From the Editor’s Desk
Elaine McHugh

Welcome to the summer edition of the Consumer’s Voice.

I am pleased to share some exciting news with you; the Consumer Involvement Program (CI), part of the Community Living Division of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, has been awarded the Commissioner’s Award.  The Commissioner’s Award is given to employees and/or programs that show excellence in their daily work.

I have been a part of the CI team since 2007.  It has been a privilege to work with dedicated people who promote a team approach and challenge each other to produce the highest quality work.  The Consumer Involvement Team looks forward to accepting their award from Commissioner Charles Carr on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at the Hoagland Pincus Center in Shrewsbury, MA.

In this issue we have chosen to shine a spot light on our Individual Consumer Consultants (ICC).   Our featured ICC is Sarah Foster.  Please read Sarah’s article on her experience as an ICC.

ICC’s are consumers who choose to work and increase their job ready skills.  There is an application process; the work is temporary and not meant to replace full or part time work.  Interested?  Contact Leslie Wish at 617-204-3771.

We also have poetry from a new contributor Donald Summerfield and from Donna De Guglielmo who contributes on a regular basis.

Girard Plante returns with another interesting article in his “Did you know” series.

We are always looking for contributors to the Consumer’s Voice if you have an article you would like to share please contact the Editor Elaine McHugh at 617-204-3665.

Appointment of Rosalie Edes, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Policy and Programs
John W. Polanowicz, Secretary

I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Rosalie Edes as assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Policy and Programs. Rosalie is a well-respected leader who brings more than 30 years of experience in health and human services to this position. Her personal connection to and deep knowledge of disability policy will help strengthen the services we provide to our most vulnerable populations.

Rosalie, whose son was born with Down syndrome, has a passion for enhancing disability services for all people. As assistant secretary, she will focus on ensuring high quality community-based services for children and adults with disabilities. Since 2009, Rosalie has served as deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Policies and Programs at HHS, coordinating more than $2 billion in long term care, rehabilitation and employment services. During this time, she was a key player in the development of the community based Medicaid waiver programs, advanced family support initiatives and she represented HHS on the statewide Autism Commission.

Prior to working with HHS, Rosalie served as executive director of Minute Man ARC for Human Services, overseeing a significant expansion of the agency. She also served for 10 years at the Department of Public Health’s Division for Special Health Care Needs. There she served as director of family and community supports, developing policies for the state’s early intervention and parent leadership program and the Family TIES parent-to-parent network. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Barnard College at Columbia University and advanced degrees in Counseling & School Psychology from Fitchburg State University and Anna Maria College.

Please join me in congratulating Rosalie on her new position.

Citation for Outstanding Performance Awards
Charles Carr, Commissioner

It gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s winners of the Citation for Outstanding Performance Awards and the Commissioner’s Awards. There were many great nominations and the following individuals and teams were selected by the Awards Selection Committee as “above and beyond” in their performance and contributions to the MRC and the consumers we serve.

Citation for Outstanding Performance Awards:

  • Bethany English, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, VR Milford Area Office
  • Jennifer McNary, Unit Supervisor, VR Pittsfield/North Adams
  • Marketing Strategic Team, all Divisions:
    • Dan Craven, Graham Porell, Jo Davis, Julie Proud Ray, Alan Green, Joseph Reale, Vernessa Harris, Drew Ritter, Aja James, Alison Scher, Gerry Lewinter, Peter Skarinka, Diane Long, Maryellen Sullivan, Cheryl Marrewa, Teresa Walsh, Daniela Trammel * Director of Project, Joy McMahon , Lisa Weber             
  • MRC Springfield Job Club Team VR Springfield Area Office
    • Kristen Blackmer, Theresa Hodur, Laurel Crommett, Victor Marques, Donna Demers, Tara Raymond, Ruth Dresser, Denise Ridley, Susan Emerson, Alexander Verbun, Paula Euber
  • Christine Webster, Vocational Disability Examiner, DDS, Boston
  • Linda Wiggins, Administrative Supervisor, VR Roxbury Area Office

Commissioner’s Awards:

