hipnews Summer 2004 Edition
 
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Transition, Transition, Transition!
Transition: Two Success Stories
Transitioning Is Connected at the hip
From the ADVOCATE'S DESK
Election Challenge Grants Awarded for Second Year
ELECTION DAY, November 2
The View from Hudson
TWO NEW WEBSITES UP AND RUNNING!
Hudson hip Active in Advocacy
New Members of hip
We Mourn
A Time to Celebrate
hip's MOONLIGHT CRUISE DINNER DANCE
SCHOOL'S OUT!
"On the Move"
hip Meetings & Happenings
hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the
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  Transition, Transition, Transition!
  
 If we sound repetitious, it's on purpose! Transition is the BIG WORD at hip these days! And why not? A long-standing goal of our two Centers for Independent Living has been to take a more pro-active role in assisting young people with disabilities to fulfill their dreams as they move into adult life. At last, with funding from the New Jersey Department of Education, hip is launching programs in both Bergen and Hudson Counties, with two fulltime, well-qualified professionals on board, to make our dream a reality.
Our transition coordinators joined the Bergen and Hudson hip staffs in mid June. Vivian Paulen (Bergen) and Marian Padilla (Hudson) are already making waves as they start their work with students with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 21. They will also act as resource persons for school staff and family members during the transition process.
 
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  Transition: Two Success Stories
  
 hip is working with a young man who graduated from Ridgefield High School this June. John Nolasco, shown here with his date Tania Valdivia before their senior prom, experienced a catastrophic accident in December 2002 playing pickup football. The Record covered John's graduation - his remarks to classmates highlighted his wonderful, positive attitude. John is planning to attend Bergen Community College.
At another recent end-of-year event, County Surrogate Michael Dressler told his audience of transitioning students at Bergen Tech about his diving accident 34 years ago and its aftermath: Self-pity and self-doubt are powerful. They can be relentless. They can force you to life's sidelines and make you a cynical, bitter critic of others rather than a constructive force...Loved ones, friends, and total strangers...rallied to my side...I decided I would go to college, then law school, pursuing a career in government service. I was fortunate - the dream has been realized...I believe all they wanted to see from me first was a sincere determination that I was willing to try...Remember, failure is often a better teacher than success...and when you conquer it, the taste of triumph is sweeter.
 
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  Transitioning Is Connected at the hip
  
 Our welcome mat is out to greet and connect transitioning high school students with disabilities to many helpful services as they plan moving from high school into the worlds of post-secondary education and work. Where is that welcome mat? At the Bergen and Hudson hip Centers for Independent Living.
hip's goal is to link transitioning students to resources to help them make good choices and sound decisions as they plan their futures. The links will include peer support; post-secondary education resources; the opportunity to meet and interact with role models in their communities; and information about employment options, volunteering, internships, scholarship opportunities, and service agencies that can provide funding for vocational training. Acquiring self-help skills, such as learning to take a pro-active role in the development of one's own Individual Education Plan (IEP), will help start a positive journey into the adult world.
Working with students with disabilities and their families throughout high school is hip's most recent initiative. Maintaining that working relationship with students, post graduation, is a mark of hip's crucial role as a hub of activities for ongoing independent living needs.
We are reaching out to transitioning students in a variety of ways. Readers of hipNews can help. To "get connected" at Bergen hip, contact Vivian Paulen, transition coordinator, at 201-996-9100, Ext. 12. To "get connected" at Hudson hip, call Marian Padilla, transition coordinator, at 201-413-1200. We welcome your connection!
 
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  From the ADVOCATE'S DESK
  
 Because there is still so much to be done, we often fail to acknowledge the many "victories" achieved through the ADA and related legislation. The persistence and determination of so many individuals with disabilities, their friends and family members have enabled these advances. These are the people who have seen or experienced first hand the lack of access or unfair discriminatory treatment. Rather than accept or bemoan these injustices, they advocate on their own behalf and seek help from others.
Self-Advocacy Triumphs
Following are some achievements that are a direct result of the initiative and determination of consumers who benefited from hip's advocacy efforts. In some of these cases, the ADA was invoked and in others the Fair Housing Act. There is much to be celebrated, but space permits highlighting only a few:
. After many months of refusals, a condominium complex had to allow a renting tenant to install an access ramp at her apartment.
. A landlord was forced to allow installation of a tenant's ramp after repeatedly ripping them out previously.
. An exercise franchise was persuaded to allow a person with a disability to join and participate after first refusing her membership.
. A government agency was persuaded to make good on a job offer to a person with a disability. They had appeared to be reconsidering the offer after finding out that the applicant would require a reasonable accommodation.
. A local ferry system made some important changes to its facilities and services to accommodate passengers with disabilities. More are still in the process.
. A municipality is picking up a resident's garbage from outside her garden apartment because her disability prevents her from carting it to a distant dumpster. In another garbage disposal victory, the superintendent is collecting the garbage for a tenant with a disability.
. A city housing authority has provided a tenant with a disability an appropriately located accessible parking spot that was previously denied.
. A driver with a disability regained his license after a police officer assumed the disability rendered him incapable of driving.
. A landlord relocated a garden apartment tenant so she could have an accessible parking space close to her apartment.
. An employee with a disability was able to receive rest breaks and acquire a ground floor work location in a building without an elevator. The location of staff meetings was also moved from the second floor to the ground floor.
These are a few of the "advocacy victories" of hip consumers I have witnessed or been part of. I hope that by listing them, we will all be inspired to continue with similar efforts and accomplish even more.
 
