Charles Carr, Commissioner, MRC
From the Editor's Desk
Guess what? It's raining again! I keep hearing a song from childhood. "Rain, rain go away, come again another day". This may be the rainiest summer I can remember.
This issue of the Consumer's Voice includes articles on the Consumer Conference and this year's Moro Fleming award recipient Angelica Sawyer. Elaine Poulack nominated Angelica for the award and wrote the article. After reading Ms. Poulack's article you will know that the legacy of Moro Fleming has indeed been honored by naming Angelica Sawyer the recipient for 2009.
The Home Care Director, Betty Maher, has provided us with an update on their current situation. Please read Betty's article and consider the options for services from the list Home Care has provided.
Our featured artist Jeanie Schermesser has written an article, Revealing Culture Narrative. The article describes Jeanie's development of artwork that will be submitted for possible inclusion in the Revealing Culture Exhibition in Washington, D.C.
The Consumer Conference
The 28th Annual Consumer Conference was held June 18, 2009 at Northeastern University. The event was very successful. Approximately 300 participants were in attendance. Attendees included consumers, service providers and MRC staff.
The day began at 8:00 a.m. and lasted until 6:00 p.m. and included three workshop sessions. During lunchtime, the guest speaker, Dr. Neeta Fogg, gave a presentation on the employment trends of people with disabilities. The 2009 Moro Fleming award was also given at lunch. Congratulations to Angelica Sawyer, winner of the award!
The Conference hosted an all-day disability resource fair where vendors and organizations displayed their products and informational materials.
The MRC is extremely grateful to Northeastern University for hosting the Conference. We would also like to thank the Northeastern University staff and student volunteers who make this event so enjoyable. A special acknowledgement is extended to our planning committee. Without their dedication and many hours of hard work there would be no conference. Please accept our profound appreciation.
Angelica Sawyer-Recipient of the Moro Fleming Award 2009
Angelica Sawyer's advocacy, leadership and participation in the legislative process are examples of the traits Angelica shares with Moro Fleming.
Angelica has demonstrated a tireless commitment to individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disabilities (ADHD/LD). She founded the Cambridge Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.
Angelica has not only led self-advocacy initiatives within existing agencies and legislative arenas, but she created entirely new forums for individuals with disabilities to develop and practice their own advocacy. This has included her experience as an entrepreneur of College Bound, a consultation practice founded in 1982 for students with ADHD/LD entering higher education. Through that experience, she expanded services and improved her effectiveness by becoming a qualified Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission vendor of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) division.
In 1992 Angelica created the State Rehabilitation Council Task Force on ADHD/LD. She served as chair for the task force for 15 years and remains active as a member and contributor. Angelica also proposed, designed and coordinated another unique MRC service, a weekly support group for individuals with ADHD/LD to meet in a confidential, professionally facilitated group for peer support and empowerment.
Angelica has made a significant impact in the vocational and independent living aspects of the Commission. Her work has led to academic success for challenged individuals using education plans provided in support of vocational goals in Individual Employment Plans(IEP). She has helped to develop comprehensive training materials and seminars for MRC staff on issues related to people with ADHD/LD. Hundreds of individuals remain in the community avoiding or minimizing incarceration linked to their disability through Angelica's work on the Cambridge Court Clinic, Learning Disabilities Project. Angelica was the director for the Statewide Special Education Coordinator's Project for the Massachusetts County Houses of Correction. VR and IL consumers have benefited from her leadership in statistical research and analysis. Angelica's commitment to improved services through better data led to the MRC adopting an agency reporting code for ADHD. This reporting code has now become the national standard for all VR agencies.
Angelica Sawyer is a leader, listener, collaborator and innovator. She has worked for increased opportunities for those with ADHD/LD. Moreover, she has helped to shape and guide dialogue and understanding between the varied segments of the disability community with grace, wit and a smile. She has also served the Commission as Vice-Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council. Angelica demands accountability from elected and appointed officials, inspires others and leads through her voice and actions.
The legacy of Moro Fleming will be honored by having named Angelica Sawyer the recipient for 2009.
A Behind the Scenes Look at "Your First Interview"
It can be challenging to find a job that matches your skills, needs and abilities; and looking for your first job in a troubled economy can be even more difficult. And, if you have a disability, the process can be overwhelming and at times discouraging.
