October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

There are many ways that we can bring awareness to providing employment for people with disabilities.

Are you an employer?

  • To learn more about how you can employ an individual with a disability call us at 800-875-9615 and ask to talk to our Supported Employment Director. 

Looking for a job?

  • If you are an individual with a disability looking for a job, we can help you! Call our Supported Employment Director today and find out how our team can help you find gainful and meaningful employment in a field you are interested in.

Find out more information about how you can participate in Disability Employment Awareness Month from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy at http://www.dol.gov/odep/

See the President’s Proclamation about Disability Employment Awareness Month below.

October 1, 2012

For Immediate Release

NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH, 2012

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the 22 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have made significant progress in giving all Americans the freedom to make of our lives what we will. Yet, in times of prosperity as well as challenge, people with disabilities have had fewer opportunities in our workplaces than those without. As we work to revitalize our economy, it is essential that each of us can bring our talents, expertise, and passion to bear in the marketplace. But a stronger economy is not enough; we must ensure not only full participation, but also full opportunity. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recognize the indispensable contributions people with disabilities make in our economy and recommit to building a country where each of us can realize the full extent of our dreams.

Because America’s workforce should reflect the diversity of its people — including people with disabilities — my Administration remains committed to helping our businesses, schools, and communities support our entire workforce. To meet this challenge, the Federal Government must be a model employer. That is why I was proud to sign an Executive Order in 2010 that called on Federal agencies to increase recruitment, hiring, and retention of people with disabilities. In 2012, the Office of Personnel Management reported on our progress, revealing that we are moving toward meeting our goal of hiring an additional 100,000 people with disabilities into the Federal workforce over 5 years. Today, more people with disabilities work for the Federal Government than at any time in the past 20 years, and we are striving to make it easier to get and keep those jobs by improving compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

All Americans are entitled to an accessible workplace, a level playing field, and the same privileges, pursuits, and opportunities as any of their family, friends, and neighbors. This month, let us rededicate ourselves to bringing down barriers and raising up aspirations for all our people, regardless of disability, so we may share in a brighter future together.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2012 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to embrace the talents
and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Barack Obama

Buddy Walk 2012!!!

“Sunday, October 7th, the Down Syndrome Family Connection will host its 5th annual Buddy Walk at Bryan Park in Bloomington.  The fun begins for the whole family at 1:30pm with live music by the Bloomington Brass Quintet  and Kid Kazooey.  There will also be an outdoor carnival, a bouncy house and more.  Registration opens at 1:30pm with the walk at 3pm.  Free snacks and drinks will be available and people are invited to set up their chairs and blankets for the outdoor concert.  Registration is free, but walkers must register by Sept. 28 to get a t-shirt.  Register, join a team, or make a donation at www.buddywalkinbloomington.info, or email info@downsyndromefamilyconnection.org. “

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Dawn Gray via email or phone: 812 219-1271.  Click here to view the flyer:  BuddyWalkFlyer2012

Thank you for your continued support!
Dawn Gray
Down Syndrome Family Connection, v.p.

Celebrate Direct Support Professional Recognition Week!!

The New York State Legislature designated the week of September 11 as Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Recognition Week to honor individuals who are committed to supporting people with developmental disabilities of all ages. The U.S. Senate on Sept. 15, unanimously approved a resolution declaring it National DSP Recognition Week.

“Direct Support Professionals enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families every day,” said Stephen E. Freeman, CEO of the YAI Network. “DSPs are the backbone of our service system. They are professionals who go above a beyond to ensure that people with disabilities lead dignified and productive lives in the community.”

The YAI Network is a proud supporter of the American Network of Community Options and Resources’ (ANCOR) National Advocacy Campaign to increase wages and professionalism of all DSPs throughout the nation.

So go and thank a DSP this week for all they do to enhance the lives of those with developmental disabilities!

 

Call to Artists for Art of Chocolate Submissions is Now Closed

AOC Call for Web

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!!

Our entry is now closed for the Art of Chocolate, but the fun has just begun! The most anticipated event of the year is coming soon and we want you to join us!

LIFEDesigns presents the 2013 Art of Chocolate event!

This year we are doing things a bit differently in order to SELL MORE ARTWORK!! We will be kicking off our art sale with selected juried pieces displayed at the IU Art Museum on Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at our Art of Chocolate Gala. This is exactly how we have done this in the past. This year however, we are expanding! We will be displaying ALL of the artwork submitted to us in town for sale in the evenings throughout the week following our Art of Chocolate kick-off event. To cap off the Art of Chocolate Art Sale, we will have all artwork displayed and available for sale on Saturday, February 2nd at CFC’s Fountain Square Mall. This gives everyone many different opportunities to buy submitted artwork that benefits each artist and LIFEDesigns. Keep an eye out as we reveal more details about the various locations the artwork may be on display. 

Questions? Contact us at art@lifedesignsinc.org

Want to purchase tickets? Head to BCT Box Office and get them online TODAY!

LIFEDesigns’ First Newsletter is Here!

Newsletter Feature Image
We have been through a lot of changes so far this year and are looking forward to an exciting future as LIFEDesigns, Inc.  Options and Christole have combined to become a stronger team to help others achieve what they may not have thought possible!  
 
