INDEPENDENT LIVING THE NEWSLETTER OF
JULY / AUGUST 2012 IN THIS ISSUE... A Clear Vote, iVotronic Demonstration, Learning and Earning, PAVE Makes Statewide Impact, Meet Lena Sapp
WHAT “GOOD” IS MY DISABILITY? by Aimee Wehmeier, Executive Director
I recently read an article about the work of Kenneth Vail, a psychology doctoral student at the University of Missouri. His research shows that thinking about death can bring out the good in people. Although I was born with Muscular Dystrophy and never walked, I would say my childhood was pretty typical. In elementary school I remember falling out of my wheelchair on multiple occasions as my peers kicked for me and ran me around the bases during kickball. I remember kids arguing over who got to push my wheelchair to lunch and to art class. I don’t remember thinking much about my disability one way or the other or death for that matter. u which developed into pneumonia, which resulted in a collapsed lung. I was transferred by ambulance from a local hospital to a larger hospital in critical condition. I e nurse said, “Honey, I don’t know.” Obviously I recovered, but the fear of dying remained. I have always considered my fear a major barrier, because during times cant circumstances. is article gave me a new perspective, Vail said people want to be
tolerant, compassionate and commonly feel a need to reach out to others. Despite the stereotypes about people with disabilities, I am not overly courageous. I am certainly no hero. I am not a victim. I have not overcome my disability (it’s still here every morning)! However, I do believe my disability has given me a unique perspective. As the article suggests, I have learned tolerance. I am compassionate. I do feel a need to reach out to others. So, what good is my disability? My disability is plenty good! Services for Independent Living empowers me and other people with disabilities to maximize their independence. We don’t just say it, we live it.
LEARNING AND EARNING by Bridgette Imperial Has it been a while since you’ve been employed? Are you interested in getting out there? It’s never too late to start, or start again. Everybody has something they can contribute to the workforce. nding the right job match, which can be challenging in today’s tough economic times. So what can you do as a job seeker to increase your employability? c skills, talents, and abilities to employer needs (job match), you need to develop an edge over at means increasing education, experience, ed job applicants is apparent in the wealth of articles out there highlighting the disparity between open jobs and applicant skill lled nd workers nd that despite the nearly 13 million unemployed Americans, the inability of ed applicants leaves an estimated 3.5 lled, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With that said, the importance of further education and training for job seekers is evident. However, this is easier said than done, with the price of tuition ever on the rise. It is time job seekers cations y student loans. It is time to realize that standard methods of education and training (i.e. college, trade schools, etc.) are not the only means of increasing education, experience, and employability. More en even free, opportunities exist in the community. It’s just a matter of identifying and tapping into them. For example, SIL’s Work Readiness Class gives job seeking consumers an edge over competition in providing an opportunity to prepare for employment while serving as an extra nugget of experience to list on applications or resumes. Please contact our center for more information on this class and other learning opportunities.
DID YOU NOTICE
PAVE MAKES STATEWIDE IMPACT who give educational presentations on disability awareness in the counties we serve. We were honored to cials (NAHRO), is was an exciting opportunity that gave us the ability to advocate for individuals with disabilities on a statewide level. PAVE spoke for two hours to approximently 100 attendees and shared our personal experiences rst language, etiquette, myths and misconceptions. We also provided information and testimony regarding informational, environmental and attitudinal barriers, these being some of the biggest barriers faced by individuals with disabilities, in addition to covering the stigma of non-visible disabilities such as mental illness. One of the hot topics discussed was important legislation regarding rights that people with disabilities have as it relates to housing including the ADA, Fair Housing Act, and Section 504. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity nancial assistance from any federal agency, including the U.S. Department of Housing is topic provided for a great deal of discussion. At the conclusion of our program the audience asked many questions and were very receptive to e PAVE panel couldn’t have been more pleased with the response, it is through these programs we can educate and change attitudes to create a better understanding about disability. If you would like to schedule PAVE programs or participate in the group, please contact Jill McClintock 800-766-1968 or 573-874-1646.
the new contribution envelope in our newsletter? Welcome to a new dimension of Services for Independent Living, one that gives you and other members of our community a chance to support our organization and the work we do to advocate choice and freedom for those with disabilities. SIL touches lives in many positive ways. With this envelope you now have a way to support the programs that are most meaningful to you and those you know. And since we are an IRS designated 501 (c) (3) organization is tax deductible. We appreciate your consideration. Mike Miller, Development Director
SIL Board Meetings e next meeting will be announced. ce.