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  Election Challenge Grants Awarded for Second Year
  
 The New Jersey Developmental Disabilities Council has once again awarded Election Challenge Grants to Bergen and Hudson hip that will enable both offices to continue registering voters with disabilities and assess problems of accessibility at county polling sites. This will be a cooperative effort with Monday Morning groups from both counties and NJ Citizen Action. Many access problems were identified as a result of last year's Election Challenge Grant work. This year we will be able to revisit some of those problem polls to see if corrections have been made and visit new polling sites to identify potential problems.
 
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  ELECTION DAY, November 2
  
 Who must complete a voter registration form to vote on November 2?
1. If you have changed your address since you last voted (even if you moved only two doors away).
2. If you have not voted for years, you may have to re-register. If you are not still actively registered, call the County Elections Division Clerk at 201-336-6100 (Bergen) or 201-795-6550 or 6551 (Hudson).
3. If you have never registered to vote.
Dates to remember:
October 4 - Last date for the Division of Elections to receive your completed voter registration form.
October 27 - Last date to request that an absentee ballot be mailed to your home if you choose not to vote at the polls.
November 2 - Last day for the Division of Elections to receive your
completed absentee ballot.
*Both hip offices have voter
registration forms and absentee ballot request forms.
 
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  The View from Hudson
  
 ADVOCATES GATHER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The 2004 National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) conference was held in Washington, D.C., June 9-12. The conference theme was "Your Vote Counts." Other advocacy priorities were: Civil Rights/ADA Notification Act, Housing, MICASSA, and the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act.
Jim Dickson of the American Association of People with Disabilities gave the keynote address, titled, "People with Disabilities: The Sleeping Giant of American Politics." Dickson emphasized the importance of increasing polling access, registering, and getting people with disabilities to vote in greater numbers. He made several great suggestions to help get people to register and vote. One useful suggestion was to put voter registration forms in each CIL newsletter. He advocated involving other agencies, like local UCP, ARC, and Easter Seals, in "get out the vote" campaigns. Phone banking is another helpful way of increasing voter registration. Dickson also feels people with disabilities should be included in surveys that indicate voter sentiment and issues. This would make public officials aware of the fact that people with disabilities are an increasingly important voting block.
"Just Hop Up" was a workshop presented by June Isaacson Kailes and Brenda Premo, nationally recognized health advocates for people with disabilities. The subject of their lecture was access to medical equipment. They gave a slide presentation showing low examination tables, wheelchair accessible scales, and accessible mammogram equipment.
 
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  TWO NEW WEBSITES UP AND RUNNING!
  
 www.hipcil.org will bring visitors to our full array of information, programs, advocacy alerts, and much more for both the Bergen and Hudson Centers for Independent Living. You will find the names of our Board of Trustees and staff, the hipNews, and the procedure to become a hip member.
www.mts-braille.com brings you to our Multimedia Transcription Service website with all kinds of information regarding the transcription of print into Braille, large print, and audio. Viewers will find a partial list of our many customers and special information related to our growing nationwide textbook department.
We invite hipNews readers to visit our websites and share their comments. We want to hear from you.
 
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  Hudson hip Active in Advocacy
  
 Marianne Valls, Hudson staff member, was honored at New Jersey Citizen Action's annual awards dinner in May for her outstanding advocacy efforts as co-facilitator of the Hudson County Monday Morning Network. Marianne also represented hip at the National Council on Independent Living annual conference in Washington, D.C. The focus of this year's conference was voting rights for people with disabilities.
Hudson Advisory Board member Rich McCormack represented New Jersey at the American Diabetes Association's Rally for the Cure in Washington, D.C. The goal of the rally was to advocate with congressional representatives to raise $10 million for diabetes research.
 