As a way of addressing this issue, Oswald Mondejar, Vice President of Human Resources and Community Relations for Partners Continuing Care, and Ann Marie LaRocca, RN, MSN, CRRN, Associate Chief Nurse for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, presented "Your First Job: Transitioning Youth to Employment" at the 28th Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Annual Consumer Conference. The MRC Conference was held at Northeastern University, Boston, MA Thursday, June 18, 2009.
The workshop used lecture and interactive discussion to explore the experience of the first time job seeker and provide insight and guidance related to the hiring process. It was designed to give participants a rare, behind the scenes view of the hiring process from the perspective of both Human Resources and the hiring manager.
The presenters discussed the personal and professional characteristics of the successful candidate from the initial application through the final interview. They defined the roles of human resources and the manager in an effort to demystify the hiring process. Presenters also offered strategies for building confidence and for making a realistic inventory of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. Alternative options for building experience such as internships, volunteerism, mentoring and shadowing were discussed as well.
The participants' response to this realistic, yet hopeful, approach was extremely positive. As one participant commented, "Interviewing is hard, and this helped me think about preparing for meeting the manager and how to present my abilities."
Governor Patrick Announces Plan to Make Massachusetts "A Model Employer" of People with Disabilities; $2.5 million will fund regional employment collaboratives.
Thursday, June 25, Governor Deval Patrick unveiled the state's "Strategic Plan to make Massachusetts a Model Employer for People with Disabilities." Based on a framework laid out by the federal Equal Opportunity and Employment Commission, the plan sets out a roadmap for improving the recruitment and retention of state workers with disabilities, including workers who age into disability.
Focused on the 45,000-person workforce in the Executive Branch, the plan provides an implementation strategy for the disability portion of the Governor's Executive Order on diversity and affirmative action issued two years ago. "As someone who oversaw the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the federal level, I know how challenging it has been to realize the promise of anti-discrimination in employment of people with disabilities," said Governor Patrick. "With this plan, our state government and my office will move Massachusetts one step forward in achieving that goal."
Governor Patrick also announced that the Commonwealth, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, will make available $2.5 million in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid funding for five regional employment collaboratives intended to support more private sector employment of people with disabilities. The regional collaboratives will allow the state to work with private industry to become model employers as well.
"Addressing the economic security of people with disabilities is an important part of our Community First Olmstead Plan," said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. "These initiatives hold out real hope for changing opportunities even in a difficult fiscal time." "Innovation in the practices of public and private employers is critical to changing both the recruitment and retention of workers with disabilities in our workforce," said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne M. Bump. "Through new strategies around hiring practices, mentoring and accommodation, the Commonwealth will continue to benefit from its diverse and dynamic employees while meeting the ever-changing needs of a modern workforce."
Under development for a year, the plan envisions changes in the practices of the Commonwealth's Human Resource Division (HRD) regarding the outreach, recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion of people with disabilities. It also puts in place a centralized process and funds for supporting reasonable accommodations people may need. "Senior staff across the Secretariats and from HRD and the Massachusetts Office of Disability guided the development of this plan," said Administration and Finance Assistant Secretary Ron Marlow. "Having the commitment of leadership is important to making sure that we can realize the change in both environment and practice that we seek."
A number of innovations are underway, including a new internship program this summer focused on youth with disabilities. Eighteen college and high school students have been placed in state agencies, including the Governor's Office, and will be receiving training and support to assure their success. Additionally, focus groups with employees with disabilities across the Commonwealth are informing the new outreach and other practice changes. "As one of the largest employers in the Commonwealth, we can play a significant role in changing the work status of people with disabilities," said Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commissioner Charles Carr. "And the development of our regional employment collaboratives with UMass through our Massachusetts Disability Employment Initiative offers real hope of supporting expanded private sector opportunities at the same time," added Commissioner Carr.
"We are excited to be working with the state in building a new future for people with disabilities," noted Dr. Jay Himmelstein, co-lead on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid-funded Initiative. "Massachusetts is leading the way in these innovations." Community-based groups have been endorsing a Model Employer strategy for some time. "We look forward to supporting the state in making this a successful initiative," said Bill Henning, Director of the Boston Center for Independent Living.
The announcement comes during the 10th anniversary week of the Supreme Court's decision assuring the right of people with disabilities to live in the community. "We are proud to be honoring the anniversary of this landmark decision (Olmstead) by taking a step forward in securing the economic security people with disabilities need in order to make the community living promise of that Supreme Court decision a reality," said Dr. Jean McGuire, Assistant Secretary for Disability Policy and Programs.