  • Tammy Barrett, Bookkeeper, VR Plymouth Area Office
  • Tracie Bianco, Unit Supervisor, VR Brookline Area Office
  • Consumer Involvement Program Staff, Community Living
    • Emeka Nwokeji, Director, Theresa Casey, Elaine McHugh, Leslie Wish, Lisa Weber
  • Ludwige Desrosiers, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, VR Brockton Area Office
  • Sokheang Hong, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, VR Salem Area Office
  • Betty Maher, Director, Home Care Assistance Program, Community Living
  • MRCIS Implementation Team, VR, AO and EHS
  • Ann Ahearn, Radha Karipeddi, Peter Allard, Yuka Langlais, Vijay Bezawada, Anthony Longo, Andrea Blinn, Neil McNeil, Robert Brennan, Kenneth Nicosia, Marie Callahan, William Noone, Rachel Chapman, Ildelisa Ortiz, Benny Chan, Joan Phillips, Brenda Clark, Graham Porell, Kevin Collins, Fabienne Renelien, Marisol Colon, Micael Roussos, Kristine Drea, Donald Sarkady, Marcel Dube, James Sarno, Andrew Gilson, Alison Scher, Linda Gralenski, Teresa Walsh, James Higgins, Linda Wiggins, Mitchell Zahn
  • Pilot Project for Electronic Authorizations, DDS, Boston and Worcester
    • William Adamson, Paulina Mauras, Lynn Albert, Patty Millos, Sonja Alexander, Laura O’Leary, Rodney Araujo, Melissa Paglia-Hurley, Patricia Cody, Tienchai Phongkanphay, Gina Dell’Olio, Melissa Powers, Carrie Dougherty, Maria Anderson-Richmond, Steve Galloway, Lisa Rooney, Diane Gantman, Elise Simpson, Charles Gelardi, Carl Taylor, Stephanie Klink, Debra Visocchi, Jennifer Kruzewski, Kristen Kwiatkowski, Maria Anderson Richmond, Alternate Supervisor, Unit 11, DDS, Worcester
  • Gail Santacroce, Paralegal/Office Manager, Legal Department, AO
  • Michele Slade-Moore, Clerk IV/Bookkeeper, Roxbury Area Office
  • Vanessa Sullivan, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Brockton Area Office
  • Wendy Wilkin, Head Clerk, DHU, DDS, Boston

Congratulations to all the Award winners and thank you to all those who were nominated for the valuable work you do and dedication you have to the mission of the MRC. Your contributions are appreciated. We will be recognizing the Award winners at an MRC Awards Ceremony on May 28th at the Hoagland Pincus Center in Shrewsbury.

I would like to thank the Selection Committee for their time and diligence in reviewing and recommending the award winners. The committee was cross divisional and included:

Cheryl Marrewa (VR)
Myra Terry (VR)
Elaina Cardullo (VR)
Cindy Wentz (CL)
Maria King-Bynoe (CL)
Maryellen Sullivan (CL)
Maria Anderson Richmond (DDS)
Michael DiPietro (DDS)
Melissa Paglia-Hurley (DDS)

Education Day at the State House
Emeka Nwokeji, Director, Consumer Involvement

Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts serviced by the 11 Independent Living Centers (ILC) and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission spent half the day at the State House on March 21, 2013.

This was the Massachusetts Annual Independent Living Education Day and a very special event.  It is the day people who use the services and programs of the Independent Living Centers and the MRC program services visit their respective State Representatives and Senators at their State House offices.

I am proud to report that over 160 individuals from all corners of the State participated fully in educating their State Representatives and Senators on adequate funding of the Independent Living Programs and the MRC statewide programs.

Among all the important messages shared with Representatives and Senators, one message resonated heavily; was the need for an additional $1.1 million dollars for the 11 Independent Living Centers.  This additional funding will allow the ILC’s to assist more than 100 people annually to get out of nursing homes.  The projected savings is $20,000 per person in one year.  It is important to know that the ILC’s have been level funded for many years as the number of consumers seeking services has steadily increased.  Other cost increases are exhibited by the increased need for community services, systems advocacy, outreach efforts, and assisting hundreds of job seekers in partnership with the MRC.

The MRC-State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) which is created to advise the MRC is a proud co-host of this educational day.  The day was galvanized by wonderful, motivational speeches from MRC Commissioner, Charles Carr and the SRC Chair Nicholas Kaltsas.  The SRC took a pronounced stand to support the theme of educating the legislators on adequately funding the services of the ILC and the MRC Statewide Head Injury and MRC Home Care Assistance Program (HCAP) and vocational rehabilitation program services.  In addition, the SRC highlighted through its advocacy position to provide the Secretary of the Social Security Administration the rationale to continue to fund the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance Program (WIPA).  The WIPA program, administered by  MRC-Project Impact since 2006, served over 3,500 individuals receiving benefits planning services.  The MRC Vocational Rehabilitation Program assisted over 3,600 citizens with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment in the past year.

