hipnews Winter 2004 Edition
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Annual Meeting Highlights
hip Offices Promote Voter Registration and Polling
“Visitability” Next on the Agenda
Jennie Wilson receives scholarship
Now hear this!
Moving from here to there
‘Twas the season to be jolly
Two unique programs
LEAD has busy season
Membership Year Up and Running
hip Programs
“Less Stress”
hip Holiday Party
hip Meetings and Happenings
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- hipnews Winter 2004 Edition Text Version -

  Annual Meeting Highlights
 On November 18th, we welcomed a full house to hip’s Annual Meeting at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel, Secaucus, where Sarah W. Mitchell, executive director of NJ Protection and Advocacy, gave her audience much food for thought in her comprehensive review of the Ticket to Work program. Ms. Mitchell, equally at home in the worlds of social service and the law, is an advisor to the Social Security Administration on work incentives programs. She was straightforward and passionate about both the pitfalls and the potential for federal and state programs to bring people with disabilities into the workforce in today’s political and economic climate. A lively session of questions followed her talk, and she was both conscientious and concerned as she handled each one.

The meeting included an update on hip’s very productive year from executive director Eileen Goff and the election and re-election of members of the Board of Trustees. Our two newest Board members, elected to their first two-year terms, are Margaret Cook Levy, known to many hip regulars for her outstanding service as director of Bergen County Community Transportation for 16 years, and Louis Intorre, of Merrill Lynch, who brings to the Board a long and varied background in financial management. Kay Chase and Joan Bermingham were re-elected to second terms and Nancy Carr to her third term. Later, Barbara Wexler was elected Board secretary, replacing Jean Csaposs, who has begun a new two-year term as a member-at-large.
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  hip Offices Promote Voter Registration and Polling
 Through two Election Challenge grants from the Developmental Disabilities Council, hip, in partnership with NJ Citizen Action, worked with Monday Morning Project members to register new voters and monitor accessibility issues at Bergen and Hudson County polling places. All hip members received a Polling Place Accessibility Survey to fill out when they went to vote. Their answers provided us with as broad an assessment of local polling places as possible. We are grateful for the diligence of so many on Election Day who provided us with the critical information hip needs to pursue accommodations needed at some of the Bergen and Hudson polling places. We will meet with election officials in each county in January to report our findings and to offer help to correct deficiencies in polling places.

Special thanks to Luciana Suriano, hip’s student intern from Ramapo College, who facilitated the Election Grant activities, coordinated the survey replies, and prepared a database of the results. To date, hip has registered over 500 voters and assessed 112 polling sites in both counties. We will keep you posted on the progress of assuring accessibility at the polls.
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  “Visitability” Next on the Agenda
 Thirteen years after passage of the ADA, architects, builders and even municipal construction officials are still approving and building multi-dwelling residences that lack the requirements for inclusion of many people with disabilities. It still falls to committed advocates and their isolated efforts to identify and pursue those who have not complied.

Until now, these requirements have applied only to new multi-family dwellings. These dwellings must be “adaptable,” so that a person with a disability can make whatever modifications are necessary to live there. But awareness is growing that daily living and integration into the community mean not only
occupancy of an accessible dwelling, but also the ability to conduct business locally, recreate, and visit friends in their homes. A basic level of “visitability” for residential dwellings is the newest effort. Last June, Rep. Jan Shakowsky of Illinois introduced H.R. 2353, the Inclusive Home Design Act of 2003, a bill that would require
“all newly constructed, federally assisted, single family houses and town houses to meet minimum standards of visitability for persons with disabilities.”

Most Americans live in single-family dwellings. No requirements exist to make these dwellings usable or visitable by those with disabilities. Furthermore, little has been done to enlighten those who are planning and building new single-family residences and townhouses about the simple modifications that could be made, at truly insignificant additional expense, to make new homes adaptable and “visitable.” A bill like H.R.2353 would make this happen.

The proposed legislation requires that each new dwelling have:

• at least one zero-step entrance on an accessible route at the front, side or back of the home, or through an attached garage–whichever is most feasible for the given terrain;

• a minimum of 32" of clear space
in all main floor interior passage doorways;

• a usable bathroom with at least a toilet and sink on the main level;

• bathroom walls built with blocking for the later installation of grab bars as needed;

• electrical and climate controls such as light switches, sockets and thermostats located at reachable heights.

