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Ray Graham First Organization to get Person-centered Excellence Accreditation

April 3 , 2011

The Ray Graham Association is the first organization to be accredited with our new Person-centered Excellence Accreditation.  CQL's Person-centered Excellence Accreditation promotes and facilitates excellence in person-centered services and supports that lead to increased quality of life.

Based in Downers Grove, IL, the Ray Graham Association is dedicated to the full participation of all people with developmental disabilities in a quality life by providing leadership that supports the accomplishments of individuals, strengthens families and inspires community involvement. President and CEO Kim Zoeller sat down with CQL to talk about the experience.

Why did you choose CQL for Accreditation?

Our decision to pursue accreditation through CQL was based on a strong history and high regard for work and philosophy of the organization.  Each time we have partnered with CQL it has proven to be an overwhelmingly positive experience and valuable investment for our organization.  The mission of Ray Graham Association and CQL is very much in alignment, making the decision an easy one. 

How does it feel to be the first organization accredited with our new model?

Ray Graham Association values the priorities of principles of Person-Centered Excellence.  To be the first organization in the world to be accredited with this new model validates our work.  The overwhelming response from stakeholders, including people serve, their families, and our staff, has been one of excitement for the future.    

Tell us about how your organization prepared for your first Person-centered Excellence Accreditation visit?

Probably the largest effort in preparing for this Accreditation visit was wanting to assure we understood what the process would entail, and organizing the various components of the organization that would be involved in the stakeholder meetings.  The use of Personal Outcome Measures® is a well established component of our organizational culture, so in that area, we just continued the processes and systems that we already have in place.   Completion of the pre-visit surveys really didn’t consume that much time, and was such a useful self-reflection that we were glad to have had cause to spend the time that activity did take. 

Tell us about your Aha moments.

Fairly early on in during the first day of the stakeholder meeting, we realized this process was going to yield some valuable insight into where we as an organization stand today, and where we want to see ourselves in the future. 

What do you think will be the impact of PCE Accreditation on the people you support and the staff who offers supports and services?

I think the most significant and enduring impact of this process will be the positive impact of a renewed and refreshed commitment to supporting people we serve and their families to pursue advancement opportunities that take to them to a new level in their life. The CQL accreditation process is a unique experience for each agency that pursues it.  The plan that we’ve created as a result of this process is customized to the character, mission and priorities of Ray Graham Association, yet reflects the values of CQL and uses that framework to help us advance our pursuit of person-centered excellence.

What are your next steps and how can CQL help you implement the changes you identified and prioritized during the Accreditation visit?

As part of the CQL Accreditation process, we established 3 priority areas for our organization, and initial steps we’d take in pursuing those.  We’ve since added more detail and structure to those plans, and have expanded the number of people throughout the organization who will provide leadership in these efforts.  We’re committed to including individuals and staff at all levels in these leadership opportunities, and are excited about the growth we think this process will bring to individuals, as well as the organization.  We expect that our partnership with CQL will help identify creative strategies and opportunities to make this commitment as meaningful and long-lasting as possible.

Anything else you would like to say about CQL or the PCE Accreditation Process?

The past few decades have brought remarkable change to our organization and the lives of people we support.  Much of the positive change that has occurred during this period has been connected to our relationship with CQL, and our mutual focus on person-centered excellence.  Maintaining a strong partnership with CQL on our journey has been and will continue to be an important factor for us today and in the years to come.


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