The Annual Independent Living Education Day at the State House was well received by the State Legislators. Over 10 House Representatives and 6 Senators addressed a crowded Hall of Flags.  We will do this again, during the State budget development time frame.

MRC Home Care Program
Sue Coughlin

I am a grateful recipient of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s Home Care Assistance Program.

This is an extremely vital and cost-effective program. I have multiple disabilities (neurologic, neuro-muscular, vision, cardiac and/or vascular, pain and fatigue, etc.). I was too proud to request services until my back injury and I have been fortunate to receive services since then.  My conditions wax and wane but I know on days I cannot get out of bed, there will be someone there to contact or who checks on me.  I believe the program is life saving. I had been diagnosed with System Lupus disease and the added strain of housekeeping chores or shopping could cause exacerbations.  I have already undergone 30 chemotherapy treatments.

On many days, the homemaker would come and I would have absolutely no energy, I could hardly remain awake.  She would clean, do laundry, make some meals and make sure I remembered to take my medications. The homemaker would tell the agency who in turned called me later to make sure I was ok.  I could have been in a postictal state, suffer a TIA or stroke.  Consequences of not having homemaker service can be dire.

Having a clean home is important so I do not get infections and again cause exacerbations or other complications. Having clean laundry is a public health issue because we do not want to be transporting bacteria and the like to the public. Being nourished and living a healthy lifestyle is proven to reduce health care costs and hospitalizations.

I am a volunteer advocate on the MRC Home Care Assistance Advisory Committee. I am greatly concerned and near terrified about budget cuts and how it will affect the consumers the MRC Home Care Assistance Program serves. The committee chair has previously cited the following...
MRC's Home Care Assistance Program is a very vital and cost-effective program. If the program is forced to make any reductions in its budget, this would mean the wait-list may have to be implemented again. This is the only thing that is left to be considered. As you can see from the information below, of those who need and requested the services of MRC's Home Care Assistance Program, but are not able to yet get them; 57% are in worse health and 57% have been hospitalized between 2 and 120 days. The average being 36 days. This is very costly to the Commonwealth.

Also, some consumers are falling more, found unconscious or malnourished.  Many of those waiting for services are depressed because they can't clean their apartments or clothes.  They are forced to live in unhealthy conditions.  It is unconscionable that the Commonwealth is willing to pay the high cost of an average hospital stay for 36 days per person, which could be over $10,000 per day or $360,000 and not willing to pay the cheaper cost of $3,000 per year per person for Home Care Assistance Program Services.  Consider how much money could be saved!

The $360,000 that the state pays for 1 person to stay in the hospital could be better used to service 120 consumers who need Home Care Assistance Program Services.  These consumers are those between 22 and 62 years of age, many of whom fall between the cracks. There is a huge gap in service for this demographic. These consumers are trying to work and remain independent, productive taxpaying members of society.
Please consider the most vulnerable and the statistics when you make budget cuts. Consider the consequences.

I wish I could attend in person but my condition will not allow at this time. Please feel free to contact me with questions regarding this matter. Thank you for your consideration.

Individual Consumer Consultants (ICC)

In this issue we introduce Sarah Foster. Sarah is an experienced office assistant who has excellent computer and communication skills.  Sarah’s expertise in organization is widely recognized and she is often called upon to assist staff with projects that require her special knowledge.

She is a graduate of Katharine Gibbs School and has certificates in MS Office 2003 and 2007.  In the past Sarah has volunteered with the Crittenton Women’s Union, assisting the Director of Innovation and Outcomes Department with clerical duties from March 2010 until December 2012; The Museum of Science, in the Membership Department printing membership cards for distribution; and the Red Cross, in the Volunteer Resources Department doing data entry.

Sarah has been an ICC for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission since 2006. Most recently, Sarah has worked for the Consumer Involvement  Program (CI) performing records management and the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) as an archivist  scanning documents. Sarah is currently working one day per week as a Case Aide for the Brookline and Somerville MRC offices.

Do you have an interest in becoming an ICC? Please contact Leslie Wish at 617-204-3771 or e-mail

A Thankful Individual Consumer Consultant
Sarah Foster

I have been an ICC since 2006 and have been working on a regular basis for the past two years.  I am always happy to hear from Leslie Wish, the ICC Program Coordinator, when he calls to ask if I am available to work.  

