Charles Carr, Commissioner, MRC
From the Editor's Desk
As I write to you today the weatherman predicts snow and colder than normal temperatures. Just the kind of news that does not bring a smile to my face as I am a warm weather person. Luckily in this edition of the Consumer's Voice we have an article by Girard Plante about Paralympics gold medalist Maureen McKinnon-Tucker. That should rekindle our memories of summer and bring a little warm weather to our winter gloom.
The terrible ice storm that hit our region before Christmas brought home the reality that people dependent on life support systems at home are vulnerable. We have adapted an article originally distributed by the Independent Living Resource Center in San Francisco, California. This article was intended to provide tips for sheltering safely in an earthquake. We made changes that will help you keep safe in weather emergencies common to our area.
As we are all making and possibly breaking our New Year's resolutions for better health the Patrick administration has launched a new website that may keep us on track with our own personal resolutions. Mass In Motion is a web site that will promote a broad range of wellness activities for Massachusetts residents, businesses and communities. We have included the full article and website address. Here's hoping this article will help us keep our New Year's resolutions.
Good news for PCAs! They have an approved contract in Massachusetts. Increased wages, health insurance and paid time off are some of the benefits included in the compensation package. For more specific information please read the article from the Cape Organization for the Rights of the Disabled (CORD).
In closing, I would like to introduce first time contributors to the Consumer's Voice: Maria Malaguti and Lucy Sacco. Lucy and Maria are women with hidden disabilities. They are working on a project to increase the awareness of hidden disabilities. Please read their articles and decide if you want to be involved with their project.
PATRICK ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES MASS IN MOTION
Commonwealth sets comprehensive plan to address overweight and obesity.
Just like millions of Massachusetts residents, state government and public health leaders are making a New Year's resolution for better health. The Patrick Administration announced the most comprehensive effort to date to address the serious problem of overweight and obesity in the Commonwealth. The state's top health leaders launched Mass In Motion, a multi-faceted effort that will promote a broad range of wellness activities for Massachusetts residents, businesses and communities. The announcement was made at the Body by Brandy Fitness Center, a Roxbury-based leader in promoting community health and wellness activities and programs.
While Massachusetts compares favorably to other states with respect to overweight and obesity, our rates are increasing more quickly than the nation as a whole. The Commonwealth has seen a 47% increase in overweight and obesity over the past two decades, compared to a national increase of 40%.
More than half of adults in our state are overweight or obese, as are one-third of our middle and high school students," said Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health and Human Services. "We know that being overweight and obese places us at a higher risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. Those conditions place enormous burdens on our residents and on our health care system, so it makes sense for us to focus on prevention. And that is what Mass In Motion is all about," Dr. Bigby said.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner John Auerbach said there is a sense of urgency to addressing the overweight and obesity epidemic in Massachusetts.
"The trends that we are seeing are troubling," said Auerbach. "Unless we make progress, overweight and obesity will overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in Massachusetts. That should get everyone's attention focused on the problem. This groundbreaking initiative will be the framework for us to work with our partners throughout the state to make progress towards solutions."
Mass In Motion is comprised of a number of policy and program elements, including:
The release of a report documenting the extent of the obesity epidemic in Massachusetts and its consequences. Grants to cities and towns to help municipal and community leaders establish wellness initiatives at the local level. The nearly $750,000 in grants will be competitively awarded and can be used by mayors and other department heads to support a number of local activities including providing healthier meals in schools, expanding the availability of farmers' markets or supermarkets in low income neighborhoods and designing community transportation systems that encourage walking and bike riding. More than $500,000 of the funding for these grants will come from several of the major health-funding foundations and organizations in the Commonwealth.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation
The Boston Foundation
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Foundation
The Metro West Health Foundation
The Tufts Health Care Foundation
The development and passage of public health regulations to promote healthy diet and exercise, including:
- Body Mass Index (BMI) testing of students in all public schools in the Commonwealth.
- Caloric menu labeling for large chain restaurants.
- An Executive Order by Governor Patrick requiring State Agencies responsible for large-scale food purchasing (e.g., DPH and DMH hospitals) to follow healthy nutritional guidelines in their food service operations. State purchases of food by these agencies runs into the tens of millions of dollars per year.
- The expansion of State-sponsored Workplace Wellness programs throughout the state to help employers create work sites that encourage healthy behaviors and reduce absenteeism and health insurance costs.
