Homeward Bound 2014 – April 13 – THIS SUNDAY!

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The 2014 Homeward Bound Walk to End Homelessness is almost here!

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THIS Sunday, April 13, 2014  –  1:00 pm

We are putting together a LIFEDesigns team to participate in the Homeward Bound walk on Sunday, April 13 at 1pm. We are recruiting staff, customers, Board members, donors, and volunteers to walk with us during the upcoming Homeward Bound walk.  Everyone who signs up for the LIFEDesigns Team will get a FREE LIFEDesigns t-shirt in beautiful tangerine (NEW shirts!). We want to show the world a sea of orange as evidence of the support our agency has from all these groups. The walk will begin at The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park (Third Street Park). Registration and pre-walk entertainment will begin at noon. This is a family and pet friendly event so feel free to bring everyone with you!

To register
, go to http://www.homewardboundindiana.org/walk/bloomington, click Register Today, click Join an Existing Team, choose LIFEDesigns in the drop down box where is says Select Team, then enter your information. There is no cost to register for the event, but if you donate $20 by April 10, you will receive a t-shirt (in addition to the tangerine LIFEDesigns shirt) from the Homeward Bound crew. As this is a fundraiser, we encourage you to collect donations for the event. This $20 donation is a great start towards supporting the benefiting agencies – which includes LIFEDesigns this year!

If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Lander at stlander (at) lifedesignsinc.org

HB Walk Poster 2014

 

March is Disability Awareness Month

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March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana.

Each March, Disability Awareness Month is celebrated throughout Indiana. And given that adults and children with disabilities represent slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population, disability awareness is important for all of us. Led by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, the goal of Disability Awareness Month is to increase awareness and promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities. The Council develops a unique theme for this annual event and produces campaign materials that are available free of charge to Hoosiers who want to help make a difference.

The 2014 campaign theme is “Dream to Dare,” which inspires and encourages all of us to challenge each other to rethink and revitalize our communities. This year’s poster uses a simple, but meaningful, poem to frame our attitudes toward what we all want to achieve—communities that are sustainable, accessible, economically viable and encourage civic and social engagement for all. The text at the bottom of the poster challenges us to “be a force in our community” by learning more about smart growth as we rethink and revitalize our communities.

This is the 24th year for Disability Awareness Month. Won’t you join thousands of advocates and people with disabilities across the state by conducting community-based activities? Activities include events such as mayoral proclamations; art and essay contests; and awareness campaigns in schools, businesses and government agencies. See a list of activities below and contact information for how YOU can get involved!

Thanks in advance for your efforts to help raise awareness and understanding of disability issues in your home, business, school or neighborhood!

Events during the month of March and April to celebrate!

  • Spread the Word to End the Word – March 5th, 2014 – take the pledge today at www.r-word.org
  • 2014 Diversity Works Business Recognition Ceremony – March 27th, 2014 – 2:00 pm to 3:30pm – Fountain Square Ballroom. Eleven area businesses will be honored for outstanding support of employment for individuals with disabilities in our community over the past year. This event is free. See the honorees and more information on the invitation here.
  • Living with Autism: Diagnosis, Education & Treatment – April 1st, 2014 – 4:00 pm to 6:00pm – City Hall Council Chambers. A panel discussion will take place moderated by LIFEDesigns CEO Susan Rinne. This event is free. Light refreshments will be served. See panelists and more information on the poster here.
  • LIFEDesigns is hosting a drawing and essay contest for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Are you a student? Please contact your teacher for more information about how you can participate. Are you an educator? Please contact Leslie Abshier, labshier (at) lifedesignsinc.org or 812-332-9615 ext: 218, to find out how your students can participate.
  • Do you want someone from LIFEDesigns to come present to your employees about disability awareness? Please contact Leslie Abshier, labshier (at) lifedesignsinc.org or 812-332-9615 ext: 218, to find out how you can book us for a FREE inclusion and disability awareness educational training on your schedule at your place of work.

Also, follow us on Twitter, “Like!” us on Facebook and read our *NEW* blog to learn more about disabilities and what is going on this month to bring awareness to our communities!

Kids LEAP Summer Camp Sponsorships Needed

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Can you help us support our Kids LEAP Summer Camp?

    
$500 will provide a scholarship to help a child with a disability attend the 2014 Kids LEAP Summer Camp!

From generous donors like you, we are asking for….

  • 10 people to provide a scholarship for a child this summer for $500
  • Or 20 people to provide a scholarship for a child this summer for $250

All gifts, in any amount, are appreciated and will make a big difference to a child who is able to attend camp because of your help. Your gift provides safe, qualified and professional care for children with disabilities over the summer. Can you provide a scholarship?