Beginning with basic clerical work such as preparing The Consumer’s Voice for mailing, I advanced to clerical duties using my computer skills and updating Emeka Nwokeji’s filing system.  I worked alongside Elaine McHugh who is very supportive and a good role model.  Emeka would often challenge me to do work I didn’t think I was capable of.  When I complete each assignment, I get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  In my opinion, Emeka sees the strengths of each consumer he works with and has confidence in our abilities.  He encourages us to advocate for ourselves.  He has given me the opportunity to serve on two committees; the Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Committee and the Consumer Satisfaction Survey Committee.  I am encouraged to express my opinion.  I have been told by MRC committee members that it is important to get the consumers’ ideas.  I have more confidence knowing that my opinion counts.

In February 2012, I was asked to work for a BICSS program coordinator as an assistant during the move from South Boston to downtown Boston.  I archived and scanned files, organized and packed boxes.  The BICSS program coordinator is supportive and shares her knowledge of MRC as well as being a kind and generous person.

In addition, I am currently working as a Case Aide for the Brookline and Somerville MRC offices.  I have been assisting two Vocational Counselors, one in Brookline and the other in Somerville.  I interviewed with the Area Director of the Brookline office and the Area Director of the Somerville office, the two vocational counselors and their supervisors.  I thought of my several years of experience and accomplishments as an ICC and answered the questions honestly and with confidence.  My hard work for the Consumer Involvement Program and BISCSS gave me the experience and confidence I needed to be hired for the Case Aide position.  I now work for MRC as an ICC for 16 hours a week.

I am fortunate and thankful to be working for MRC as an Individual Consumer Consultant.  I would like to express my gratitude to Emeka for challenging me to work to my full potential and for giving consumers, as a whole, the opportunity to work.  I believe the Individual Consumer Consultant program enables consumers to grow and develop confidence in their abilities to work and increase self esteem.

High Tech Home Health Care

A new technology may be the start of a larger trend in home health services.

VideoCare is a two way video connection that provides communication resources for, elders who choose to age in place, allowing families and case managers to connect on a more regular basis.

Most seniors do not take advantage of or feel comfortable using technology. However, VideoCare technology does not require a keyboard, mouse or any technical skills.  Primarily touch screen based, Video Care is easy to learn and encourages interaction between seniors, their friends and family.  The system management is handled remotely by care managers and family members allowing access to medical appointments and medication schedules.  The system can also be connected to wireless medical devices such as blood pressure units or weight scales.  

Social connection is an important factor keeping seniors and others in good health.  The ability to share video, pictures and web content allows more frequent family interaction.  VideoCare technology lessens the sense of isolation so often felt by those who are limited in their ability to travel independently.


Partners for Youth with Disabilities
Steve Slowinski

Brighdin was frustrated. She had graduated from the Threshold Program at Lesley University in the spring of 2008, but she was having a lot of trouble taking that next step and getting a job. She was living independently in Cambridge and she had been searching for a job since high school, but try as she might, she just couldn't get hired.

Brighdin was already working with a job coach through the MRC Somerville office, and he was very helpful in finding Brighdin  job opportunities and helping her navigate the job application process.  But when that wasn’t enough, when the rejections and challenges kept piling up, she reached out to the Mentor Match program for additional support.

Mentor Match is a one-to-one mentoring program that has served youth with disabilities since 1985. The program is free of charge to participants, and it is open to any youth with a disability between the ages of six and 24 who live within the 128-belt surrounding Boston. Over the course of at least one year, matches meet in person for at least four to six hours a month, and are in touch on a weekly basis by phone or email.

Since 2005, the Mentor Match program has been working with Mass Rehab to help youth make a successful transition to adulthood and gain employment. At the moment, there are 55 transition-aged, MRC-eligible youth that have been matched with mentors, helping them work toward job-related goals. Many of these youth, like Brighdin, have benefited from receiving personal support and advice from an outside mentor. Sometimes you just need a friend to listen to you vent, or to offer advice on which blouse or tie looks best!

In 2011, Brighdin was matched with Sarah, a young professional working in the Cambridge area. Sarah has been there for Brighdin through all the ups and downs, offering emotional support and friendly advice through her job search. Early in 2013, Brighdin finally was hired full-time by a local youth daycare; it’s a dream job for her, as she’s always wanted to work with kids. She and Sarah met to celebrate, and to discuss Brighdin’s next life goal: finding a boyfriend!

