Oswego Newsletter – October 2013 – Text-Only

New York State Independent Living Centers Celebrate 35th Anniversary

By Sabine Ingerson

Every other year staff from Independent Living Centers (ILCs), such as ARISE, get together for a conference to share information, learn about new trends, and listen to speakers from advocacy agencies,  as well as the federal and state government, on topics that impact people with disabilities. Kristin Drumm, Jim Karasek, and I were fortunate to attend the conference for Independent Living Centers in Albany on September 10 and 11. Jim gave a presentation about the Oswego Ramp Program, which resulted in invitations from two other centers to visit them and share more information about this project which is near and dear to Jim’s heart.

The move to managed care was also the topic of many speeches and workshops. We have seen some of our consumers move to managed care for the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), which has been a challenge and a learning process.

Gerald Huber, the Deputy Commissioner for Person-Centered Supports, Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, outlined the long-range plan to increase consumer control by offering more services such as Consolidated Support Services (CSS). CSS initially started many years ago with a small number of participants and is now getting additional emphasis. Through CSS, a consumer hires a broker who, together with the consumer’s “Circle of Support,” helps the consumer develop a plan and budget his/her own services. Lisa Seguin is currently a broker in our Oswego office, and several others are in the process of completing the training.

On September 18th I attended a community dialogue video conference where OPWDD staff shared some of the elements of the transformation employment plan and the move towards full community-based employment. As an ILC, we have always advocated for more consumer control and community inclusion. This move by OPWDD is welcomed by us and challenges us all to think differently about how to best support people with disabilities.

In September, three families and two of our consumers met with an organization called iCircle which is planning to become a managed care entity. I appreciate all of you who came out to share what is important to you and what supports are essential. Advocating for your needs is important and has been the focus of our ILC community for the last 35 years.

Oswego ARISE Golf Clinic

Our consumers had such a wonderful time playing in the captain and crew golf tournament at Evergreen Hills Golf Course! We had five great teams (The PonderoStars, The Banana Splits, The Gryffindor Dragons, The Slithering Dragons, and Phoenix)!

Special thanks to Evergreen Hills Golf Course for hosting us, all of the team captains (Shane, Spencer, Chris, Sully, and CJ), and all of the staff and friends who made this day possible!

 Employment

Beginning in 1999 as a White House initiative, Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) has become a large-scale national and international effort. Through hands-on career exploration, on-site job shadowing, and ongoing mentoring, DMD promotes career development for students and job seekers with disabilities.

DMD is nationally hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the largest cross-disability membership organization in the country. In 2012, DMD connected nearly 16,500 students and job seekers with disabilities with thousands of employers in more than 250 locations across all 50 states.

The national day for DMD is the third Wednesday in October. This year it is being held in Oswego County on October 23, 2013 at the America Foundry in Oswego (behind ARISE). This experience has helped thousands of past participants develop lasting relationships and secure internships or jobs.

If you are interested in participating in DMD, please fill out and submit a completed application to the ARISE employment department. The deadline for completed applications is October 7th 2013.

 MSC Blog

My name is Jim Purdy. I’m a Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) with ARISE. January 2014 will mark my 10th anniversary working with the agency. Over my years as an MSC, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with many families that we serve, and in doing so, I have developed many wonderful working relationships.

So, when I was asked to submit an article for the MSC section of the ARISE Oswego monthly newsletter, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce a family that I’ve worked with for nearly all of my 10 years. In their own words, here is their personal experience of what ARISE means to them:

IN MY OWN WORDS: BENJAMIN KELLOGG

Hello, my name is Benjamin Kellogg.  My family has had a long and lasting association with ARISE, and this organization has helped me in so many different ways as I work toward becoming a successful and independent individual.

Whenever I think of ARISE, I think of Jim Purdy, the MSC who comes to my home to check on my progress and discuss with me and my parents what my goals in life are and how best to achieve them. Jim introduces me to tools and programs which can help me to reach these goals, and he also informs me of special events ARISE sponsors in our area that I might be interested in. Jim has worked with us for many years, and I have come to know him very well. I consider him to be a close friend.

With the help of ARISE, I have had the opportunity to do many amazing things. Among the most prominent of these have been the many sports groups I have been a part of. I have played baseball through the Challenger Baseball League, basketball, soccer, floor hockey, and bowling through Special Olympics, participated in Hippotherapy (therapy on a horse) and golf programs, and have enjoyed many other fun activities. I get a lot of exercise and a chance to socialize with other people in environments which encourage much interaction.

I am also part of the “Community Connections” adult group that meets at the Oswego ARISE office. I always have a great time socializing, learning something new about the world, and having fun. I really enjoyed the two “prom” dances that I attended with this group.

ARISE has played a crucial role in my development and well-being for so long that I find it hard to imagine my life without this organization. One of my main goals is to eventually maintain a high level of independence, and I will always remember how ARISE helped me to get there. I think the people at ARISE are truly doing a valuable service for all special needs people in my area, and I greatly appreciate all that they do.

IN MY OWN WORDS: THERESA KELLOGG

Hello, my name is Theresa Kellogg, Ben’s mom. As Ben says, our affiliation with ARISE has been long and successful. ARISE has helped us lay the foundation for our son’s future by helping us secure not only the services he will require to maintain as independent a life as he is able, but also by providing him outlets for socialization and friendships. Ben is also correct when he states that when he thinks of ARISE, his first thought is Jim Purdy. He is my first thought as well.

From our very first visit with Jim, we could tell that Ben and his best interests would always be Jim’s focus. As Ben has already stated, Jim has always informed us of any and all programs and activities that ARISE sponsors. More so, he has helped and guided us through the many different systems that make up Ben’s support base. He has seen us through the many curves and hills of the Social Services, Guardianship, ACCESS-VR, and Social Security processes. Without his help and support, I know we would have been lost as we traversed these hard-to-understand systems. He is always a phone call away and willing to help in any way that he can – he has advocated for and defended Ben’s rights during meetings, he is our liaison with other agencies on Ben’s behalf; a valuable asset for parents to have, and he has even sat in waiting rooms with Ben while we were in meetings. I cannot tell you how much this means to us – to know that your child is comfortable and trusts the person you have left them with and to know you can trust the person you have left your special needs child with is immeasurable.

 Employment

ACCES-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation) is an agency in the New York State Education Department that has helped many individuals with disabilities find and keep employment. You may know the agency from it’s previous acronym: VESID.

Over the past year, ACCES-VR has helped over 900 people in Central New York (including 80 in Oswego County) succeed in careers ranging from customer service to information technology. Services to help eligible individuals reach their employment goals may include but are not limited to: job coaching, employment counseling, advocacy, and financial assistance with training, equipment, and work uniforms.

If you or someone you know has a barrier to employment and is interested in applying, please call (315) 428-4180 to register for an information session or to receive an application.