HERE’S HOW TO GIVE: Please click the “DONATE NOW” button on the right hand side of this page and donate securely. You can also mail a check made out to LIFEDesigns to LIFEDesigns, Inc., 200 E. Winslow Rd., Bloomington, IN 47401 with “Kids LEAP” in the memo. If you would like to, you can click here to download a donation card to mail in with your check or to give by credit card through the mail.

Kids LEAP is an inclusive summer camp for children with and without disabilities. What makes it unique? 

EXPERTISE
Working with people with different abilities: it’s what we do!

FLEXIBILITY
Kids attend any day/time during the week according to the family’s needs!

COMMUNITY FOCUS
Our activities get kids out and about as much as possible!

FRIENDSHIPS
Getting kids together is important to us, because we value social skills!

CHANGE
We want Kids’ LEAP to be the fresh, new alternative to a boring summer!

This year we are continuing our partnership part-time with the Boys & Girls Club at the Crestmont location to do some joint activities with them! We will still provide LIFEDesigns qualified, professionally trained staff to work with the children with disabilities who come to Kids LEAP through LIFEDesigns. However, this partnership will provide more than we have been able to provide in the past, allowing the program to be more inclusive, joining children with disabilities with children without a disability.

We will spend 2 to 3 days a week doing some joint activities with the Boy & Girls Club, using their facilities and resources, which are supported by their generous donors. Due to our high ratio of qualified, professionally trained staff to Kids LEAP children, we will be able to provide quality support to children with disabilities while including them in some of the fun curriculum that the Boys & Girls Club specializes in. This partnership benefited both groups of children last year and we are excited to continue it this year, building a more inclusive community.

This year, LIFEDesigns also received a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County to write curriculum for camp that focusses on knowledge retention over the summer months. This will greatly enhance the programming provided to the student participating and allow them to achieve greater levels of success when they re-enter school in the fall. Thank you CFBMC!

LIFEDesigns provides transportation, food, supplies, space and qualified professional staff for Kids LEAP. We provide services to children with disabilities with Medicaid or a Medicaid Waiver for no charge to the families. However, there are some children that come to us who do not have Medicaid or a Medicaid Waiver and must private pay. We are asking for individuals LIKE YOU to help us provide scholarships this summer for these children to come to the 2014 Kids LEAP Summer Camp.

  

Ready to give? Can you give $500 to sponsor a child throughout the summer to come to our 2014 Kids LEAP Summer Camp. From generous donors like you, we are asking for….

  • 10 people to provide a scholarship for a child this summer for $500
  • Or 20 people to provide a scholarship for a child this summer for $250

All gifts, in any amount, are appreciated and will make a big difference to a child who is able to attend camp because of your help. Your gift provides safe, qualified and professional care for children with disabilities over the summer. Can you provide a scholarship?

Again, HERE’S HOW TO GIVE: Please click the “DONATE NOW” button on the right hand side of this page and donate securely. You can also mail a check made out to LIFEDesigns to LIFEDesigns, Inc., 200 E. Winslow Rd., Bloomington, IN 47401 with “Kids LEAP” in the memo. If you would like to, you can click here to download a donation card to mail in with your check or to give by credit card through the mail.

THANK YOU!!

  

Disability Awareness Contest Winners

LIFEDesigns was proud to hold an Essay and Drawing Contest in the month of March to celebrate Disability Awareness Month. We asked schools in Brown, Bartholomew, Monroe and Lawrence counties to participate and got a wonderful response. We had hundreds of entries from grades K through 8. It was difficult to narrow down the entries to pick the winners. While looking through the entries we discovered that people of all ages can understand and communicate about disabilities and the people who have them. We were impressed by the students and their portrayal of our theme, community connections, as it related to accessible communities. We want to thank everyone who participated! We are pleased to have had such a good response. This year, as in past years, we acknowledged winners at our Annual Awards Ceremony on May 21st at the Seasons Lodge in Nashville, IN. We also went to the individual schools of the winners to thank them and congratulate them. Below is the work of our winning students. Congratulations to you all!

 

Drawing Contest

 

WINNER – Grades K-3 (below)

Gavin Reed

 

Runner-Up – Grades K-3 (below)

Cadee Sims

 

WINNER – Grades 4-5 (below)

Erica Song

 

Runner-Up – Grades 4-5 (below)

Megan Lee Gibby

 

Essay Contest

 

Winner – Grades 6-8 (below)

Bayli Smith

 

Runner-Up – Grades 6-8 (below)

Seth Glasscock

An Update Letter from the CEO & Board of Directors

March 15, 2013

To customers, families, staff, donors, community members and friends of LIFEDesigns:

As many of you who are part of our community know, a tragic incident occurred with a customer of LIFEDesigns, Tammy West, who passed away January 26, 2013. The Board and staff of LIFEDesigns are extremely saddened by Tammy West’s death, and our deepest sympathies are with her family. We are writing to update you on what has taken place since we learned of Tammy’s death and to assure you that our first priority is to provide outstanding care to all our customers and families. We are taking all of the necessary steps to prevent any such events from occurring in the future.    

