hipnews Spring 2005 Edition
 
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Come to our CILver Celebration!!
A Matter of Life and Death
Bergen County Honors hip’s 25 Years of Service
Welcome to Andrew Skea, IL Transition Coordinator
President’s Budget: “Broken Promises ..."
Project Outreach to Disabled Minorities
MTS Textbooks Reach Braille Readers Nationwide
Community Advocate Joins Hudson Staff
Sometimes Birds Fly North
The View from HUDSON by Marianne Valls
Bobbi Wailes... by Jean Csaposs
LEAD Moves Forward
“On the Move” Springs into Spring
Cash and Counseling Update
We Mourn
Welcome, New and Renewing Members!
hip Programs
hip Meetings & Happenings
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- hipnews Spring 2005 Edition Text Version -


  Come to our CILver Celebration!!
  
 We’re only 25 once–and hip is no exception.  To celebrate our CILver anniversary as a Center for Independent Living (CIL), we’re throwing a party–and we want you all to come.


Where? The Fort Lee Recreation Center


When? Saturday, May 21st, at 6 p.m.


What’s Going On? A dinner dance, with great music, delicious food, prizes, and fun.


Who Will Be There?  Everyone who wants to celebrate with us!


Special Guests?  Our honorees will be three hip participants whose lives span the three generations of our Bergen and Hudson Centers:  Darrell Bethea of Bordentown, Timothy Kerr of Jersey City, and John Nolasco of Fort Lee.

Their accomplishments and their contributions to the life of our organization represent the best of “who we are.”  We’re counting on a splendid turnout to honor these individuals and, through them, all hip participants who have touched our Center during the last 25 years.  Current hip members are receiving invitations.  But if you don’t get one, call Joan at Bergen hip, and an invitation will be on its way to you.  Limited transportation will be provided. Don’t wait–space is limited.
 
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  A Matter of Life and Death
  
 The sad story of Terry Schiavo and the controversy over how long to extend her life remind us all how important it is the make our own wishes very clear on the subject of life support when we can no longer participate in the decision.  For information on how to create a Living Will, call either the Bergen or Hudson office of hip.
 
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  Bergen County Honors hip’s 25 Years of Service
  
 Among the accolades hip has received during our “CILver anniversary” year was the award presented to Executive Director Eileen Goff at Bergen County’s annual Salute to Champions.  Jim Thebery, Director of the County’s Division on Disability Services, bestowed the award on behalf of the County Executive and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  The citation called attention to hip’s dedication to promoting the concept of independent living for all people with disabilities in Bergen County over a quarter of a century.
 
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  Welcome to Andrew Skea, IL Transition Coordinator
  
 We welcome Andrew Skea as the new independent living transition coordinator at Bergen hip.  He brings with him a wealth of experience developed working in the vocational training field in Boston and Jersey City.  Since Andrew’s arrival, the transition services program, which now goes under the moniker of Youth Envisioning Success or YES!, has seen a flurry of activity and is now active in several Bergen County school districts. Between now and the end of the current school year, Andrew will continue to make presentations and facilitate a series of workshops at local schools to improve students’ self-determination and self-advocacy skills.  We also expect to meet with students and parents in our offices to develop independent living plans for program participants.  hip has also recently published our first annual Resource Guide for Bergen County Teens in Transition, which is already being used by hundreds of local students, teachers, and counselors.
  Hudson hip also has a flourishing transition program, under the guidance of Marian Padilla.  Marian can be reached in the Hudson office (201-533-4407, ext. #105).  For more information on the Bergen program, contact Andrew Skea in the Bergen office (201-996-9100, ext. #12).
 
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  President’s Budget: “Broken Promises ..."
  
 

President’s Budget: “Broken Promises and Wrong Priorities”



(reprinted in part from Monday Morning, the newsletter of New Jersey’s grassroots disability community, published by the NJ Developmental Disabilities Council.  The entire article is available at www.njddc.org/mondaymorning.htm)



A statement released by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities says the President’s FY 2006 budget breaks his promise to remove barriers that stand between people with disabilities and the full rights and dignity of citizenship.
  “President Bush’s budget and tax policy, emphasizing wealth over opportunity, simply fail to match his rhetoric,” according to the statement.
  “At a time when America is engaged in a fight for freedom and liberty throughout the world, the President’s budget proposal would jeopardize the freedom, liberties, well being, and very lives of people with disabilities in our own country,” said Curt Decker, chair of the CCD.  
Among the key federal programs targeted for elimination, cutbacks or freezes in funding are Medicaid, housing, employment, and education.  The administration proposes to eliminate $60 billion over 10 years....The President’s budget proposal cuts the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 assisted housing program by 50% and completely eliminates HUD’s 30-year pledge to produce accessible supportive housing for people with disabilities....An action alert has been posted on NACDD’s Legislative Action Center at www.nacdd.org.
  Advocates are urged to log on and send e-mails to their Senators as soon as possible.
 