The launch of a state-sponsored Mass In Motion web site that promotes healthy eating and physical activity at home, work and in the community. The objective of the website is to provide simple, practical, cost-effective ways for Massachusetts residents to:
Improve eating habits
Increase physical activity
Ask experts questions about improving their eating and physical activity routine
Get involved in helping to build healthy communities
LD/ADHD Task Force
The LD/ADHD Task Force has identified outreach to the Independent Living Centers as one of their goals for the year 2009. MacArthur Williams from the Multicultural Independent Living Center of Boston (MILCB) attended to discuss services that are available for LD/ADHD consumers. Mr. Williams gave a brief summary of services that MILCB provides clients. All clients are offered peer mentoring, advocacy, skills training, support groups, information and referral services. Mr. Williams described how MILCB has been invited to schools and community programs to showcase the services that are available. When specifically asked what support MILCB would need to better serve LD/ADHD clients, Mr. Williams stated specific information about the client along with additional training and resources would help them provide services. Mr. Williams will be attending future LD/ADHD Task Force meetings.
Warren Magee discussed the MILCB peer group meetings held on the third Monday of every month for men, and the third Wednesday of each month for women. For more information about MILCB, please call (617) 288-9431 or go to their website www.milcb.org. Mr. Magee also extended an invitation to the State Independent Living Council (SILC) to become involved in the LD/ADHD meetings.
Joseph Panciotti will be attending the Unserved/Underserved meeting and will inquire about their involvement with LD/ADHD clients.
Angelica Sawyer and Jenna Knight will invite Senator Susan Tucker from Andover, Ma., to a future LD/ADHD meeting.
The minutes from the last meeting were accepted. There was discussion on updating the Task Force's goals and objectives. Secondly it was agreed they will be discussed at the next meeting. A member of the Task Force recently came across an article about the Canadian government helping to increase public awareness of LD/ADHD and developing support groups. Further discussion centered on the State Rehabilitation Council and the LD/ADHD task force annual report.
After a 10-month hiatus, the Unserved/Underserved Committee resumed meeting on Nov. 6, 2008. One important agenda item moving forward is a focus group project involving case closures and whether consumers were satisfied with their results. According to the original timeline the project was scheduled to end sometime this year, with a report coming out by fall. With the exception of meeting with the Commissioner, the project's schedule has been moved forward by one year. This means that the focus group will most likely be held in the spring, 2009, and the report completed by the fall.
State Rehabilitation Council Artists With Disabilities Task Force and Gateway Arts
Reprinted with permission from Julie Falsoni
The SRC-Artists With Disabilities Task Force is thrilled to have their artwork exhibited on the first floor of the Brookline Main Library in the Emory and Foundation Cases from November 2008 to January 2009. The Artists with Disabilities Task Force is a group of people from diverse disciplines working toward creating links between artists with disabilities and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. These links advance the goals of independence, self-support and professional development in the art world. Chairperson Lisa Corfman states: "As a group we don't focus on what holds us back, but use our disabilities as a tie that unites us, and makes us stronger individuals enabling us to do amazing things". Exhibiting artists include: Lisa Corfman, Diana Jenks, Cynthia Powell, Gregory S. Rogers, Leo V. Stronach and Cathy Thatcher. For more information please contact Lisa Weber at (617) 204-3638 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit their website http://awdtf.home.comcast.net.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission contracts to provide services for MRC consumers through Brookline's Gateway Arts at 62 Harvard St. Gateway Arts is a magical place filled with colorful crafts, contemplative and whimsical paintings and over 95 talented artists with disabilities learning a vocation while realizing their dreams. This unique, nonprofit service includes the Studio Program, The Gateway Crafts Store and The Gateway Gallery. Gateway Arts is a service of Vinfen Corporation, a nonprofit human services organization that provides a comprehensive array of services to individuals with psychiatric, developmental and behavioral disabilities. Vinfen serves more than 7,000 individuals in eastern Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.
Participating Gateway artists are: D.C. Foss, Miriam Moralez, Laurence Murphy, Cynthia Segal, Gabrielle Sichel, Jane Tarlow and Cameron Wilder.
I am originally from Ghana, West Africa. Currently I live in Cambridge, MA, with my wife and son. I lost my sight when I was a teen living in Ghana.
In the fall of 1992, I immigrated to the United States to attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. At Swarthmore, I majored in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. After graduating from Swarthmore, I chose Boston University for my graduate studies in Political Science and International Relations. I have an MA from Boston University and a BA from Swarthmore College.
