWARE. First appearing on your local CBS station this week, it’ll definitely spark your attention!

Join us… 

If you or you know someone who’d like to become an AWARE employee, please go to Aware-inc.org/careers to apply.


Sep 2017

AWARE brand marks 40 years of success 

The idea of AWARE began with a simple, yet inspiring conversation. A few parents of children with disabilities sat around a table brainstorming ways to help their kids live complete, meaningful lives. This happened way back 1976. These ideas have guided us ever since.

We’re proud of our organization that’s made its way into the world by helping adults, children and their families live independent lives. To mark the beginning point of the next 40 years, we have taken these ideas and applied them to our new brand, which you’ve been hearing so much about lately.

While our mission remains the same, the brand is here to continue the guidance once laid upon us. It’s here to help us grow. We’re moving forward as a united group of caregivers ready to assist to each and every person who needs our support.

Yes, we will always find a way to help people feel valued, cared for and respected. Yes, we will always deliver with professionalism, kindness — and give the best care that is needed at the moment. It’s our promise!

Commercial rollout continues

This week we continue the rollout of yet another commercial. This one began running in August. The theme? Babies, babies and babies! Don’t miss it because they are too cute! Click the photo below to view:

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