Meet Rebecca, LIFEDesigns Continuous Quality Improvement Manager!

We are thrilled to welcome (back) the new Continuous Quality Improvement Manager (CQIM), Rebecca Chambers, to the LIFEDesigns team! Rebecca is very experienced in a number of roles regarding support for individuals with disabilities and health concerns. She worked for LIFEDesigns as a Medical Coordinator, QIDP, and Network Director in 2009, but left to continue a different career path as a Social Service Director in long term care. Because of Rebecca’s long-time experience in this field, she felt she needed to do more by being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Social Science and a master’s degree in Management.  

As the CQIM, Rebecca facilitates processes to ensure adherence to all regulation and credentialing procedures while providing a safe and supportive environment in all setting for employees and clients to further the agency’s mission in partnering with and promoting independence for people with disabilities. Rebecca will be playing a key role in agency certification and accreditation processes.  

We’re happy to have you back, Rebecca! Thanks for all you do!  

Job-A-Palooza Employer Town Hall

In this time of unprecedented labor shortages, LIFEDesigns, Stone Belt and Work to Include are holding an Employer Town Hall to assist local businesses to connect with talent with disabilities and the resources that can help promote a truly diverse workforce.

The session will be 10/27 from 8:30 am to 10 am, both in-person and online. The in-person session will be held at the Dimension Mill (642 N. Madison Street Bloomington, IN 47404) AND online via zoom. Click here to register online.

This engaging and interactive session is designed to highlight the benefits of hiring talent with disabilities and get your help to design a talent pipeline for youth and adults while addressing some of the barriers business faces, like: reasonable accommodations, retention, co-worker training and accessing tax incentives. Through small group discussion, you will leave with a plan for how your business can succeed, while supporting this important part of your workforce.

Parking in front of the Mill is permit parking only. You can park in the meter parking spots on 11th Street, or on Morton or use the new parking garage on 10th Street. There is free two-hour parking on Rogers Street. We are not responsible for any tickets for parking in front of the Mill or if anyone is towed from the parking lot that is located in the South end of the building.

Building a Better, More Inclusive Community

Our services provide the support people with disabilities need to gain access to their community in their daily lives. Engaging in community activities brings opportunities of learning, understanding, awareness, and so much more. Sometimes, people with certain kinds of disabilities have greater difficulty interacting in social encounters. Learning to “fit in” to society can be challenging, especially for someone with an intellectual disability. Engaging in conversation, maintaining eye contact, or trying something new can be a scary experience, which is why we provide support services for those we serve.

LIFEDesigns offers emotional and social supports to teach the skills needed to learn social and professional expectations. These skills cannot be taught by sitting at home in isolation. We encourage our Direct Support Professionals and those who work hands-on with our clients to engage in community activities like visiting a new store, trying a new hobby, eating new foods, etc. Our clients greatly need these support services to achieve independence and accomplish their goals! When you donate to LIFEDesigns, you’re contributing to a better, more inclusive community where everyone is valued, and everyone belongs. Click here to make a donation and learn more about services, our clients need you!

LIFEDesigns CEO, Russell J. Bonanno MEd, is receiving Executive Leadership Award at the INARF Conference 2021

CEO of LIFEDesigns, Russell J. Bonanno, has been selected to be the recipient of the INARF 2021 James M. Hammond III Executive Leadership AwardINARF plans to honor and pay special tribute to Russell (and Max his service animal) at the 2021 INARF Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, October 6thNoon – 1:30 PM at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Noblesville Indianapolis Conference Center, 13700 Conference Center Dr. South Noblesville, IN.

Before the Annual Conference Awards Luncheon takes place, INARF asks their agency members to submit nominations for the awards given out. It was fairly easy for our employees to compose this nomination and the endless reasons why Russell deserves this award. The nomination that was submitted on Russell’s behalf is below and perfectly explains why he is so deserving of the 2021 James M. Hammond III Executive Leadership Award:

“Whether he is giving the keynote address at the “Targeting Autism National Forum”, teaching at Boston University Medical School, advocating for greater access to resources or inclusion in the community for individuals with Autism/IDD, or weighing in on the ethical implications about the use of video cameras in clients’ homes and whether they are really necessary, Russ Bonanno works tirelessly to enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities, their families, and their communities.