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  Project Outreach to Disabled Minorities
  
 In Bergen and Hudson Counties, hip has established specific programs to assist people with disabilities in the Hispanic community.  Emphasis is placed on assisting individuals to learn about and use community services.  
Disability-related information, financial benefits, housing, transportation, advocacy, recreation, and translation are addressed by the bilingual project coordinators, as are many other independent living services hip provides.  Contact:  Lucy Montalvo (Bergen hip) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson hip).
 
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  MTS Textbooks Reach Braille Readers Nationwide
  
 Multimedia Transcription Service is gearing up for production of textbooks for the fall semester for Braille readers across the country.  Our staff of 12 transcribers has produced over 150 books, distributed to 22 states.  In addition to the textbooks that comprise a large portion of MTS service, individual orders form a regular part of our work. These include Braille, large print and audiocassette.


Our interpoint embosser is approaching its first anniversary.  The embosser produces Braille on both sides of a page allowing the Braille reader to have materials in a much more condensed format.  It has been a welcome addition, saving paper and time.  For further information, please visit the Multimedia Transcription Service website at mts-braille.com.
 
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  Community Advocate Joins Hudson Staff
  
 Hudson hip is happy to announce the start of a community advocacy program which will focus on individual and systems advocacy issues in Hudson County and statewide.


Angela Mielec joined the Hudson staff on April 1st.  Angela comes to us with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a wealth of experience with the legislative process, and a strong commitment to disability rights issues.  She can be reached at the Hudson office weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (201-533-4407, ext.107). Her e-mail address is amielec.hud@hipcil.org.  Welcome, Angela!
 
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  Sometimes Birds Fly North
  
 We are pleased to announce that Maria Valentin, who relocated short-term to Florida, has now retuned and rejoined our Bergen CIL staff.  Maria coordinates the MAP and SNAP programs, and conducts Access Link interviews.
 
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  The View from HUDSON by Marianne Valls
  
 

For people with disabilities, the days when jobs were a dime a dozen never existed.  The unemployment rate for us has always hovered around 70%.  Perhaps people with disabilities, including myself, have relied too much on the experts to find us employment.  If so, a lot of us have been looking in the wrong place!


The reality is that we must look for a job like everyone else.  The trouble is getting started.  How?  First off, look beyond your disability and learn to assess yourself in terms of your skills.  How do you determine your talents and abilities?  Even a college degree does not, in most instances, prepare you for the world of work.  Volunteering is an excellent way to test the employment waters.


Working for nothing may sound impractical especially when one’s budget is limited.  However, the experience you gain by creating your own job-training program clearly outweighs the disadvantages.  Many times, a volunteer may be compensated for lunch and carfare.  For able-bodied people, a first-time job at McDonald’s often forms the basis of a work ethic, but unfortunately, many people with disabilities are unable to fling burgers:  they must look for other avenues.  Becoming a volunteer can be the start of your work experience, and will look great on your resume.


Volunteering is a Good Teacher



Volunteering teaches you important skills that may not necessarily be related to essential job duties.  Volunteering teaches you to be organized and disciplined.  It teaches you things about office routines that you don’t learn at college.  People skills are invaluable lessons that can’t be gotten out of a book.  Learning how to develop good working relationships with colleagues is an essential job skill.


You may be able to create your own job opportunities by volunteering.  In the late 1980s, I began working for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in Hudson County.  At first, my job was to recruit volunteers.  Eventually. I started to work on advocacy issues.  The Americans with Disabilities Act had yet to be passed, and many state and local concerns needed to be addressed.  The routine of an office was foreign to me, even though I had a bachelor’s degree.   Textbook knowledge seldom has anything to do with the real world.


A meeting I attended to launch hip in Hudson County gave me a whole new way to think about disability.  I soon began to volunteer for this new Center for Independent Living.  I found that hip was staffed largely by people with disabilities–everyone was expected to pull her own weight.


Getting out and about in the community is an essential part of searching for a job.  Networking is a most effective way of looking for employment.  My own experience is a case in point.  In addition to writing this column and writing flyers for Hudson hip, I now write for People with Disabilities, a magazine published by the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities, plus other Council publications.  I was recently hired to write for ABLE, a newspaper expanding into New Jersey.  Networking is responsible for some of my good fortune.  Networking is about connections.  Connections build one upon the other and sometimes put one in the right place at the right time.  Volunteering can build connections that can lead to a wonderful career.

 
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  Bobbi Wailes... by Jean Csaposs
  
 

Bobbi Wailes...A Major Player at Lincoln Center by Jean Csaposs



Bobbi Wailes, the third hip participant we are profiling in hipNews during our 25th anniversary year, proved to be an exciting subject indeed.  As director of programs and services for people with disabilities for Lincoln Center, Bobbi’s work touches the lives of thousands of children and adults each year.  Her mission is to welcome as many people with disabilities as she can to New York’s premier performing arts center, and for those who can’t come, to take Lincoln Center to them–to 18 hospitals and nursing homes in the NY Metropolitan area.