If you are interested in the Mentor Match program, you can find more information on it at You can also call 617-556-4075 x18, or email

The AT Exchange in New England

The AT (assistive technology) exchange is MassMatch’s free AT device exchange program.  The Equipment Exchange is similar to a “want ad” where pre-owned AT is listed in order to put people looking for AT in contact with sellers or donators.  The Equipment Exchange is an opportunity to re-sell or buy AT for a lower cost than new items; such as,
•daily living aids

To buy, donate or sell used AT, call the toll free MassMATCH INFO-line at: 1-866-682-9955, or 1-617-204-3851 (V) or 617-204-3851(TDD)

Or visit the website at:

Did You Know
Girard A. Plante

Understanding how letters and whole words are printed onto paper using various formats and machines in the publishing of books is as remarkable as it is intriguing.  Yet when we consider the numerous formats in the printing of books for people who are blind, the entire printing process is even more fascinating.  

In learning how a blind person is able to read and write, it’s instructive to provide a glimpse into the lengthy and complicated history of printing and publishing books for the blind. The accurate word to describe reading by the blind is “tactile,” which means using the fingertips to touch a raised surface.    

Although teachers devised crude methods for their blind students as early as the 16th century, embossing letters to create words and sentences on paper was the earliest format that produced the first book read by the blind.  In 1786, Valentin Hauy, who established the world’s first school for the blind in Paris, created the special printing type that formed raised letters.  

In 1835, Boston Line Type was developed by Samuel Gridley Howe, director of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA.  Howe, the husband of Julia Ward Howe, believed in his method of a compact embossed alphabet better than any other available formats in the United States and Europe.  Howe hired printer Stephen Preston Ruggles, who built a more efficient press that would produce books for people with blindness for the next 47 years.  

Eleven years before Howe’s superb press was realized, 15-year-old Louis Braille, a student at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, created the Braille system.  Dots made life easier for the tactile reader as opposed to raised letter types.  Braille improved his unique system over the next several years, which included a notation for music.  

The methods of raised letters were not ideal for every teacher or blind person.  According to Jan Seymour-Ford, the current Librarian at the Perkins Research Library, “Largely, teachers for the blind were not blind themselves. The systems being created were convenient for teachers because it was easier for them.”     

Efficiency and economics outweighed other attempts by American and European innovators to create the superior method of printing of books for the blind.  Raised alphabets, for example, did not present a practical writing system for the blind.  To tactile readers, the method proved difficult and many students could not use it proficiently.  “It was disempowering because the blind person could not jot down a grocery list or correspond to a blind friend,” Seymour-Ford emphasized.   

As a result, Louis Braille’s dot system grew more popular in Europe.  By 1860, the braille system was introduced to the Missouri School for the Blind.  At the same time, the New York Institution for the Blind stopped using raised print.  Braille had become the preferred choice in Missouri and Europe.  

But educators in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia did not buy into that format.  Reading and writing materials for the blind continued with still more inventions.  And another battle between Americans and the British over a single new and superior system raged for nearly six decades. “The competing systems were awful for blind people because they had to learn to read lots of systems,” Seymour-Ford said.  

Finally, in 1916, a group of educators got together in the spirit of quelling the inherent complications and problems for English readers.  Helen Keller, who was both deaf and blind, used her international influence as the leading advocate for people with disabilities of the time and wrote a letter to the group persuading them to select Braille as a uniform format.  “Teachers and professionals decided that Braille would be the best standard format.  It was the most compact in terms of space.  Braille is now used everywhere in the world,” Seymour-Ford explained.  

The National Braille Press, the oldest Braille publishing house in New England, has published books and other publications in Boston since 1927.  In 2007, NBP pressed 15 million pages utilizing state of the art translation software and computer-driven equipment. The final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was circulated in Braille at the same time as the printed version. The NBP printed 1,400 editions – nearly 800 more copies than its normal print run for a book.  “This is the largest press run we’ve ever done for a book,” said Diane Croft, Publisher
for the National Braille Press.             

Bob Hachey, current board member and past president of the Bay State Council of the Blind, and a longtime Braille transcriber, adds that mainstream publishers can make life easier for the blind. “The biggest thing publishers can do to make their books accessible for people with blindness is to produce the published books in a standardized format that will read as text on a computer screen.”      

