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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • After 25 years Hays has optimistic plans for LOQW

  • As executive director for the past 25 years, Wendy Hays has seen Learning Opportunities/Quality Works (LOQW) - which serves 13 Northeast Missouri counties - expand its services from a handful of clients to more than 600.


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  • As executive director for the past 25 years, Wendy Hays has seen Learning Opportunities/Quality Works (LOQW) - which serves 13 Northeast Missouri counties - expand its services from a handful of clients to more than 600.
    Her coworkers contacted the Courier-Post to request she be recognized for taking such a strong leadership role, but Hays is too busy to be honored. She just wants to continue the work she identified with as a very young girl, helping people with special needs, be it physical or mental.
    Why did she begin so young? Her sister died from a brain tumor at about age 10, “so I was always interested” in helping others, she explained. She began volunteering at the Hannibal Regional Center as a high school senior.
    As a college student in Kirksville, she worked with people with disabilities while earning a degree in recreation. After returning to Hannibal she was a recreational therapist at the regional center in Hannibal and worked elsewhere before becoming executive director of LOQW in 1987. Her office is at the LOQW headquarters in Monroe City.
    Hays also is busy with her family, including Scott, her husband of 30 years; their children, Will Hays, Molly Hays and Coley Haycraft; and their four grandchildren.
    LOQW helps a wide variety of people, Hays said, such as those with developmentally disabilities, the hearing impaired and people with a mental illness.
    Hays said her “overall goal is that LOQW services are of high quality, timely and person-centered, and that individuals and families get services they need and have satisfaction with the implementation of these services.”
    For more information about the agency’s services, call the corporate office in Monroe City at (735) 4282 or see the website www.loqw.com.
    Hays outlined some future plans for the agency:
    • Documentation of services is critical for fiscal responsibility and accountability. LOQW is implementing a web-based system, SETWORKS to implement a timely and accurate accounting of all agency services. This is a huge project, which involves inputting information on all 600 individuals receiving services, designing a system which will track services and insure that the required information for funding agencies is available. It is felt this system will insure accurate recording and billing, provide more “real time data” and provide a more accessible system to staff. The end result will be better tracking and hopefully allow staff more time to work directly with the people we serve!
    • Increasing community employment for youth through enhanced partnerships with business and partnering agencies. It is LOQW goal that all youth who graduate from high school who want to work in the community will receive the support they need to accomplish this goal.
    • Increase agency partnerships with the community members to insure accessible services to individuals with developmental disabilities. It is important to not duplicate services but coordinate and enhance. This can only be accomplished working together.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Increase capacity of staff through training. Education and information is the key to providing quality services.
    • Implement the Ticket to Work program assisting individuals who receive Social Security benefits in entering the work world and earning a fair wage to reduce or eliminate reliance on a system that keeps them in poverty
    • Provide benefits planning to individuals who seek community employment to insure that the fear of loss of benefits is addressed and individuals can make informed choices
    • Provide quality service coordination to individuals in the counties served by our service coordination program, County Connections, to insure all available resources can be accessed based on individual service needs.
    Her goal: “Individuals get what they need, when they need it!”
     
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