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  New Members of hip
  
 Since the last edition of hipNews, more new and renewing members of hip have joined our ranks. We thank them for their concern for Independent Living!
Leslie Balter
Bernice Baron
Gail Braun
Linda Bush
Susan Carter
James Cherrey
Dolores Cordier
Manuel Cunha
Mr. & Mrs. Bernard Finkel
Lynn Finn
Maureen Gallagher
Maxine Halliburton
Julie Hobart
Carmela Izzo
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Jacobs
Mary Ann Lewis
Joyce Malech
Anne Moore
Robert Musselman
Pilar & Erich Odenheim
Denis Petrucelli
Lee Porter Fair Housing Council
Cathy Price
James Romano
Paula Stefanic

Corporate Member: PaulGro Consulting LLC
 
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  We Mourn
  
 With sorrow, we note the death of former hip Board of Trustee member Terrence Martin. Terry was a loyal and generous friend of hip. During his tenure as a Trustee, he was instrumental in helping us secure our present Bergen office in 1992, and after his Board term expired, he continued to be a generous financial supporter. A talented and knowledgeable financial advisor, Terry founded his own business and later was a financial consultant with PNC Bank. He lost a long and valiant fight against cancer in late May. We extend deepest sympathy to his wife, Gail.
 
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  A Time to Celebrate
  
 Marily Gonzalez, Independent Living Specialist for Hudson hip, this year was honored to be a chaperone for the senior prom at the A. Harry Moore Laboratory School in Jersey City. She was happy to be part of a very special time in the lives of graduates like Xavier Rivera and Julius Rodriguez, shown here with her. Marily has been part of the school's peer mentoring program for the past six years; she works with students with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 21, providing information about hip and other community services to enhance their independent living skills. Great focus is placed on developing strong self-esteem and self-advocacy skills.
 
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  hip's MOONLIGHT CRUISE DINNER DANCE
  
 Our benefit Gala Dinner Dance, this year with a nautical theme, brought 110 merrymakers to the Fort Lee Recreation Center on May 22 for a "cruise" on the "Spirit of hip." All "passengers" had photos taken as they climbed the gangplank. The Recreation Center was decorated in shipboard style, creating the perfect backdrop for dining, dancing, gifts, and fun. Our guest of honor was Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman, District 37, a wonderful friend and supporter of hip and of all people with disabilities. Plans are already beginning to take shape for next year's dinner dance in celebration of hip's 25th Anniversary.
 
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  SCHOOL'S OUT!
  
 LEAD, our statewide program for high school students with vision loss, has seen its 2003-2004 academic year come to a close. In May, participants learned about developing self-advocacy skills at an event held in Spring Lake. In June, they enjoyed a festive "End of Year Celebration" at Camp Marcella in Rockaway with families and LEAD coordinators. Teens from all parts of the state participated in a hands-on workshop, designed to enhance self-confidence skills and build self-esteem, and led by a nationally renowned trainer, Billy Brookshire. This year's high school graduates received certificates of completion. They are (l to r) Rania Ismail, Laquanna Frazier, Shanel Jones, Theresa Granda, Jessica Sisco, Eileen Luciano, and John Ferry.
A LEAD participant recently said, "I am more comfortable with who I am. When I am with others in LEAD, I can truly be myself. I feel like a better person when I am here." From another student, "The coordinators are very understanding and serve as excellent role models, making the experiences more memorable."
We have wrapped up another successful year!
The LEAD program benefits by the involvement of a group of enthusiastic adults: all but two shown here are regional coordinators: (standing) Lynn Reynolds, Sherlock Washington, Ever Lee Hairston, Joe Ruffalo, Billy Brookshire (presentor), and Ohmny Romero. Front center: Ryan Stevens and Patty Fantin (administrator).
 
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  "On the Move"
  
 Christopher Gagliardi (right) proudly displays his Bass Masters trophy, won in a recent fishing tournament held at Darlington Park. Fishing is just one of many activities enjoyed by our young "On the Move" members this spring. Other events were a baseball game, theater and dinner, and the annual hip picnic. "On the Move" has grown not just in numbers but also in the group's eagerness to do lively things together, have fun, and enjoy life.
 
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  hip Meetings & Happenings
  
 HUDSON
Membership Meetings
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Hudson office
NO MEETINGS IN JULY AND AUGUST
September 28
Rap Session/Social Security Update
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.
Hudson hip Happenings
July 17 - Afternoon
Liberty State Park/
Photography Workshop
August 14 - Evening
Medieval Times/Dinner Show
September 18 - Afternoon
Spirit of New Jersey/Lunch Cruise
BERGEN
Women's Support Group meets on Mondays at the Bergen office:
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
July 19, August 2 & 16, September 20
COPE (M.S. Support Group) meets on the last Thursday of each month. Call ahead for location.
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
July 29, August 26 & September 30
Bergen Consumer Meetings
To be placed on the mailing list, call Paula Walsh at Bergen hip.
August 7 - Afternoon
Bergen Outing
A Day at the Meadowlands Race Track
Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts (ABLE)
Annual Swim and Barbecue Day
Vasa Park, Budd Lake, NJ
Saturday, August 21
(Rain date - August 28)
 
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  hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the
  
 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)
Transition Programs assist high school students and families to move from school to adult life. Contact: Vivian Paulen (Bergen) or Marian Padilla (Hudson).
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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