I have primarily worked in Massachusetts, especially the Greater Boston area. I worked for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind (MAB) for seven years in different capacities. My last position at the MAB was as Regional Director for Western Mass. I was the MAB's Director of Communication Services and was the statewide Coordinator of MAB's Newsline Program. More recently, after working as a private Assistive Technology Consultant for about a year, I went to work for the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired as a Technological Services Specialist (TSS). My area of responsibility was Central New Jersey. I conducted assistive technology (AT) assessments of Vocational Rehabilitation clients and recommended appropriate AT devices and services they could use to achieve their vocational goals. I held that position until February 2008 when I resigned to assume my current position of MassMATCH Program Coordinator.
My current job is to coordinate the different aspects of the MassMATCH Program. In addition to our website www.massmatch.org which provides information about assistive technology resources in the Commonwealth, we also run other programs and services. Our GetATStuff website (www.getatstuff.org) is a place for people to list AT devices they need or want to sell/donate. We also have an email listserv through which we share AT related information with those on the list. My main goal is to disseminate to as many people as possible, information about the MassMATCH Program and all its components.
Paralympics Gold Medalist Maureen McKinnon-Tucker
The lofty goal to reach the Paralympics takes years before earning a spot on a team sport such as sailing. Just ask sailor Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, whose rigorous preparation and training for eight years won her a spot in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China.
Her Paralympics journey began in 2000 as she set sight on the sailing team for the 2004 Athens games. "I sailed with three different skippers in eight years," Maureen laughs. Enter sailor extraordinaire Nick Scandone. "We met in a regatta. He was well-known as a brilliant sailor." Nick, chosen United States Yachtsman of the Year in 2005, won many regional and national titles before being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 2003.
Although Maureen grew up on the North Shore in Lynn, the sailing bug never bit until she met boyfriend, Dan Tucker, who later became her husband and coach. "I never took sailing seriously until after my injury," said Maureen.
Maureen, 43, fell 18 feet off an ocean retaining wall in Rockland, Maine, in 1995. Prior to her injury, the perky paraplegic owned a flower shop on Boston's Newbury Street. She worked at her shop for a year and a half after her injury. "Sailing is a great opportunity. It's a cool challenge to learn and a big commitment." Training for the Paralympics is pretty daunting," said Maureen. To ready themselves for Beijing, the crewmates trained mostly in Newport Beach, Calif., explained Maureen: "The wind conditions are most similar to the Yellow Sea in the Port of Qingdao, which is 400 miles southeast of Beijing," where competitions were held.
Maureen's boat is an 18-foot SKUD, which means Skiff Universal Design. The boat is specifically designed for people with minimal upper-body mobility such as a sip-and-puff apparatus as well as joystick operated. "The boat is fast, fun and sporty," quipped Maureen. The SKUD costs $40,000 and is designed by Bethwait in Australia. Fundraisers provided the money for the boat and Maureen to get to Beijing.
While competing at the Paralympics, Maureen and Nick were required to race 11 times, but didn't know they won the gold medal by the ninth race. "It's a remarkable feat to win the regatta so early on," adds Maureen. "We sat out the final race because Nick's energy was spent." Nick had lost mobility during the races in September, and the boat was adjusted frequently to meet his physical needs.
Their gold medal victory proved bittersweet. Nick died Friday, Jan. 2, 2009 at his home in Fountain Valley, Calif. He was 42. "This goal of winning a gold medal gave my husband two more years of life," said Mary Kate Scandone.
"Sailing is a perfect sport for people with disabilities. It can be as fun as it is empowering," said Maureen. She's the full-time Adaptive Sailing Coordinator for Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston. Maureen also serves on the board of directors of the Greater Boston Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. For more information about sailing, go to www.piersparksailing.org.
But You Look Okay
I began my association with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) in 1999 after I had been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. It is a controversial and often misdiagnosed disease.
The barriers I have encountered over the past 10 years have been many. With the assistance of my excellent counselor Karen Andrade and the staff at the Plymouth MRC office, I have been able to accomplish each goal that I have set: starting my business "2 Princes Design," moving to my current home in Northampton and becoming an advocate for other consumers. In June 2008 I became an official vendor for the MRC, with the intention of helping other consumers to navigate the system, as well as offering my services as a graphic designer. I am now a member of the Western MA Artists with Disabilities Task Force, and am working on a project with another consumer to raise awareness for hidden disabilities.
