BHPI’s Provider Spotlight: North Oakland Vocational Association, Inc. (NOVA)

At BHPI, we partner with providers who go above and beyond to ensure that our consumers have the best care available. Because of their fantastic work, BHPI is beginning a series to highlight those providers who put in 110%. This month we’re shining the spotlight on North Oakland Vocational Association, Inc. (NOVA). Read more about all they do below.

North Oakland Vocational Association, Inc. (NOVA)

NOVA Redford 17150 Inkster Rd., Redford, MI 48240. Phone: 313.592.6452
NOVA Downriver: 24730 Eureka Rd, Taylor, MI 48180. Phone: 734.947.9219

Services Offered:
Person-centered skill building, microenterprise support, and supported employment

Years of Service: 25

Why NOVA Shines! (BHPI testimonial)

Nomination submitted by a member of BHPI’s Quality Assurance Team

Sam*, an adult behavioral healthcare consumer, was having a hard time at his day program at NOVA. He’d recently moved into a group home after living with his sibling (his parent, who was his primary caregiver, had recently passed away.) In hopes of making the transition easier, Sam’s sibling decided it was best to avoid speaking with him for the first three to four weeks while he was living in the group home. During this time,  Sam began to have problems in his day program.

On the day that the BHPI Quality team visited NOVA, Sam was having a hard time. He was distraught, crying, and inconsolable. Program Director, Erica Anderson, and her staff worked tirelessly to help console Sam, and calm him down, at times lying on the floor with him. Erica and Operations Director, Susan Shelley brainstormed additional ways they could help him. They decided to get him a balloon and a card that had been signed by the staff at NOVA to show him that he was loved and cared for. The gesture immediately lifted Sam’s spirits. He started smiling, laughing, and showing off his balloon and card with pride. The concern and care demonstrated in this kind gesture, helped Sam to understand that he was supported.

This example of how the team at NOVA was able to help Sam thought his difficult emotional transition, is why they have been nominated for the Provider Spotlight. It shows how they work diligently to know what is going on in the lives of the consumers in their care and create a loving and supportive environment.”  

*Consumer’s name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.

NOVA’s Story:
NOVA opened its doors in August of 1992 in a rural area north of Oxford, Michigan at the request of MORC. At that time, vocational services was still a new concept, and the organization’s founders believed that being outside of a busy area was best and the safest for the population NOVA was supporting. In 1994, NOVA Redford opened, and NOVA Downriver opened in 1995. Expanding into Wayne County provided NOVA

Provider Spotlight_Nova
L-R, Erica Anderson, LaToi English, Felisha Ellison,                  and Susan Shelley.

with the opportunity to spread their wings in a more urban environment.  The rural Oakland County program moved to downtown Lake Orion in 1996.

In Wayne County NOVA has enjoyed being very creative. NOVA has taken chances throughout the county, exploring different ways to help consumers get the most out of their vocational services. NOVA is now located in very busy business districts at all locations. They use these locations as a stepping stone to promote integration, employment, feelings of being connected, and also to attract customers for consumer business owners!

What is the most rewarding part of working at NOVA?

We love being able to support folks with creating something that they love to do!  This may be a job in the community, or their own business or even some volunteer work.  We also value creating a culture of gentleness and are big proponents of Gentle Teaching.  

What is a typical day like at (Nova)?

There is no such thing as a typical day!  We have days where we go home feeling great about the day, and we also have days when we feel we didn’t meet our goals.  Either way, we get right back at it the following day and keep trying to make something special happen.

What type of impact do you think (Nova) has on the community?

We have had wonderful collaborations at each location.  We are fortunate to have made many friends; from local churches and food banks to the American Legion, business guilds, libraries, and schools.  We depend upon many of these groups and others and have spent a lot of time cultivating relationships that have endured.  We believe in being good stewards of community, inclusion, and the value of working toward inclusion for all.

In 5 years, where do you see (Nova)?

We see ourselves being more integrated into the community, having more positive outcomes for our folks we support,  and still maintaining our value of gentleness.  We also hope to expand the role of our entrepreneurs and help them to find creative ways to make more money and to keep from damaging their eligibility for services.    

What do you want the community to know about (Nova)?

We want them to know that we are a creative support services agency that loves to think outside the box and to even throw the box away!  We want the community to know that we are a center for community life and break the stereotype of vocational programs.

NOVA Executive Director, Tod Norman
NOVA Operations Director, Susan Shelley
NOVA Assistant Operations Director, LaToi English
NOVA Redford:  Program Director, Erica Anderson
NOVA Downriver: Program Director Helene Slaven

About Behavioral Health Professionals, Inc.:

Established in 2002 and headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, BHPI is a Managed Behavioral Health Organization offering behavioral health services through a fully integrated network of world-class healthcare providers.  Our emphasis is on adding value for our customers by offering expert behavioral care management, medical coordination, and behavioral disease and chronic behavioral condition management.  BHPI offers collaborative solutions by building strong partnerships with health plans, health systems, community mental health organizations, and employer groups.   For more information