Patrick Administration and Advocates Welcome Name Change for Department of Developmental Services
The Patrick Administration today announced that the state agency serving individuals with developmental disabilities has officially been renamed the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Previously known as the Department of Mental Retardation, the agency's new name reflects the importance of promoting dignity and respect for people with intellectual disabilities.
Enacted through legislation in 2008, the agency's name change grew from active engagement and input from advocates, particularly self-advocates with intellectual disabilities. The new name also better reflects the broad range of services and supports offered by the agency.
"Today marks a new beginning as we join a broad coalition of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, advocates and lawmakers in celebrating the Department of Developmental Services' new name," said Governor Deval Patrick. "It is an exciting day for all of us who support providing individuals with intellectual disabilities the dignity they and their families deserve."
"The Patrick Administration understands that names matter. Promoting dignity and respect for people with disabilities requires that we eliminate the use of terms that are no longer acceptable," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. " We celebrate the Department of Developmental Services' new name and honor the hard work of so many who made the change possible."
"The Department's new name affords consumers and their families the dignity and respect they have been looking for and certainly deserve," added the Department's Commissioner Elin Howe.
John Anton, a self-advocate from Haverhill, said: "The name change means we'll all be treated equally and have a voice. I feel good, because I helped push the legislation for it at the State House. We're equal like everyone else. The new name shows more respect and dignity."
Craig Smith, a self-advocate from Brighton, said: "The name is like freedom now. It means getting more respect."
Self-advocate Charles Pina of Haverhill said: "The new name, Department of Developmental Services, is very respectful. It's important for us that we are seen as working individuals and are all human beings."
Sandy Houghton, a self-advocate from Hadley added: "Now with the new name, people will have the opportunity to be accepted for who they are and for all their abilities and what they want to do."
About the Department of Developmental Services. The Department is dedicated to creating, in partnership with others, innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate fully and meaningfully in, and contribute to, their communities as valued members.
Home Care Assistance Program Update
Betty Maher, Director, MRC Home Care Assistance Program
The Home Care Assistance Program (HCAP) continues to face challenges presented by limited resources coupled with increased demand for the service. Fiscal Year 2009 brought 9C cuts and a hiring freeze that constrained the program's ability to purchase services and to hire necessary staff.
FY'2010 brought a five percent funding cut of over $300,000. Given the fact that the program has been operating with a Wait List of over 6 months, there was a backlog of calls to the Intake Line, and there were over 300 applications to process, a determination was made that effective June 3, 2009 the Home Care Assistance Program would close its Intake Line indefinitely.
We are continuing to follow up on all callers who left messages prior to June 3, continuing the eligibility determination process for all those who completed applications before that date, and moving people to the Wait List (estimated to be 6 to 9 months from date of eligibility).
Those who call to inquire about services are being referred to their local Independent Living Centers for information and referral assistance to help them determine if they can access other public or private resources to assist them at this time. Below is a list of potential resources that was provided to the centers. We hope this list will be of some assistance.
Home Care Assistance Program Resource Ideas
Grocery/Meal Delivery Service
Peapod: www.peapod.com (1-800-573-2763) most of Eastern Mass. Go to website, type in your zip code to see if they cover your town. Must be able to order food on-line and pay by credit card or gift card. Charges delivery fee depending on size of order.
Roche Brothers: http://shop.rochebros.com (781-694-5280) Greater Boston. Must be able to order on-line, pay by credit or gift card. A delivery fee will be charged.
Community Servings: (617)445-7777 Boston area, some surrounding towns. Provides a daily meal to those with "life-threatening illness." Their definition includes: MS, ALS, Lupus, Kidney Failure and HIV/AIDS.
You're Local Supermarket: MIGHT have a Delivery Service. Some of the local stores do have delivery service, but they do not publicize it widely. It's worth giving them a call.
Independent Living Centers: Independent Living Centers are community organizations run BY and FOR people with disabilities. Services they provide include: peer counseling, advocacy, skills training and information and referral. If you do call, explain you have been found eligible for MRC-HCAP but are on the Wait List. They may have some ideas for local resources that could provide temporary assistance.
Colleges/Universities: Call your local college Placement Office for students looking for volunteer work, or who will work for a small fee. Also consider the college's Social Work, Rehabilitation, Nursing or other relevant department that might have students seeking volunteer work.
High Schools: Check with the Guidance Department of your local high school. Many schools now require community service and may be looking for service opportunities for their students.