Recently I was unable to work due to a necessary treatment for Chronic Lyme. The treatment left me as sick and weak as the first year of the disease, and I am having difficulty getting the treatment I need to speed my recovery. However, I am better able to cope with the symptoms because of my past experience. My struggle to get appropriate treatment takes much of my time and energy which I would prefer to devote to my business. I know with appropriate treatment I can have a much better quality of life. My biggest challenge is to balance all of this activity with the need to have (at the very least) a supplementary income, or (at best) an income that would preclude the need for public assistance.
I often hear well intended comments such as "but you look okay" or "you are looking good you must feel better!" But no one can see what level of pain I am feeling, or the neurological symptoms that make every day tasks difficult. And the misperception is shared not only by those who are not disabled, but by doctors, counselors and other members of the disabled community. I have even been met with hostility, "You're not disabled!"
This experience has led me to develop a project along with Lucy Sacco (Chairperson of the Western MA Artists with Disabilities Task Force/MRC Consumer), to raise awareness for hidden disabilities. As an initial step in our research we would like to be contacted by other consumers with hidden disabilities. If you are willing to share your experiences and the nature of your condition, we would like to use the data to compile an informational brochure and perhaps a presentation to educate and raise awareness concerning hidden disabilities.
If you are interested in participating in this project please contact me: Maria Malaguti, email@example.com
Several years ago I survived a stroke. Before my stroke I was a multi-tasker. I was enthusiastic, bright and able to do anything I set my mind to. After my stroke, I suffered from impaired vision, pain, and an auditory deficit making the reception, processing and interpretation of information challenging on a daily basis. Information that should take seconds to understand interferes with my social, professional, and emotional life.
Since my stroke, there have been many challenges caused by permanent residual deficits. My marriage ended. I have moved several times due to financial hardship and lost jobs. I thought that because I looked O.K. that I should just PRETEND that I was O.K. The important change for me came when I accepted that I was struggling and I needed to reach out for help. I developed a team of support people that included an MRC vocational counselor, therapist, lawyer, neurologist and case workers for Social Security and Transitional Assistance.
I was honest with myself and others. I advocated for myself daily. This was a difficult process, because of my deficits. I was required to accept my limitations. Upon realizing my losses, I also realized that I now have an opportunity to help others.
The Artists with Disability Task Force allows me to practice my social/ career skills, and provides me with an opportunity to support others in moving forward despite their disabilities. I am attending school, developing my own business and I established and was elected chairperson for the Western Regional Artists with Disabilities Task Force. I am the mother of three teenage children who respect me and are very well adjusted.
Together with Maria Malaguti, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), I will be producing a brochure that will help individuals and counselors understand many of the hardships involved with hidden disabilities.
Employment NOW Coalition
For the benefit of new readers what follows is a general description of the Employment NOW Coalition. The mission of the Employment NOW Coalition is to increase employment opportunities and awareness for Massachusetts residents with disabilities. The group was formed in the spring of 2008.
The Employment NOW Coalition members include people with disabilities, policy makers, and state agency employees. Also included are representatives from advocacy groups and other professional organizations. The Coalition will work with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and other policy makers to ensure implementation and full compliance with the employment goals of The Olmstead Plan.
Our initial projects included the transition from adolescence to adulthood, CORI reform legislation, making the state a model employer, and the promotion of self-employment.
The Coalition is working to identify existing barriers in employment. Combining our efforts with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Task Force on Employment the Coalition will develop solutions, strategies and practices to reduce and eliminate barriers to the employment of people with disabilities.
Our current initiative is to work with the EOHHS to create a centralized method for providing tools to accommodate disabled state employees in the workforce. The Coalition is developing outreach presentations, targeted mailings, phone trees, and other methods to broaden communication.
During our meeting held in January 2009, the Employment NOW Coalition was presented with a system that will allow the Coalition to be more organized. At our next meeting, discussion will begin regarding the development and drafting of a charter for the Coalition.
For further information contact: Jim Lyons, Northeast Independent Living Program (978) 687-4288 V/TTY,(978) 687-4288 V/TTY, Fax (978) 689-448, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gentleman "Retires"
On Thursday, January 15, 2009, 60 or so brave souls gathered to have lunch at Phillips Old Colony Restaurant on Morrissey Boulevard in Boston. They came together on that frigid day to celebrate a commitment to public service. Melvin V. Ritter exemplifies that commitment.
Many attending were from the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. They came from as close as the University of Massachusetts, Boston and as far away as Washington, DC. They gathered to have lunch, remember old times, and to celebrate Mel Ritter's career in public service.
In his welcoming statement, Bill Cashman noted that Mr. Ritter's career began 42 years ago. Mr. Ritter started his career in his mid 40's.