Average added costs for providing these features in a newly constructed home are minimal. For a home built on a concrete slab, the average added cost would be $98. For a home with a basement or crawl space, the average would be $573. These features would also expand the potential market for resale. Even homeowners without disabilities now can foresee problems as they age that might force them to move out of their homes or to spend a great deal of money retrofitting.
H.R. 2353 was introduced in Congress months ago. It has been sitting in two committees of the House (Financial Services and Veterans’ Affairs) with no action since then. Many bills die in
committee. Your calls, letters, and e-mails to your Representative can keep this bill alive. Tell your Senators and Representative how important this bill is for all Americans. Tell them that no federally-assisted buildings, including residences of any kind, should be built without certain features that would make them visitable by a person with a disability. If you need to know how to contact your Representatives or Senators, call Nancy Hodgins at the Bergen hip office.
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  Jennie Wilson receives scholarship
 The New Jersey Coalition on Women and Disabilities recently awarded a $500 scholarship to hip member Jennie Wilson of New Milford. The Coalition is an organization that promotes greater
participation of women with disabilities
in their communities and encourages each woman to seize opportunities to bring about positive change. The grant was awarded to Jennie to help her pursue her education at Bergen Community College, where she is a second year student. Jennie, 22, has cerebral palsy. She wrote a remarkable essay about herself and her goals in life and competed with other women with disabilities from New Jersey for this scholarship. Three other women besides Jennie were the fortunate recipients of the Coalition’s annual grants. The
following is an excerpt from her essay that we would like to share with our hipNews readers.
Education is important to me because I am the first in my family to receive an American education; I also want to be the first to graduate from college. My mother grew up in Vietnam during the oppressive times of the war. She could not complete school. She always told me, “Education is the best way to advance in this world.” Her words are engrained in the back of my mind always.–Jennie Wilson  
hip congratulates Jennie on her award, and we encourage her along with many other hip members to work toward their goals and follow their dreams.
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  Now hear this!
 hip’s newest Bergen County program is an initiative reaching out to members of our community who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. Eileen Stewart has joined the staff as project coordinator, introducing our Centers for Independent Living to the hearing loss community. Eileen is fluent in American Sign Language and knowledgeable about deaf culture. She will assist on issues of specific interest to individuals, as well as in making all independent living services and activities accessible. Eileen can be reached at 201 996-9100 (phone) or
201 996-9424 (TDD).
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  Moving from here to there
 Both the Hudson and Bergen Centers for Independent Living will soon have a new ability to set up programs to prepare high school students for transitioning to adult life. Effective April 1st, through grants from the NJ Department of Education, funds will be available for a three-year period to assist students and families to prepare for their future. Increased staff at the CILs will reach out to schools, provide help for college entrance, for employment, for making use of community resources–and getting ready for adult life. Consult the next issue of hipNews for updated information.
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  ‘Twas the season to be jolly
 Many thanks to the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and the parishioners of Saint Peter’s Church in River Edge for their generosity throughout the holiday season. We were able to distribute turkeys and full Thanksgiving dinners to many families. As we moved closer to the Christmas and Chanukah season, an outpouring of gifts came to hip’s Hackensack office to be shared with many of our consumers–toys for children, clothing and household items for adults, food baskets, gift certificates–a splendid array Consumers dropped by to pick up their holiday gifts, and in many cases our wonderful staff acted as Santa making deliveries. Generous people throughout the community donated all the items. When thanked, one wonderful woman, who delivered 20 gifts, said, “I’m doing this for selfish reasons–it makes me feel so good.”
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  Two unique programs
 Bergen Ease (a component of NJ EASE) provides information and assistance, as well as care management, for people with disabilities and their families. Throughout the state the EASE Program provides services to people who are 60 and older; however, Bergen County recognizes that younger adults have similar needs. The only two programs geared toward people with disabilities from 18–59 years old are administered by hip.
Support for Independent Living (coordinated by Patty Fantin) provides care management for those 18–59 to identify needs, and provide linkage and coordination to existing services. The Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (administered by Karen Gutshall) provides similar services to caregivers who are 60 and over who are providing temporary or permanent assistance to people with disabilities, age 18–59. We at hip are pleased to administer these two unique programs in our state.
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  LEAD has busy season
 LEAD, our program for high school students who are blind or visually impaired, has kept students busy this fall with a variety of activities. In October, they attended an assistive technology instruction held by DeWitt and Associates. This event provided hands-on training on the latest computer equipment and technology used by people with visual impairments. The Central and North Region’s technology events occurred on the same day at different locations. Students had the unique experience of interacting with one another between the two sites and played a computer card game of crazy 8’s! The capabilities of modern technology! We finished up the calendar year with always-popular holiday parties for each region.
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  Membership Year Up and Running
 Our 2004 membership year is under way, and many have chosen to start the New Year right! Thanks to new and renewing members of hip. We are grateful for their commitment to the advancement of our Center for Independent Living for people with disabilities.