Churches/Synagogues/Places of Worship: Whether or not you belong to a religious organization, it may be worth a call to see if they can help. Oftentimes, there are people who want to provide a useful service to their community but are not sure where the need is.
Disability Specific Organizations
MS Society Central New England Chapter: (800) 493-9255
Arthritis Foundation: (800) 766-9449
American Cancer Society: (617) 556-7400
United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County: (413) 442-1562
United Cerebral Palsy of Metro Boston: (617) 926-5480
Several programs offer assistance with personal care and homemaking tasks. Contact your case manager to ask about the PCA or GAFC option.
Storytellers Forum Provides Hope in Mental Illness Fight
The South Shore and Coastal Vocational Rehabilitation Coalition presented its 11th Annual "Storytellers" forum on May 7 at the Quincy Career Center. The Forum is designed for people affected by various forms of mental illness who share their experiences regarding their respective recoveries.
The history of "Storytellers" dates back to 1998, beginning as a simple meeting started by founders Dennis McCrory and Martha Zeolla, where people with mental illness could discuss how various disorders impact their lives.
Today, "Storytellers" partners with 13 Health and Human Services agencies to build upon a recovery community that brings messages of inspiration and hope. Agencies involved in the program include the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Enable, Inc. and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.
This year's Forum began with a series of speakers discussing their own personal struggles with mental illness. One of the inspiring stories that resulted from the meeting was told by Liz Pepin.
Liz's battle with depression began at the age of 12. Her depression was so serious that she began to harm herself physically. Pepin admitted feeling as though there was no way to stop her downward spiral of depression. "I felt alone and isolated. I wanted the pain to stop. I did what I could to stop it, but I realized it wasn't helping me deal with my problems," explained Liz.
Liz's recovery protocol included therapy and medication. Today, Liz is able to support herself by working for the Metro Health Suburban Community. She enjoys taking long walks and painting to relieve her stress. When asked why she told her story, Liz said, "It makes me feel good to know that sharing my experience can help someone else with their illness, and help them not make the same mistakes I did."
Another moving story from the "Storytellers" Forum was one told by Cynthia DePina. Cynthia says she always did well in school, earning a 3.9 GPA in high school. Although she was successful in academics, Cynthia felt pressured by everything going on around her.
Cynthia was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Eventually she was hospitalized for treatment. Cynthia credits her recovery to intensive therapy and rediscovering her love for dance. She has also worked with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.
Cynthia graduated from Lesley College with a degree in Psychology and currently works as a Bay State Services Coordinator. She enjoys sharing her story with others because she knows it will help someone. "My personal experience caused me to get involved in human service to help others," said Cynthia.
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Supervisor and "Storytellers" program leader, Martha Zeolla, believes the reason these stories provide inspiration is because the speakers are willing to help those in need. "This program was built on the idea of people sharing their life experiences. These speakers wanted to give back to their community."
The powerful nature of the stories told in this Forum illustrates "Storytellers" ability to serve as a vital resource to help people tell each of their stories and fight the battle against mental illness.
Massachusetts Human Services Programs Celebrate Assistive Technology
Officials from the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services gathered in Nurses Hall at the State House May 26th to honor advancements in Assistive Technology for people with disabilities.
The principle organizations helping those with disabilities acquire and utilize multiple forms of Assistive Technology include MassMatch, Easter Seals and Sovereign Bank. This partnership, funded by Sovereign Bank, is a result of the Assistive Technology Act of 2004. The legislation requires the majority of state funds be spent to develop direct help systems for people with disabilities.
Massachusetts Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Jean McGuire, urged a continued effort to make Assistive Technology available to those who need it. "We need to continue making Assistive Technology simple and affordable for everyone." The latest innovation in assistive technology is Voiceover I.P., a feature used by state agencies allowing blind employees full access to phone systems.
Assistive technology is equipment used to maintain or improve the capabilities of people with disabilities. One organization leading the development of assistive technology is MassMatch. MassMatch assists people with disabilities, family members and disability related providers across Massachusetts by allowing consumers to test the latest technological devices before buying them to find the best fit for their needs. If equipment becomes outdated or is no longer helpful to one consumer, it is recycled and will be available for someone else.