Mr. Ritter has known and served eight (8) presidents. In 1992 Mr. Ritter was selected by President George H. W. Bush as a delegate to the International Conference in the Vatican City. Mr. Ritter currently serves on the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's State Rehabilitation Council and is a past co-winner of the Defense Contract Management Agency East District Disability Employee of the Year. He also serves on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor's Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities.
Recent projects of Mr. Ritter's:
Coordinated a video for the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
Deal with providers who help people with severe disabilities obtain employment in competitive mainstream companies.
Worked on "Everybody Needs a Buddy Sometimes" which shows how to evacuate employees with a disability from high rise buildings.
"Untapped Resource" which showed people with disabilities in competitive employment in the workplace.
Awards received for forty plus years of public service were presented by Steve Bogusr, Kim Appleton, Anita Boush and Loretta Haley. They include:
Framed personal letter from President George W. Bush
Citation from Governor Deval Patrick
Governor's Commission for Employment of People with Disabilities Special Recognition Award (1995)
Defense Logistics Agency's Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year (1984).
Mr. Ritter's future plans are to consult and advocate.
PCA Contract Approved
Cape Organization for the Rights of the Disabled (CORD), reprinted with permission.
This fall, PCA's approved by an overwhelming margin the first ever PCA contract in Massachusetts. PCA's can look forward to increased wages, paid time off and the possibility of health insurance. Some of the highlights are:
A pay increase to $11.60 an hour scheduled to go into effect late January 2009. This increase will be retroactive to July 1, 2008. PCA's can expect the retroactive checks within the first few months of 2009.
Wages will increase to $12 an hour on July 1, 2009 and to $12.48 an hour on July 1, 2010.
Money has been allocated by the state for paid time off. The union is hoping for a federal match. Details on how to implement the paid time off benefit have not yet been determined.
A study group has been formed to determine how health insurance may be provided. PCAs should watch for more news from the union around June.
PCA's must pay union dues. PCA's who don't want to join the union must pay an agency service fee which is equal to the dues. Union dues are 2% of each paycheck. PCA's who work for more than one consumer will have dues taken from more than one paycheck. The minimum dues per pay period are $6.50 and the maximum is $18.00. PCA's that end up paying more than the maximum because they work for more than one consumer can get the excess returned from the union. Consumers should not be affected by this contract with the exception that it may be easier to find and keep PCA's. This contract is aligned with Massachusetts law that states consumers have the right to hire, fire, train and schedule their PCA's. The union cannot interfere with this relationship. Both the contract and Massachusetts law prohibit PCA's from going on strike.
For more information on the contract, contact the union at 1-877-409-PCAS.
Emergency Tips for People Who Use Life Support Systems (dialysis, respirator, oxygen, suction, intravenous pump or infusion therapy)
Developed and distributed by the Independent Living Resource Center, San Francisco, 70 10th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, in cooperation with June Kailes, through a grant from The American Red Cross, Northern California Disaster Preparedness Network.
This fact sheet is designed to provide a checklist for people who use Life Support Systems to improve emergency preparedness. Preparation does take time and effort. So, do a little at a time, as your energy and budget permit. The important thing is to start preparing. The more you do the more confident you will be that you can protect yourself, your family and your belongings.
Secure any life support equipment to prevent damage from falling.
If you use a chain to secure equipment, make sure it is welded.
Determine which facilities/providers would serve you in the event that your home system becomes inoperable or your provider is unable to provide you service.
Discuss with your vendor alternative power sources that will provide you with support for up to five to seven days.
Could you use a generator? What type?
Could you use manually operated equipment?
Can your equipment be powered from a vehicle battery?
If yes, obtain necessary hardware for the hook-up.
Obtain a Generator
Obtain a generator, if appropriate and feasible. To run generators in an emergency, fuel must be safely stored. Generators need to be operated in an open area to ensure good ventilation. A 2,000 to 2,500-watt gas-powered portable generator can power a refrigerator and several lamps. (A refrigerator needs to run only 15 minutes an hour to stay cool if you keep the door closed. So, you could unplug it to operate a microwave or other appliance.)
For 24-hour use over several days, a gasoline-powered generator is probably the preferred alternative power source. A generator does not take the same vigilance as storing batteries, although it still needs to be tested periodically to make sure it will be operable when needed. The challenge with generators comes when you live in an apartment and have to figure out how to store an adequate gasoline supply safely. Store a siphon kit if you need to obtain gasoline from a vehicle. Some generators can be plugged into house wiring systems. It is important to first consult your utility company before you plug a generator into house wiring.