We immediately launched a total and complete review of all of our operations and used our findings to strengthen our care system.  LIFEDesigns has made all necessary reports to the state, checked all of our services and customers, and will continue to look for opportunities to improve in all aspects of our services.  The following are specific examples of changes we have made:

 Documentation:

  • Document updates and oversight: All documentation is up to date and has been verified.  We have visited every setting we support across our systems to make sure that documentation is in place and is current and that individual support and high risk plans are being implemented as written.
  • Electronic customer records: We currently use an electronic customer record, but will be moving as quickly as we can to a new web-based system.  This will enable us to give all staff greater access to the most current information about a customer. 
  • Increased access to electronic records: We are establishing new computer kiosks in customer settings that can be updated electronically from anywhere, again to ensure ready access to updated information.

 Supervisory oversight:

  • Nurse visits: We have arranged for nursing services to visit individuals in Host Families, like the one Tammy was in, and other Supported Living services with risk plans that indicate a health issue that should be monitored and who do not have home health services.  Those visits will occur monthly on an ongoing basis.
  • Quality Assurance: Our quality assurance program now includes cross monitoring (people from different service areas observing and completing checklists on requirements) and random record checks.  These checks are done monthly and cover medical, financial, programmatic and health and safety issues.  Problems found will be dealt with through training and discipline, where necessary.
  • Structural changes: In some supported living settings, we are instituting an additional onsite supervisor to oversee in-house documentation, finances, medical appointments, environmental review, and team meetings.  The position will provide direct service and have an allocation of administrative time for the above tasks.  We evaluated and redistributed supervisor caseloads to be sure they were equalized and provided for maximum direct customer contact.
  • Compliance review: The Bureau of Quality Improvement Services, a part of Family and Social Services Administration, has reviewed all of our Host Family Settings. We have developed an action plan with them which they have approved.  They should be back to monitor our compliance with the plan in the next 30 days.
  • Other external investigation: We have scheduled an audit of all programs and services in April by trained CARF surveyors.  The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is an international accrediting body that certifies compliance with their standards.  Indiana requires CARF certification for employment, community habilitation and community living services. Our surveyors, Julia Dotson of Bloomington and Debra Capuano of Xenia, Ohio will also be evaluating supported living, group living, employment, host families, and respite services.  This will enable us to have another set of eyes evaluate all our services not just the ones the state requires us to survey. 

Training:

  • Supervisor and DSP training: We have improved our supervisor training to ensure a more thorough review of all state and federal regulations and required documentation.  All current supervisors have completed this training and there will then be a required annual renewal for all supervisory staff.  All supervisory staff have received increased training by our nursing staff on recognizing potential signs of medical issues.  Currently we have a two week training for direct service staff and have augmented that with information provided by the nurses.

LIFEDesigns is committed to our customers and quality of their services and over the past 30 years has done much good for our communities and customers.   We currently serve 400 individuals and families in south-central Indiana; were one of the first providers of supported living in the state and now support 200 people in that program; secured $6 million in grants to provide affordable, accessible housing; achieved three-year CARF accreditation in every year surveyed since the initial survey in 2000; provide thousands of hours of respite services to families with the support of our communities; and helped 175 people with disabilities get jobs in local businesses.  We hope that in the wake of this tragedy the positive impact our organization has on the lives of many individuals with disabilities in our communities over the years is not forgotten. 

We are always looking for ways to improve, so we want your feedback.  You can contact Susan Rinne, CEO (srinne@lifedesignsinc.org or 812-322-5197) at any time should you have any concerns, questions or suggestions on what we can do to improve.  In the near future we will be implementing a suggestion line for staff, customers and families and we will announce the number in future communication.  Additionally, we would ask customers give us their feedback by completing our annual survey and can do so by clicking the link on our website www.lifedesignsinc.org

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. Please be assured that LIFEDesigns takes this incident with the utmost seriousness. We will continue to be vigilant in reviewing our care for all of our customers and promoting independence and inclusion. We will do what needs to be done to protect the individuals we support and to provide them with the best services. 

Sincerely,

LIFEDesigns’ Board of Directors & CEO