Open Arms Care Corporation staff appointed to 2013 TNCPE Board of Examiners

Congratulations to the newly appointed 2013 Board of Examiners for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence

 Christina Mickley – Holt – Open Arms Care Corporation – Knoxville

Rose Hawkins,Open Arms Care Corporation – Nashville

Merrie Lackey, Open Arms Care Corporation -Nashville

Sandra Haliburton, Open Arms Care Corporation – Nashville

MIssion and Vision

New Mission and Vision!
There are so many things happening around us that sometimes we lose the focus of what we are here to do.   Open Arms Care recently asked that our management and our staff focus on where OAC is going as a company.  It could mean not only better services for the clients we serve but it could mean something remarkable for our company as well!
 We are now in the middle of our new Vision and Mission roll-out for Open Arms Care.  The board approved a re-vamping back in the early spring and we are now ready to educate everyone on the direction our company is headed.  It is very exciting!  The one thing we want our employees to keep in mind is nothing can happen without you and your positive commitment towards the people we serve. 
Our Vision for OAC is:

The vision of Open Arms Care is being the recognized leader in providing innovative services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are committed to Performance Excellence and fiscal integrity leading to sustainability and growth. We are committed to be a valued and trusted member of the communities we serve. We will make a positive difference.
Our Mission for OAC is:
Supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to reach their maximum potential and lead dignified and meaningful lives.

 In order to meet the challenge of our vision we have to be fully engaged and working together to achieve great results for not only the clients we serve, but for company as well.  Being the recognized leader in providing innovative services requires both innovative programming/services and acknowledgement within our field from colleagues.  Commitment to Performance Excellence means what it says – a tenacious determination to be Excellent in our Performance.   In today’s market we will fail if we do not have Performance Excellence and if we do not have fiscal integrity. In order to achieve Performance Excellence all of Open Arms Care has committed to the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence Program TNCPE website and the Baldrige Criteria See website A commitment to be a valued and trusted member of our communities means that we approach vendors, competitors, collaborators, stakeholders and partners with honesty.  Treating them with respect without offering false promises will lead to trust.  We want our communities to know who we are and acknowledge that Open Arms Care is a valued partner.
Our Mission is the reason we exist.  The history of our field is rife with stories of abuse, neglect and exploitation.  This has led to an unbelievable level of scrutiny on our program and programs like ours.  Sometimes we fall in to a rut of complaining about this scrutiny, but at Open Arms Care we welcome these extra eyes!  Our goal is to see our clients MEET THEIR MAXIMUM potential!  Our goal is to see our clients lead DIGNIFIED AND MEANINGFUL lives!  With this in mind we have joined the Performance Excellence Program – finding ways to measure our successes and measure our failures so we can fix these.  We invite the scrutiny of extra eyes to catch things we might miss.  These give us the advantage of opportunities for improvement to make ourselves better and ensure we succeed with our Mission!
The Open Arms Care Executive Team
Stephen Westbrook
Lisa King
Sue Cook
Vicki Cox
Charlie Schnell


Originally posted August 20, 2012

While banging around the world wide web, looking for things concerning disabilities, I found an article from an Ohio newspaper concerning a kid, Matt, with cerebral palsy who runs a 400 meter race at his school.  The dedication and determination of this eleven year old young man was simply awe inspiring!  See Article

Many of you may already have seen the video – it was on The Today Show, I now see that many others have written blogs about this young man, and his video has become a You Tube Sensation!  See Video.

What an impressive show of determination!  Before Matt finishes his first lap he has slowed way down.  As he is being lapped by faster kids you can see a shot of energy go through him and he pushes harder, for a split second, trying to keep up, or at least move quicker.  A teacher approaches him, looking concerned in the video (I know I was concerned watching him, even though it was just a video) and the teacher sticks with him.  Then one kid comes to support Matt, then another and then there are a bunch of kids and then it looks like every kid in the area is behind Matt, encouraging him, pushing him, supporting him.  Though in the middle section of the race it looks like Matt is going to falter and maybe even fail to finish he doesn’t falter and he does finish.  In fact with all the support of friends and teachers he is running with as much energy and as much speed at the end of the race as he was at the beginning!

What’s not to love about this story?!  Matt’s determination to tell the world he IS capable and that he CAN finish!  Because without the support of others it is obvious to me this kid WOULD have finished that race!  The loving and caring family, not concerning themselves with being embarrassed, not holding Matt back even to “protect him”!  The supportive teachers that didn’t say Matt is “special” and couldn’t run in this race!  And most important, to me, those wonderful kids who got behind Matt, cheered him on, gave him the energy and adrenaline to finish the race as fast as he started it!  They demonstrated to me what it really means to support and encourage another human being!  Thank you for the kindness and giving spirit of children!

Charles Schnell
Executive Director
Open Arms Care – Knoxville Operation

OAC Staff Appointed to 2012 TNCPE Board of Examiners!

Originally posted July 13, 2012

Congratulations to OAC Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga.  Each city had at least one member from the Director team appointed to the 2012 TNCPE Board of Examiners. 

Established in 1993 as a public-private partnership by Governor Ned R. McWherter, the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence strives to promote economic development by helping companies and organizations grow more competitive in today’s global marketplace through affordable, in-depth assessments. A statewide non-profit, TNCPE is patterned after the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the national standard for recognizing organizational excellence. More than 1,200 organizations have participated in and benefited from the TNCPE program. Four Tennessee businesses—Caterpillar Financial  Services, Pal’s Sudden Service, Eastman Chemical Company and Federal Express—have received both the prestigious Baldrige National Quality Award and the TNCPE Excellence Award.
Examiners are responsible for reviewing and evaluating organizations that apply for a TNCPE
Award. The Board of Examiners comprises experts from all sectors of the regional economy, including health care, service, non-profit, manufacturing, education and government. All members of the Board of Examiners must complete extensive training in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Examiners take the skills developed during training and the assessment process back to their own jobs, benefiting and improving their own organizations in the process.

Each year, the TNCPE Board of Examiners contributes more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service to organizations across Tennessee.
2012 TNCPE Board of Examiners representing OAC
Nashville-Sue Cook, Executive Director
Memphis-Vicki Cox, Executive Director
Chattanooga-Lisa King, Executive Director
                        Lori Howard, Business Services Director
                        Todd Dockery, Human Resources Director
                        Steven Johnston, Quality Assurance Director
Knoxville-Charles Schnell, Executive Director
                  Nikki Vinsant, Day Services Director
                  Rebecca Heckler, Program Services Director
                  Teresa Coy, Quality Assurance Director
For more information about TNCPE, visit