Eleanor is a recent high school graduate who has been working with UCP's Employment Solutions division to find a great job. We are happy to report that she was recently hired at New Seasons on 33rd& Killingsworth.
As Eleanor reports, “People with disabilities have feelings like everyone else – they should be out in the community and not in sheltered workshops. I love my new job – I love talking with customers and helping them.”
Please support New Seasons and other businesses who hire people with disabilities!
As you may know, UCP opened a brokerage on December 1, 2010. We call the brokerage “Connections”. Connections is a Support Services Brokerage that provides case management, person-centered planning, and offers resources and education to adults with a developmental disability that live independently in the community.
Connections has been growing at an amazing rate. As of May 1st, we had enrolled 107 of the 120 people we will be working with in total. Some of our new customers have already begun working with new providers to receive life skills training and support, and we’ve helped a number of customers become eligible for Medicaid services and additional funding. Recently, we also passed our first licensing certification review—great job, Connections employees!
We’re very excited about our newly-formed Policy Board. Anne Zaccardi (from the Arc Skills Training Program) is the Board Chairperson, and Susan Cushman (UCP's Family Support Director) is the Board's Secretary. We also welcomed Susan’s daughter, Marie Blanchard, to the Board. Marie grew up in UCP’s Family Support Department. The Policy Board will develop their mission, bylaws, and work with our staff and our customers to set the course for this program as a whole.
Look for more exciting news from Connections in the months to come.
As you may remember, UCP recently launched a Neighborhood Waves program (learn more about it here). Our first month, we are focusing on Woodstock.
Here are some of the businesses that are supporting the program--make sure to show them your appreciation!
Special thanks to Jeffrey Barger, branch manager at Key Bank, for offering "behind the scene tours" to those interested, and a big thank you to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, for donating a yearlong pass for the people we support.
Can we provide even better supports and civil rights to the people we support? That was the main question we sought to answer at our Friends/Walk, Roll, ‘n’ Run Kick Off Breakfast. The event was held on April 28, 2011 at the Multnomah Athletic Club. Present were UCP Board members, staff, longtime and new friends, potential and current sponsors of the WRR, and families.
The theme of the event was “erasing the lines”. Executive Director Bud Thoune shared the story of how there once were literal lines dividing people with disabilities from each other and the world at large. In the 1970’s, when UCP was running a sheltered workshop, the federal government required that a line be drawn down the floor of the workshop to separate those with severe disabilities from those with fewer disabilities. Even though these literal lines are gone, there are still plenty of lines that we should erase, so that the people we support can lead even richer and more fulfilling lives.
Our emcee was Terry Porter, former Trailblazer and now TV personality. Terry shared stories the lines he personally had to erase to get where he is today.
Many audience members were moved to tears as two UCP families shared their own stories. Jimmy and Marcy Watts, and Carrie Swisher, described how crushing it was to receive a diagnosis of cerebral palsy for their newborn child, and what a relief it was to discover all that UCP’s Family Support Department had to offer.
Kimberli Zonker, a manager at Whole Foods Market, shared the story of working with Phillip Klover, a person supported by UCP’s Supported Employment department.
Joy Gibson got everyone excited about this year’s Walk, Roll ‘n’ Run, which will be held September 10th. And UCP’s Michael Barron shared a brand new video about the Walk. See the video here—but be warned, you might be moved to tears, too!
The event was a huge success, raising $6,000. Six attendees expressed interest in creating a team for this year’s Walk; others expressed interest in sponsoring the Walk, and several attendees decided that they might be interested in volunteering or joining a Board committee.
“Events like this take a lot of time to prepare for”, said Bud Thoune, Executive Director, “but they help us educate our community about our mission and the needs of people with disabilities.”
Thanks especially to UCP's Kerry Pinney, Susan Cushman, Corrie Hausman, Jennifer Gwin, and Mike Barron for their intense preparations to put this event together.
Now the work really begins, as we follow up on the interest shown by this group of new and old friends, and get ready for the Walk, Roll ‘n’ Run. We hope to see you there!
Starting in May, UCP will be rolling out a new program called Neighborhood Waves. Neighborhood Waves is a program that aims to connect individuals we support with communities. Our program goals are:
Neighborhood Waves is focusing on one neighborhood each month. During that time, we will be encouraging the people we support to go and explore that neighborhood. We plan to share feedback and stories in our eNewsletter, on our website, on our Facebook page, and through Twitter, as ways to promote and give back to the neighborhood.
Our first neighborhood will be Woodstock, in May. Look for us in the community!
On April 20, 2011, UCP’s own Melissa Miller (the head of our Supported Employment Department) spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Portland Human Resource Management Association. The topic was “Practical Tools for Working with and Successfully Recruiting Individuals with Disabilities”.
Melissa and Bridget Dazey, of the Workforce Investment Council, provided practical tools for both working with and recruiting for individuals with disabilities. They also provided some practical tools for working with employees who have disabilities such as: job carving, workplace enhancements, and retention/advancement in the workforce. Great job, Melissa!
United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon & SW Washington is pleased to announce the launch of its exciting new website on April 28, 2011. The site features improved navigation, new text and new pictures, and new accessibility features. Look for even more improvements over the coming months.
UCP was lucky enough to have had a wonderful intern from July 26th to September 9th. Veronica worked with Susan, who lives in her own home with some help from a UCP staff member, Marie.
Veronica is from Nigeria, where she worked in a hospital and later at a primary health center for 25 years. She found UCP through Portland Community College’s Vocational ESL Direct Care Worker program.
Veronica loves taking care of people. As she says, “I love to help people that cannot do things for themselves. I enjoy to serve them and let them feel at home. I enjoy being around them, helping them do what they will need." Caregiving is a natural fit for her.
Not surprisingly, Sue took to Veronica immediately. Sue even gave her a hug at the first meeting. Usually, it takes several meetings before Sue gives a hug, so this is a really big deal!
Veronica started working in the home by doing a lot of shadowing. Eventually, she began to do tasks herself, under Marie’s careful supervision. Finally, she was ready to do an entire shift (with a couple of exceptions) all by herself.
Veronica learned all sorts of new things. She learned how to do all the tasks associated with caregiving, how to communicate with Sue, and how to do our paperwork.
She also learned a lot about UCP’s unique vision. She got the chance to help Susan be a part of the community—learning all about Susan’s favorite places and activities, and getting to interact with her circle of friends.
Sue benefited, too. She really liked the chance to be a teacher, and also enjoyed the chance to make a new friend.
Alas, the program is over now, but Sue and Marie feel that they will be friends with Veronica for a long time.
EDITOR’S UPDATE: We recently heard that Veronica has already found a caregiving job. Congratulations, Veronica!
We are proud to announce that, once again, UCP has been voted one of the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon by Oregon Business. This is our second year in a row.
We were ranked #7 among large non profits, scoring higher than any other developmental disability service organization of our size. Even better, we moved up 12 spaces on the list, going from #19 last year to #7 this year.