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When it comes to Special Tree’s RSTs, there’s never a shortage of praise from clients and staff for their hard work and dedication. To show RSTs how much they’re appreciated, Special Tree organized IMAGINE, an off-site personal growth and development conference held biennially to celebrate National Nurses Aid Week last month.


To accommodate scheduling needs, the event was held over two days in June so that every RST would have an opportunity to attend. The conference featured breakout sessions on topics that RSTs expressed in a pre-conference survey. The sessions were facilitated by STRS staff and thanks go to: Catherine Steinhoff- Massage Management, Jill Prisza – Nutrition, Jim Hall - Personal Finance, Lela Hickonbottom – Health Careers, Neal Dregansky – Personal Fitness, Kristin Clearhout – Managing Stress, and Kelly Sandor & Derica Scribner – Love & Logic Parenting Skills.


Keynote speaker Walt Stasinski from Potential Unlimited in Troy inspired the crowd with a humorous but powerful presentation on the importance of having fun at work. “Everyone left feeling energized with ideas for new ways to enhance their work and personal relationships,” said HR Administrator Lisa Bray, who coordinated the IMAGINE event with RST Trainer Mary Jo Hall. RST staff from each facility competed in a Science of Caring poster contest with The Cottage and Tyler II tying for first place. RSTs also received a conference t-shirt and STRS bag and there were door prizes that included gift certificates and gas cards and a grand prize weekend trip including hotel, and pre-paid gas card awarded at each day of the conference.


On duty 24/7, 365 days a year, RSTs help clients with personal care and activities of daily living, support our nursing staff, and manage meals, medication, and household tasks at our residential locations. “The RSTs play such a critical role here,” said Mary Jo. “We want to acknowledge them in a way that helps them to grow and lets them know how much they’re appreciated.”



RSTs attended many breakout sessions throughout the day devoted to topics on personal growth and development.


Tyler 2 RSTs (pictured) and The Cottage both took First Place in the Science of Caring Poster Contest


Lisa Bray, IMAGINE coordinator, Lela Hickonbottom "Health Careers" presenter and Mary Jo Hall, IMAGINE coordinator.




Children's Services Manager Derica Scribner and Behavioral Specialist Kelly Sandor discuss parenting skills in their Parenting with Love & Logic session

Keynote Speaker Walt Stasinski from Potential Unlimited in Troy