A CLEAR MINDSET, A CLEAR VOTE by Leslie Anderson ned America as a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” which requires a responsibility of its citizens. From the inception of the U.S. Constitution, the framers experienced a diverse, and ery perspective of our democracy. But, varying opinions are fundamental for the protection of our civil e vote gives us the opportunity to express our opinion as a method of control by the people. is year, we have major elections throughout the United States. Unfortunately, not everyone exercises their right to vote. If you are going to vote this year – great, and thank you! If you are not, how can we help you with this civic responsibility? SIL wants to help increase the number of individuals with disabilities that vote. To help meet this goal, SIL has signed an agreement with Missouri Assistive Technology to demonstrate the accessible voting machine used in Boone County.
YOUR SMALL VOICE HAS AN ENORMOUS IMPACT.
Your small voice has an enormous impact. Although we cannot urge you vote for any candidate or tell you how to vote, Centers for Independent Living may help by: 1) assisting with voter registrations; 2) educating the public on the legislative process; 3) providing accessible transportation; and 4) demonstrating the accessible voting machine used in your area.
I agree with William Grayson, who said “I think liberty is a thing of too much importance to be trusted on the ground of implications: it should rest on principles expressed in the clearest & most unequivocal manner.” A check in the e U.S. Constitution guarantees your right to vote, but the Americans with Disabilities Act provides that people with disabilities
are not turned away from the polls because there is a need for assistive technology. To vote in the primary election, you must be registered by July 11, 2012; and to vote in the general election, you must be registered to vote by October 10, 2012.
SEE YOU AT THE POLLS!
iVOTRONIC DEMONSTRATION Services for Independent Living is working in collaboration with Missouri Assistive Technology to demonstrate the accessible voting machine for Boone Co e iVotronic, the accessible voting machine was chosen to help meet the e iVotronic has two modes for accessibility; e audio version uses headphones e touch screen version features a large screen display of the ballot with touch choice. Both options include a review of all choices before the ballot is cast. We will be demonstrating the iVotronic, the accessible voting machine around Boone County as well as in the Demonstration Center at SIL. By participating in e more feedback we can provide, the better we can meet the needs of a diverse population of voters in the future. nd out how to participate and check out the iVotronic.
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In-home services meet the personal care needs of individuals with disabilities and the elderly, providing them the opportunity to remain independent and living in their own home or the ability to leave the nursing home. My name is Lena Sapp and I am the new In-Home Services Manager for Services for Independent Living. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Dawn, an in-home client. Dawn is
ve, Dawn moved to St. Louis to attend a “special” school for people diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She moved to Columbia in 1982 to attend the University of Missouri. Dawn likes Columbia because she can get around on her own and she enjoys being involved in community activities. In fact, during our conversation Dawn shared a newspaper article she was featured in regarding a recent demonstration. Community education is a passion for Dawn. By volunteering for People Advocating for the Voice of Equality (PAVE) through SIL, Dawn breaks down stereotypes by sharing her personal story in the community. Dawn stated there are two groups of people; those who want to ignore her and those who want to understand her. She feels bad about people who try to ignore her because “they are missing out.” Dawn has been a consumer with Services for Independent Living since 1982, when it was called Opportunities Unlimited. She started going to the Women’s Group because she wanted to socialize with the other women. Dawn chose in-home to services
because she needs help getting ready for the day and she stated aids done quicker. “ Dawn owns her own home and lives independently with her a es the independent living philosophy and empowers others to do the same. As for me, In-Home Services is the path that led me to SIL. I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Public Administration, with an emphasis in management. While in college, I placed an ad in the Tribune stating I was a college student willing to care for a person with a disability in exchange for room and board. I moved in with a family and cared for their mother rst-hand how challenging the disease can be on the family. rough the years, I cared for a variety of people. In my previous position, I moved from direct care to management, which was an eye opening experience. I learned to meet client needs while juggling client family concerns, employee schedules, and corporate goals. It was a challenging, yet rewarding experience. In April, I joined the SIL team. I am learning about the clients, as well as training and orientating new employees. My passion, experience and desire to maximize independence for seniors and people with disabilities, drives me to work toward expanding our in-home program. For more information on our in-home services or working as an in-home aid, please contact SIL.