MassMatch, in cooperation with Easter Seals, operates two Assistive Technology regional centers in Boston and Pittsfield. These regional centers loan over 400 pieces of equipment through short and long-term A.T. loan programs. Loans from the Assistive Technology Short-Term Loan Program can be requested by family, physicians or rehabilitation centers. These loans last 2-4 weeks and allow consumers to test out equipment before purchasing it. Reduced-interest rate loans are available through the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program. For more information, visit: www.massmatch.org/fund_at/loan/.
The program also provides needs assessments, equipment training and can meet interim needs for those whose devices are being repaired. Items lent out through MassMatch include flashing doorbells, wheelchairs and the new V-Pad, a visual sign language device used to help the deaf communicate. Long-term AT loan programs require borrowers to demonstrate financial need and borrow devices valued at $500 or less for as long as needed.
Additionally, MassMatch supports an assistive home modification program. Reduced-rate loans for people with disabilities are available for the Assistive Technology Home Modification Program. Eligible homeowners may qualify for loans of up to $30,000 for home modifications.
While much work has been done in Massachusetts to increase awareness of the expanding world of assistive technology, it is clear more work is ahead with the advancement of assistive technology to help people with disabilities. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Commissioner, Charles Carr, reinforced this message. "Assistive Technology levels the playing field at work, school and in life. We need to make sure assistive technology doesn't become an afterthought."
Revealing Culture Narrative
Jeanie K. Schermesser
I don't remember the exact moment I realized I was "different" from other people. Maybe it was when I first saw myself in a full-length mirror, or maybe it was when my mom showed me how to tie my shoelaces for the first time. At any rate, it didn't take me long to figure out that I needed to do things my own way, in order to do them at all.
Being born with one arm was, in some ways, a blessing. At least I didn't suffer a traumatic experience that left me missing an appendage that I once had. When I was a baby, I'm told I used my toes like fingers to pick things up. It was years later, as an adult, that my mother admitted she had been embarrassed to take me out in public after I was born. There were too many questions, and she felt she had done something wrong during her pregnancy to cause the deformity.
Fortunately, I grew up in a family that never said "You can't", but rather, "You can try". They did not "baby" me or put me in some "special" school. I grew up along with my four other siblings and for the most part, was treated just like everyone else. I spent most of my childhood trying to fit in and proving to everyone that I WAS just like everyone else!
My imagination created a wonderful world where I freely played. I often invented entire fantasy realms complete with costumes, props and personas. Often I built things; dollhouses, forts, entire cities in my sandbox. I loved creating! In school, I felt at home in the arts. It was a place of safety, solace and deep satisfaction. Not only did I enjoy the arts but others began to recognize my artistic talents and encouraged my development.
Now decades later, I am still pursuing my passion and dream of creating art in my studio full-time, without having to conform to the time constraints of another job. Along the way, I got married, bought a church to live in, raised two sons, and acquired three degrees in art and have helped to support my family through teaching art and free-lancing. I have never given up! I am still creating!
It was not until last year that I ever contemplated creating art around my disability. By the way, I really HATE that word, "disability". It has a very negative connotation and implies that there is something "wrong" with you. For me, I really like the phrase "physically challenged" because it is much more descriptive of the struggles through life that a person with a disability must face and does not place the emphasis on an individual's physical appearance.
Anyway, last year I started thinking about "my little arm" as a sculptural form. Often I would wonder at it in a mirror, as it would bend and form shapes, juxtaposed against other parts of my body. I thought, how beautiful to view this so called "deformity" with the pure objectivity of an artist's perception. To see something considered "unsightly" by society, as something truly magical and exquisite in its perfection. In my mind, I had the image of a nautilus shell. How its form and simplicity revealed so much about the mystery of life.
I couldn't stop thinking about the nautilus and my "little arm" and started photographing myself. After endless contortions and shoots, I started working with several of the images by drawing into them with charcoal and soft pastels. This experiment has evolved into two distinct bodies of work: one that is strictly pure exploring form through drawing. The latter series, which is yet untitled, will be the art I am submitting for possible inclusion in the Revealing Culture Exhibition in Washington, D.C. Consisting of photographic close-ups of the body (particularly of my "little arm"), the images are singular or combined as multiples. Grown out of my desire to explore self-portraiture, I really felt the need to focus on my own sense of identity and self-discovery at this time in my life. This entire process is deeply rooted in confronting human thoughts and feelings regarding body image, social identity involving gender, and perceptual ideas of being different from the "norm". In its essence, it is seeing the human body as pure "form".