A preview of what you might find in the Newsletter:
  • An introduction to our leadership and their thoughts for the future of LIFEDesigns
  • The 2012 Art of Chocolate
  • Our Annual Awards Celebration
  • The Housing Options II ground breaking
  • Our 2012 Legislative Forum
  • Remembering friends of LIFEDesigns
  • Information about upcoming events at LIFEDesigns that you won’t want to miss

AND MUCH MORE!!

 
Keep an eye out for our Newsletter to come out quarterly.
 
If you are not receiving our newsletters and would like to or are only receiving them by mail,
please sign-up below to receive them by e-mail and help us to go green, saving money by
cutting out printing costs and saving the environment by helping us use less paper. Thanks!
 

A Candidate Forum on Disability Issues

Forum

Speakers, candidates discuss disability concerns at forum.

The Herald-Times  7/19/2012

Aaron Smith told a crowd of 150 people gathered at the First United Church for a “Candidates Forum on Disabilities” that because he has autism, he had trouble making friends as a child. He said in middle school he was teased for being different, and in high school he suffered physical bullying. But Smith persevered, graduating from Bloomington High School South in 2003. Today, thanks in part to LIFEDesigns — a Bloomington nonprofit organization that provides services and support to people with disabilities in south-central Indiana — he has several friends, a job at Goodwill and a spot on a Special Olympics basketball team.

“Now I’m looking forward to getting my own apartment,” he said. “I won’t let my disability get in the way of me having a full life.”

Smith was one of several people who spoke about what it was like living with a disability, or caring for someone with a disability. Another was Trish Ierino, Stone Belt’s board president, who is the primary caretaker for her sister, Cheryl Thompson, a Stone Belt client. She said when Thompson was growing up in the 1970s, she was separated from other students in the schools.

“Fortunately, it’s not like that today,” she said. “Special needs children are integrated in the schools.”

Ierino said when she applied for a Medicaid waiver for her sister, it required filling out mounds of paperwork. Then she was told by an official that Thompson was facing a 7- to 10-year wait. “I asked myself, ‘Why does it need to be this difficult getting special needs services in Indiana?’” she said. But when Thompson’s mother turned 80, Thompson was granted a Medicaid waiver. Today she sews, cooks, shops, does yoga, works part time at Stone Belt and the Indiana University Police Department, volunteers at the Monroe County Public Library, participates in Special Olympics, and gets around town thanks to Bloomington Access.

The purpose of the forum was to provide political candidates an opportunity to hear from their constituents about disability issues, and to allow constituents to learn more about the candidates’ commitment to helping those with disabilities.

Nine political candidates participated in the forum — state Rep. Peggy Welch, who is seeking re-election in District 60; Republican Peggy Mayfield, who is challenging Welch in District 60; District 61 state Rep. Matt Pierce; Democrat Mark Stoops and Republican Reid Dallas, who are seeking the Indiana Senate District 40 seat recently vacated by Vi Simpson; Democrat Shelli Yoder, running for the 9th District congressional seat; District 46 state Rep. Bob Heaton, a Republican, along with his opponent, Democrat Jim Mann; and Republican Matt Ubelhor, who is running for re-election as state representative in District 62.

The speaker drawing the loudest applause was Jill Bolte Taylor — a brain scientist, author and motivational speaker who’s appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” — and who has a brother with schizophrenia. “The brain is a beautiful thing when it works well, but when it doesn’t, we have a disability,” she said. “The measure of humanity in any society is how we treat those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Bolte Taylor said concern for those with disabilities transcends politics, citing a plane trip she recently took in which she and a man sitting next to her had a wonderful, hourlong conversation. “He told me about his son who is using the system, and I told him about my brother who is using the system,” she said. “When the plane landed, I asked him his name. He said he was Dave Long, the majority Republican leader of the Indiana Senate. I said, ‘You’re kidding me; you’re such a nice guy.’” Bolte Taylor said the incident taught her a lesson. “If I had known who he was, I never in a million years would have started talking to him,” she said. “But we are humans first, Republicans and Democrats second.”

Most of the political candidates told the audience they were eager to hear their concerns regarding the disabled community, urging them to contact them by phone or email. Some incumbents cited their efforts in the Indiana General Assembly to help individuals with disabilities, and some challengers said they were not doing enough. Republican Reid Dallas went after Monroe County Commissioner Mark Stoops — his opponent in the Indiana Senate District 40 race — saying many of Monroe County’s polling sites are not accessible to people with disabilities, and that Rural Transit deserved more funding. “Monroe County needs a state representative who will not just talk about this issue but actually support people with disabilities,” he said. Stoops countered that Monroe County is doing an outstanding job providing services to folks with disabilities, and said in 2006, when he was president of the county council, the council gave Options, now incorporated into LIFEDesigns, a tax levy that enabled the nonprofit to increase its funding by $300,000 a year.

A common theme of the evening, reiterated by several candidates, is that investing in people with disabilities will save the state money in the long run. “Early intervention is key,” Pierce said. “If we spend money now, we will save plenty of money later.” “Our prison system is the largest mental health system in the state,” Mayfield said. “When it comes to mental illness, it’s pay now or pay later.” Welch said it’s imperative to educate state legislators and the public that mental illness is not a weakness but an illness that needs to be treated — and there must be parity in state coverage for mental and physical illness.

This event was a partnership among Stone Belt, LIFEDesigns, Mental Health America, NAMI of the Greater Bloomington Area and the Arc of Indiana.

By Dann Denny

331-4350 | ddenny@heraldt.com