On any given day in our office, when you see Max (Russ’s service dog) you will soon see Russ. When speaking to him, it is clear that you always have his full attention. If he doesn’t have an immediate solution or piece of advice, you can rest assured that the next time you see or talk to him he will have spent time and done research and can give you a thoughtful response, creative solutions, specific websites to look at, or direct you to other resources to guide you in your quest to figure something out. 

His diverse background gives him a unique perspective and allows him to guide those around him to fulfill our agency mission “to partner with and promote independence for people with disabilities”. Russ not only leads the organization, but he guides those around him and develops them by assisting them in solving problems and coming up with creative solutions. Russ meets with all departments on a regular basis to ensure they are making progress on goals and have access to needed resources to get the job done. Russ leads and guides his executive staff by example preferring to trust those around him to come up with their own creative solutions. 

With his guidance, our organization has been able to work within our current funding to increase the wages of DSPs to $13.00/hr. because they are critical to our client’s success and the economic sustainability of our agency. This wage increase sets an example for organizations across the state of the value that should be placed on DSPs and the importance of their role in client success. Russ is also working to provide access to development opportunities that will further increase DSPs value to the organization and to the clients with the eventual goal of increasing client outcomes and reducing turnover costs for the agency.

Throughout his life and his entire professional career, Russ has strived to make others’ lives better. He has done this by working directly with clients, families, key stake holders, and other organizations executives. He spends time lobbying elected officials to make them aware of the need for funding that will enhance our employees and clients lives. He spends time developing those around him so they can also make a bigger impact on the quality of services provided to individuals with disabilities. No matter who Russ is talking to, he always has his finger on the pulse of what is happening and is there to guide the ship for the benefit of the clients.

Click here to learn more about the INARF 2021 Annual Awards


ANCOR Action Alert Regarding Federal HCBS Funding

Congress is currently negotiating its budget reconciliation bill, and the House version of the bill includes $190 billion for the HCBS program. This amount falls far short of the promise President Biden made in his American Jobs Plan to invest $400 billion in HCBS. While ANCOR celebrates this historic investment in the HCBS program, the level of financing is insufficient to sustain access and stabilize the direct care workforce. The dire conditions facing our nation’s direct care workforce demand a greater investment.
Participate in ANCOR’s action alert to ask your member of Congress include sufficient funding for HCBS in the budget reconciliation bill.
As an INArf Member, we plan to do our part in taking action and passing along this information. Please share with anyone who may be interested or affected by this reconciliation bill.

Click here to take action!

United Way Campaign 2021

The United Way plays a significant role in our community, as the United Way Member Agencies work together to make sure that all members of the community of various ages and facing different struggles receive the support they need. Every year, during the month of October, LIFEDesigns holds an office campaign to raise money for the United Way. We strongly encourage all of our employees at LIFEDesigns to participate in this campaign, as the United Way gives us over $30,000 in funding each year!

Campaign activities will last throughout the month of October & include:

Jeans for a Cause:

Every day is casual day in October! This campaign activity gives our staff an opportunity to dress down for the day with a pair of jeans just by donating a minimum of $1.00. 

Penny War:

This is an office favorite! LIFEDesigns employees nominated 12 of their colleagues to compete in the Penny War competition. Each nominee has a jar with their name on it that is placed in the lobby of our office. Staff and visitors can bring in silver change and dollar bills to give the Nominee’s positive points, and penny’s for negative points.  All penny’s are worth minus $1 each. This is the ULTIMATE PENNY WAR! The 3 nominees with the lowest amount of money will get a special “pie” at the Halloween Party on Oct. 27th at the Bloomington Moose Lodge! 

We want to thank The United Way for all they do for LIFEDesigns and our community. We look forward to hosting this campaign every year and give back to an organization that gives so much. Thank you, United Way!