Todd Adams

Olivia & Luisa Albuquerque

Susan Anderson

Susan Andrews

John Asadourian

Filippa Balistrieri

Jessica Barbiero

Tina Barbulean

Linda Barr

Megan Barron

Arthur Bartnove

Walter Bartolomucci Jr.

Linda Bassette

Annie G. Been

Maryann Behnke

Thomas Bengaff

Gilbert Benson

Sharon Berman

Joan Bermingham

Mr & Mrs. Darrell Bethea*

Diana Betzabe Guerrero-Huerta

Janice & Vince Blehl

Paula Bloom

Thomas Bodenburg

Beverly Bookbinder

Lucille Borrelli

Douglas Brocker

Rosa Brusco

Mildred & George Bullerdick

Mary Ruth Burke

Trish Carney

Stephen Cataldo*

Richard & Kay Chase*

Armine Chilian

Rose Ciappio

George D. Clark

David Clark

Elizabeth Cohen

Joseph P. Connors Sr.

Margaret Cook Levy

James Corbett

Jean & Jim Csaposs*

Ivan Cueva

Mr. & Mrs. James Daly

Robert D’Andrea

Russell & Joan D’Angelo

Jane Davidson

Cathy Deats

John Michael Della Valle

Frank & Palma Deriso

Ralph M. DeSimone

John De Witt*

Donald Disch

Josephine Donalson

June & James Donohue

Barbara Dublin*

J. Robert Duffy*

Dennis Dusevic

George Dyer

Joyce Eberhardt

Paulette Eberly

Austin Epstein

Mildred Evans

Patricia Fantin

Anthony Favorito

George V. Fedor

Edward Fedush

Richard Finan

Kurt Fisher

Thomas Franco

Stephanie Frank

Virginia Flynn

Gerry Galvin

Laurie Galvin

Eileen Gardner

Ethan & Eileen Goff

Lynn & Alan Gold

Bette L. Halfmann

Ann Hamis

Estelle Harrison

William J. Hart, Jr.

Bojane Heap

Ceil Heller

Dana Marie Hemmings

Nancy L. Henry

Richard & Amelia Herman

Anita W. Hernandez

Elizabeth Hill

Frank Hiza Jr.

Nancy & Leonard Hodgins

Lourenz Hunt

Louis Intorre

Jamie E. Ingram

Peggy Jackson

Lorraine Jacovelli

Jay Janiec

Kathleen Jucker

Nancy Judge

Hanneh Kalyoussef

William Kaplow

The Keller Family

Lorraine Kendel

Timothy Kerr

Diane Kowalchuk

Estelle Krumenaker

Richard Kubik

Jeanne LaRaia

Virginia L. Laughlin

Frank Leahy

Mort & Eve Levinson

Gloria Lieberstein

Richard Lillis

Robert & Lea Liparini

Roy Lippin

Rose Macaluso

Margaret Mahoney

Ann Maintennis

Helen Marshall

Eileen R. Martin

Terrence Martin*

William Matthews

Louise Mazza

Richard McDuffie

Laura McLarnon

Luis M. Mendez

Rosina Meola

Joseph Molee

Lucy Montalvo

Mary Ellen Morgan

Jo Ann Mullings

Letty J. Munz, Ph.D

Ernestine Murph

Anna Navatta, Esq.

Joseph Nocito

Paul Norman

Mary Beth Nugent

Jeannette Oliveri

Rosemary Overton

Margaret Papageorgion

Ji Hyede Park

Raymond Payton

Andrew Pecorella

Ador M. Peralta

Don Perlman

Dr. Sandra Ruth Pinkerton

Francine Plescia

Carol Prellberg

David Reiter

Joseph Revello

Rosemarie Rose

Evan Rosenthal

Lil & Len Rubin

Beverly & Richard Ryan

Steve Sacks

Eugene Samsun

Frances I. Schwartz

Sylvia Schwartz*

Mary Scott

Stephanie Seid

Frances Shackelton

Phil Sheridan

Nicole Shoebridge

Roy Sierssen

Maureen Skeahan

Lynn E. Smith

Frank Solensky

Salvatore & Joan Stolfo

James Stoney

Jo Ann Struzienski

Stephanie Thomas

Joan & Drew Thomson

Juan Tise

Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Tobia

Janet Tolliver

Tyrone Towers

Lauren Valenta

Maria Valentin

Marianne Valls

Fred Vanderhoof

Angelissa Vazquez

Ronald Vida

Richard Visanska

Michael F. Visone

Roberta Wailes

Sol Wajchman

Larry & Paula Walsh

Warren Williams

Kathy Wood

Carolyn E.R. Woodward*

Nancy Zweben

Corporate Members:

“Sweet Heaven,” Trenton, NJ

Verizon Pioneers

* Life Members
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  hip Programs
 hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the Independent Living Needs of People with Disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

Founded in 1980, Heightened Independence & Progress (hip) has come a long way from its humble origins. hip not only continues to provide vital assistance through information, referral, advocacy, and peer counseling, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties. The following is a summary of hip programs, with the project coordinator’s name and location.

Community Advocacy and Outreach Program seeks to promote full inclusion through advocacy, education, and legislation. Contact: Nancy Hodgins (Bergen)

Project Outreach to Disabled Minorities directs all Independent Living Services to individuals with disabilities of Afro-American or Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish. Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson).

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) facilitates acquisition of services and adaptive devices such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids and more. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Modification Access Project (MAP) assists with barrier-free home renovation projects from concept to completion. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) converts written materials into Braille, large print, computer disk, and audio tape formats. Contact: Cathy Zimmerman (Bergen)

ABLE–Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts maintains a year-round schedule of outdoor activities for persons with vision loss. Contact: Mike Visone (Hudson)

Support for Independent Living (SIL), a component of Bergen EASE, provides ongoing care management services through assessment, linkage, and coordination for people with disabilities. Contact: Patty Fantin (Bergen)

Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide project for teenagers with vision loss, is geared toward the development of a variety of life skills. Contact: Patty Fantin (Bergen)

Adjustment to Vision Loss coordinates peer support groups and assists with access to mental health professionals for individuals with vision loss. Contact: Nancy Hodgins (Bergen)

Support Groups

In Bergen: COPE (Multiple Sclerosis) and Women with Disabilities. Contact: Paula Walsh.

Membership Meetings offer an update on the latest issues in Independent Living and an interesting theme, ranging from health care to hip’s annual picnic. Contact: Paula Walsh (Bergen) or Mike Visone (Hudson)

On the Move provides opportunities for young adults with physical, sensory, or learning disabilities to participate in recreation and social skills development programs. Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen)

Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects. Contact: Noris Nunez (Hudson)

Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP) provides care management to Bergen County residents 60 and over who are providing care for younger adults with physical disabilities. Contact: Karen Gutshall (Bergen)

Outreaching to People Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Contact: Eileen Stewart (Bergen)
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  “Less Stress”
 “Project Less Stress” will kick off in the spring to encourage Bergen County seniors with disabilities to better handle stress in their lives. A six-session yoga and guided meditation group will help those over 60 learn techniques to enhance health and reduce stress. Participants will meet twice a month in the early evening for three months at a central location. Martin Bland, a yoga instructor experienced in working with people with disabilities, will lead the program. Some door-to-door transportation will be available. Contact Paula Walsh for further information.
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  hip Holiday Party
 Life Members Tamiko and Darrell Bethea were honored at the hip Holiday Party on December 21st for their outstanding generosity to hip in recent years. The symbolic hip trophy presented by President John De Witt was a complete surprise to Darrell and Tamiko, who traveled from Bordentown to attend the party. A record attendance of 159 made for a wonderfully festive event at Gatsby’s in Cresskill.

Pot O’ Gold Winners Announced: Two family members of hip staffers were the lucky winners of our annual Pot O’ Gold 50-50. The first prize, $1,216, went to Mary Carney, mother of Trish Carney, and the second prize, $304, went to Samantha Rodriguez, 6-year-old granddaughter of Lucy Montalvo. Timothy Kerr received the $50 prize for selling the most raffles. Congratulations to all!!
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  hip Meetings and Happenings

Membership Meetings
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Hudson office

January – (No Meeting)

February 24 – “First Aid Tips”

March 23 – “Rap Session”

Hudson hip Writers’ Group meets at the Hudson office, 2815 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, on from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month


Women’s Support Group meets on Mondays at the Bergen office:

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
January 5, February 2, March 1 & 15.

COPE (M.S. Support Group) meets on the last Thursday of each month. Call ahead for location.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

January 29, February 26, March 25.
Bergen Consumer Meetings

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Community Services Building
327 E. Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus.
To be placed on the mailing list, call Paula Walsh at Bergen hip.

February 17 Topic To Be Announced

Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts (ABLE)

January 10
Hike and Winter Party
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