As each work evolved, I discovered that the making became more and more vital and there was also the need to introduce more color, subtle at first and then becoming stronger. The works now seem to be more about movement and rhythm, texture and line, than about subject matter. However the subject matter is still a very important part of the work. As I became engrossed in creating, I also discovered the work was directly involved in questioning established concepts of physical beauty and in rebelling against those parameters as the basis for quantifying an individual's sense of worth and self-esteem.
In our modern society, we are bombarded daily with images of women on television and in magazines that shape our concepts of ideal beauty. Young girls strive to be skinny, have perfect skin and teeth and wear the latest fashions. Society places so much emphasis on physical beauty that we take for granted its power to open doors, land jobs and create opportunities for those individuals that fit the criteria. Involved in questioning established concepts of physical beauty and rebelling against those parameters as the basis for quantifying an individual's sense of worth and self-esteem.
In other cultures, in other parts of the world, if a baby is born disfigured, they can be ridiculed and shunned, or even killed. Certainly they are NOT regarded as beautiful or even worthy enough to live. Throughout human history, human imperfection has not been tolerated. Maybe it ties into "the survival of the fittest" theory of human evolution. No matter what the reason, it is only in developed, civilized countries that the weakest and most frail human populations are protected and given back some sense of dignity.
Like racial discrimination and other forms of prejudice against segments of society, changing the perceptions and attitudes toward the disabled is just in its infancy. America and the world at large still have a long way to go. That is why I believe my art and my story needs to be seen and needs to be heard. I hope to have some small part in opening up people's eyes and minds, affecting changes in the way the disabled are treated and perceived. We ARE perfect in our imperfection. Our creator would not have made us otherwise.
Becoming an Individual Consumer Consultant (ICC)
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's Consumer Involvement Program makes a special effort to form cooperative relationships with those individuals who are known as consumers or recipients of services.
We are interested in applicants for the ICC program who have skills and experiences of value to the MRC. The program is open to both MRC consumers and their immediate family members.
This program is for MRC consumers to gain work experience. Consumers are encouraged to apply to gain meaningful employment skills working on projects as an ICC. This is not considered full time work-it is a step on the road to employment.
These projects are short term, one to three days in length, there is no guarantee of consistent work. Every effort is made to accommodate all ICC's with regard to their abilities.
If you are interested in becoming an ICC please contact Leslie Wish, Program Coordinator for Consumer Involvement at 617-204-3771.
Become A Mentor with the VR-IL Mentoring Project!
Did you have someone who helped you when you were growing up? Could you have used a consistent, caring adult? Mentoring is an opportunity to help youth develop skills, knowledge and motivation to successfully transition from school to post-school activities. As an MRC consumer, you have the special experience and skills to help our youth succeed; become a mentor with Partners for Youth with Disabilities' (PYD) VR-IL Mentoring Project today!
Our matches meet once a month in person, communicate weekly via phone/email and make the commitment to an ongoing mentoring relationship of at least one year. PYD provides training, events and support.
To learn more about the program, contact:
Mentor Match Specialist
617.556.4075 x 18 (phone)
SAVE THE DATE
State Rehabilitation Council
DATE: Thursday, September 10, 2009
TIME: 10:30 A.M. - 2:30 P.M.
LOCATION: Holyoke Community College
Business and Community Services
303 Homestead Ave.
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
Please RSVP your attendance. If you need further assistance and other reasonable accommodations, please feel free to contact Emeka Nwokeji at (617) 204-3665.
Jeanie K. Schermesser, is a professional exhibiting artist. Jeanie also teaches, creates murals and free-lances in graphic design. She has a BFA in painting and print making from the Massachusetts College of Art and an AS in Media Arts from Greenfield Community College.
Are you an artist? Become our next Featured Artist; whether it be painting, drawing or writing poetry, submit your works to us via e-mail to
email@example.com or call Lisa Weber at
617-204-3638 for more information.
Elaine McHugh, Editor
MRC Staff Editors
Kasper Goshgarian, Deputy Commissioner
Emeka Nwokeji, Director, Consumer Involvement
Joan Phillips, Assistant Commissioner
Sheila Wojdakowski, HR/Customer Relations
Leslie Wish, ICC Program Coordinator
Lisa Weber, CI Program Coordinator
This newsletter is an independent publication sponsored by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC). The opinions expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the policy and practices of the MRC. They are solely the opinions of consumers of MRC programs and services.
For further information contact Emeka Nwokeji, Director of the Consumer Involvement Program, at 617-204-3665.
To receive the newsletter electronically, send an e-mail to
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.