The Perkins School for the Blind has a vast library of books with the latest technology, which is improving the lives of people with blindness and other disabilities.  In 2008, Perkins began phasing out books recorded on cassette tapes and recorders in favor of a digital cartridge with machines that are compact and simpler. Currently, Kentucky-based American Printing House for the Blind is the world’s largest Braille textbook manufacturer, and the oldest company of its kind in the United States.  

For more information about American Printing House for the Blind, visit         
For more information about the National Braille Press, go to
To learn more about the history of blindness, go to
The National Library Service, in Washington, D.C., provides braille and audio materials to people with sight impairments and physical disabilities.  The NLS is administered by the Library of Congress.  See  

Red Sox Therapy
Donna De Guglielmo

A big part of my life and healing process is faith.  My intuition led me to a few techniques to help me heal.

I lost my visual memory after experiencing a stroke.  I could not even visualize my own brother.  For many years, I could think and remember him, but not remember what he looked like. This depressed and frustrated me. Also, my background was in architecture and interior design and I relied on visual memory.

I prayed about it and I wanted to help myself heal. One day it came to me, why not use the radio.  I thought this is wonderful how do I do this?  Since I am an “everything Boston gal” and I especially love the Red Sox win or lose.  I started by listening to the Red Sox every time they were on the radio.  I listen intently (which was a challenge for me but I stuck with it) concentrating on the announcers play-by-play descriptions which helped me tremendously.

I visualized the players and how the game was played especially when they were at Fenway.  Fenway is the only stadium that I can remember in my thoughts; big green monster and so on.

I get all my senses involved, the look of the stadium, the sound of players and fans.  I know it is different from being there or watching on TV.  Imagine hearing the crack of the bat when it connects with the ball. Feel the energy from the people in the stadium.  Imagine the taste of the popcorn, the aroma of fresh air, newly cut grass.  Visualize the players and the color of their uniform.  If you have never been to a game use your imagination, fake it, it helps.

Also, it helps to keep with the players I was familiar with in my mind; Big Papi, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Varitek and so on.  I would try to visualize them doing their rituals; Big Poppy crossing home plate and giving the sign of the cross and Ellsbury stealing the bases, etc.

I get my body, mind and spirit involved with all my senses. This may sound easy and fun but, it was a lot of work.  A lot of concentration and energy was needed to improve my visual memory. Everything else around me needed to be quiet. I would get so tired from all the hard work I would fall asleep sometimes. Not that the game was boring but that my brain would get such a workout that it would exhaust me.

What helped me move along was that I loved the sport and the Red Sox. I needed to have a frame of mind I could do this and move forward and I did. A few times I was in the hospital, so I got to see Red Sox playing on TV.  It was at least six weeks into my “Red Sox therapy”.  A couple of times I closed my eyes and listened, not the same, which makes sense.  This experience confirmed I was on the right track. I went home and continued my “Red Sox therapy”. I felt it was a gift to be able to listen to the radio and use it to improve my different memory deficits and intellect.

Oh, by the way did I mention that I love the Red Sox?

The Stroke of Genius
Donald Summerfield

Today, I am grateful for the gift of writing to share my thoughts and feelings.
To carry the torch that others have brought to me, through this Journey.
I know when I leave this earth; the torch will be passed again.
I am grateful for the insight my injury has given me!

Donna De Guglielmo

As I consume myself with delights of the day sharing stories of accomplishments with befriending I am a MERE student of being.
We all had accomplishments that need seeing.

One said she was able to have her hand moving.
Another said he found a few words he thought he was losing.
Another friend said she was able to talk two minutes to her friend without being stuck for wording.
I said I was writing the alphabet with more easing.

Tomorrow is another day of overcoming and being involved with life's tickle suspensing.
We all have tight life freeing experiences.
That unbinds the mind of realities that are immured by judging the unseeing.

Public Hearings Notice for
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)
Vocational Rehabilitation and State Supported Employment Programs

A public hearing will be conducted prior to the submittal of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) State Plan to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). MRC must submit a plan annually in order to receive federal funding for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the State Supported Employment Services Programs.
The date and time for the hearing is as follows:

June 7, 2013

  • Site: MRC Administrative Office
    600 Washington Street
    Essex Conference Room# 2023 Boston, MA. 02211                 
    10:00 to 12:00 noon
    Comments and suggestions are needed. How can MRC:
  • Improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services?
  • Increase the number of individuals with disabilities who get and keep jobs?
    Work more effectively with the Career Centers?
  • Improve the quality and scope of Supported Employment?