Check with your provider to determine whether a reduced flow rate may be used in the event of a disaster to prolong the life of the system. Record on your equipment the reduced flow numbers so that you can easily refer to them. Be keenly aware of oxygen safety; avoid areas where gas leaks or open flames may be present.
Post "Oxygen in Use" signs.
Keep the shut-off switch for oxygen equipment near you so you can get to it quickly in case of emergency.
Regular Test Backup
If your power backup system relies on storing batteries, be aware of the disadvantage. Stored batteries require periodic charging even when they are unused. So, if your survival strategy depends on storing batteries, a battery charging routine will have to be followed.
Regularly check back-up or alternative power equipment to ensure it will function during an emergency.
Know the working duration of any batteries that support your system.
Discuss with your power company the type of back up power you plan to use and get their advice.
Utility Company Registry
Register with your local utility company if this service is available in your community. Many utility companies maintain a list and map of your location in the event of an emergency. Contact the customer service department for additional information.
In order to restore power as soon as possible to those who need it most, many utility companies have a list of names of people dependent on powered life support systems and tag their meters. In some instances, this list is prioritized by the time a person is able to tolerate being off a life support system. Information is given to local power stations. Registering for this service may also qualify you for a discount rate. NEVER COUNT ON YOUR POWER BEING QUICKLY RESTORED.
Personal Support Network (PSN)
Inform your PSN how to operate and safely move your equipment if necessary.
Label equipment. Add instruction cards. Laminate instruction cards for added durability. Attach to equipment.
__________ Secure Equipment.
__________ Maintain current list of Alternate Providers.
__________ Obtain Alternate Power source.
__________ Obtain a Generator.
__________ Oxygen Users.
__________ Regularly Test and Back Up power supply.
__________ Register with Utility Company.
__________ Teach your PSN to operate/ move equipment.
Update on the Consumer Conference
The Consumer Involvement Program and the Annual Consumer Conference Planning Committee are thrilled to announce the 28th Annual Consumer Conference. The Conference will be held June 18, 2009 at Northeastern University.
We are planning for a full day of workshops, networking events, luncheon speakers and vendors. There are tentative plans to include an all day job fair. Conference participants will have the opportunity to meet with potential employers. These are employers who have committed to working with individuals with disabilities.
Any Conference plans are contingent on continued funding. We are expecting to mail out registration materials in April. Please contact Lisa Weber, Program Coordinator, at (617) 204-3638 or email@example.com if you have any questions
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) have an ongoing need for people who can provide physical assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) at conferences and council meetings. These individuals, who shall be contracted to provide the ADLs and IADLs at SRC meetings and Consumer Conference, may be referred to as Personal Care Attendants (PCA) and/or referred to as Personal Assistant Services (PSA) at such settings. For more information please contact Emeka Nwokeji at 617-204-3665.
Save the Date
State Rehabilitation Council
Thursday, March 12, 2009
10:30 am-3:30 pm
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
27 Wormwood St.
Boston, Ma. 02210
Federation for Children with Special Needs/Visions of Community 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
7:30 am - 5 pm
Seaport World Trade Center
Boston, Ma. 02210
http://www.fcsn.org (617) 236-7210 (800) 331-0688
Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts
Sunday, March 29, 2009
10 am -5 pm
"Carson Place" the Bayside Expo Center
180 Mt. Vernon Street
Boston, Ma. 02125
Contours of Inclusion
Friday, May 15, 2009
Day long conference
University of Massachusetts, Boston Student Center
Contact the Education Department at VSA Arts of Massachusetts (617) 350-7713 (voice) (617) 350-6836 (TTY)
True Meaning Jewelry
These beautiful and unique handmade bracelets are crafted by special needs artisans living and working at New England Village. They are available with custom engraving and many of our designs incorporate sterling silver and Swarovski crystal beading. Our jewelry line includes: Special Olympics Bracelets, Badge and Eyeglass Holders, Necklaces and Earrings, Graduation Bracelets and Awareness Bracelets (e.g., Autism and Down Syndrome).
For more information or to purchase True Meaning Jewelry please contact Cheryl Bleakney: Phone: (781) 447-4413 ext. 118, Fax: (781) 447-4415, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New England Village
15 Commercial Way
Hanson, MA 02341
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.
In the Western Region contact Lucy Sacco at 413-442-9629 or e-mail Lsacco2@nycap.rr.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.