Children with disabilities come to the Center with a family member free of charge for special weekend performances geared to their age.  
“I look at it this way,” Bobbi told a Record interviewer recently.  “These children are learning from a young age that they can go anywhere and be anything –something I didn’t have when I was young.” A wheelchair user as the result of polio at age 12, Bobbi’s understanding of accessibility transcends ramps and door widths–she is keenly alert to the needs of people with vision or hearing loss, as well as other disabilities.  Bobbi directs a staff of about 90 volunteers.  Part of her responsibility is sensitivity training for new Center staff members.


A dynamic woman with a sharp wit and a keen sense of humor, Bobbi is brisk and disarming in conversation.  When asked what prompted her to take on the Lincoln Center job after early retirement from her career at NYU’s School of Medicine, she dismisses the question with, “I hate shopping and I don’t do lunch.  This was a challenge I couldn’t pass up.”  
Bobbi is used to accepting challenges.  Early in her life, she engaged in a variety of sports, finding archery the most rewarding because it’s not that difficult to do sitting down.  Not satisfied with merely performing, she competed and won a gold medal at the 1964 Para-lympics in Tokyo.  She is currently chairperson of the Fort Lee ADA Advisory Board, a group that has helped that community become a leader among Bergen County municipalities in accessibility issues.


Bobbi’s dream, however, was an acting career, and she has played roles in theatre and TV.  Still waiting to be “discovered,” Bobbi says her current career is very satisfying.


She wants to help as many children as she can to expand their horizons and she wants to leave the world “better than I found it.”  We’re with you, Bobbi!
 
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  LEAD Moves Forward
  
 The LEAD program continues to grow, with 33 active participants throughout New Jersey. In LEAD (leadership, education, advocacy, and determination), the goal is to assist high school students who are blind or visually impaired to develop the skills they need to transition successfully to adult life, higher education, and employment.  Activities lined up for the spring include instruction in assistive technology, and a trip to Trenton, where students will sharpen their advocacy skills and try out an actual accessible voting machine.  In May, participants from two of the regions will travel to Camden by light rail for a tour of the historic Battleship New Jersey.  
Finally, our end-of-year weekend wrap-up for all regions will take us to Camp Marcella in June, where parents are invited to join in celebrating the year’s progress.
Patty Fantin, LEAD Coordinator, is joined by the entire hip staff in acknowledging the fine efforts of the six LEAD coordinators, who are the best role models ever.
 
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  “On the Move” Springs into Spring
  
 “On the Move,” our program for teenagers and young adults with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities, is in full swing.  In the works are a movie and dinner, hip’s annual picnic, and a baseball game.  “On the Move” coordinators Lucy Montalvo and Bill Jones are enthusiastically looking forward to the 2005 spring season of this wonderful program.
 
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  Cash and Counseling Update
  
 The Cash and Counseling Personal Preference Program is a demonstration project administered by the N J Division of Disability Services.  This successful program enables select Medicaid-eligible consumers to direct and manage their own personal care services through a monthly allowance.  During the past five years, hip has been working with consumers from Bergen County who have benefited by having more independence, control, and flexibility.  For example, one hip participant has been able to attend college and be active in the community because of her involvement with the program.
  Paula Walsh, project coordinator for the Personal Preference program at the Bergen hip office, recently traveled to Iowa to give valuable input to the committee establishing a similar program in their state.  Her presentation was well received.  We wish Iowa good luck in establishing their own Cash and Counseling program.
 
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  We Mourn
  
 The recent death of Selma Meltzer, a volunteer who assisted with the distribution of hipNews over the years.
 
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  Welcome, New and Renewing 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 (18-59). Contact:
Patty Fantin (Bergen)



Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide project for high school students 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: Marian Padilla (Hudson); Andrew Skea (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)

 
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  hip Meetings & Happenings
  
 







HUDSON

Membership Meetings
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Hudson office
 
April (No Meeting)
May 12 (Nutrition)
June 9 (Assistive Technology)
 
 

BERGEN

Women’s Support Group meets on Mondays at the Bergen office:
 
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 4 & 11
May 2 & 16
June 6 & 20
 
COPE (M.S. Support Group) meets on the last Thursday of each month. Call ahead for location.
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 28
May 26
June 30
 
Bergen Consumer Meetings
May 10 Community Services Building, Paramus, 7-9 p.m.

You Can Do It: Gaining Self Confidence

Back by popular demand, Jim Warnke will share practical ideas to cope with everyday ups and downs. This promises to be a lively and fun evening for all. Jim’s wonderful sense of humor and insight will give us all food for thought.
 
To be placed on the mailing list to receive information about consumer meetings, call Paula Walsh at Bergen hip. 201-996-9100, Ext. 19.



Annual hip Picnics
Bergen Picnic
June 21
Englewood Cliffs Boat Basin.

Hudson Picnic
Date and location to be announced

hip picnics take place on lovely June evenings, with delicious food, entertainment, and lots of time to socialize. Details to follow.



Celebrating hip’s 25 Years!
May 21 – hip’s CILver Celebration marking our 25 years and the achievements of our hip participants. Fort Lee Recreation Center. See page 1 article.



Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts (ABLE)
 
June 4
Join ABLE for our annual Sandy
Hook beach hike. The shore birds, warm sand, and golden sunshine will conspire with ABLE hikers to welcome another season of outdoor activities.
 
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