MRC welcomes any comments and suggestions concerning its goals, accomplishments and services. Individuals who intend to make an oral presentation at a public hearing: should:

Prepare a written statement of comments in advance of the hearing;
Make the presentation as concise as possible; and: 
Submit a copy of the prepared statement to MRC personnel present at the hearing.

In presenting oral and/or written statements, all individuals should:
Indicate their name, address and any organization they are representing.  If known, identify each specific part of the plan on which comments are being made; 
Describe the concern with respect to the plan; 
Stipulate the recommended action to be taken.

Individuals who are unable to attend may submit written comments or give oral telephone testimony by writing or by calling the telephone numbers noted below:

MRC Policy and Planning Department
600 Washington Street, 2nd floor
Boston, MA 02211
(617) 204-3708
1-800-245-6543 (Voice/TDD)

Copies of the draft State Plan will be available at the hearings. For additional copies, individuals can call or write to Teresa Walsh at the above number and address. Emails can be sent to

All comments and suggestions must be received by June 21, 2013.                      

If reasonable accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act are needed to attend one of the public hearings, an individual would need to contact the MRC Administrative Office at (617) 204-3708 with his or her request prior to attending.

In Memorial: Bruce Bruneau, Access Advocate

Bruce Bruneau of Kingston passed away March 24, 2013. It is with much sadness that we learned that Bruce Bruneau has passed away. Bruce made a lasting impact on everyone he met. His easy going style coupled with his passion for access resulted in improvements across the state. More people are able to get into more buildings because of Bruce. He is forever etched in our minds as the heart and soul of the Community Access Monitor Program.

He is survived by many family and friends. Bruce spent 21 years with the Community Access Monitor Project becoming the Project’s Coordinator. He was known all over the state as a teacher, an advocate and a civil rights worker making sure buildings were in compliance with state and federal laws allowing full access to all people with disabilities.

Becoming an Individual Consumer Consultant (ICC)
Leslie Wish

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 that have skills and experiences valuable to the needs of the MRC.  The program is open to both MRC consumers and their immediate family members.

This program is for MRC clients to gain work experience and, as such, they 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 usually very short term, one to three days in length, and there is no guarantee there will be consistent work.  Every effort is made to accommodate all ICC’s with regard to their limitations and abilities.

If you are interested in becoming an ICC please contact Leslie Wish, Program Coordinator for Consumer Involvement, at 617-204-3771 or by e-mail:

Go Green, Save a Tree: Have the Consumer’s Voice sent by e-mail. If you are interested please e-mail your request to:


Artist Biography:

Millicent Holder was born in Boston in 1958.  She currently resides in Brookline, MA.  In 1997, Millicent taught herself how to make jewelry and eventually took classes.

Before Millicent began making and designing her jewelry, she owned several pieces that she wore consistently.  Around 1997 one of these favored pieces broke, she taught herself how to repair it by going to Beadworks (beads and findings store) and asking them to fix this necklace.  While there she learned how to repair that one piece of jewelry and discovered that she loved making jewelry as much as wearing it.  

Millicent’s interest in making jewelry brought her back to Beadworks in Boston, to take a class in making jewelry.  She has been successful selling her jewelry at local Christmas Bazaars.  Millicent is currently in the Gateway Artist Training Program and her jewelry is sold in the Gateway store.

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 or call Lisa Weber at 617-204-3638 for more information.
Gateway Arts Brookline, Massachusetts

Elaine McHugh, Editor

Contributing Writers

Sue Coughlin
Donna De Guglielmo
Sarah Foster
Emeka Nwokeji
Girard Plante
Steve Slowinski
Donald Summerfield

MRC Staff Editors

Emeka Nwokeji, Director, Consumer Involvement
Sheila Wojdakowski, HR/Customer Relations
Leslie Wish, ICC Program Coordinator
Lisa Weber, CI Program Coordinator

This newsletter is an independent publication sponsored by the MRC State Rehabilitation Council.  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, e-mail

A publication of the MRC State Rehabilitation Council
Nicholas G. Kaltsas, Esq., Chairperson
Charles Carr, Commissioner, MRC

Summer 2013

The Consumer’s Voice
State Rehabilitation Council
600 Washington St. 2nd. Fl.
Boston, MA  02111