hipnews Fall 2006 Edition
 
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Increasing Access to the Arts in Hudson County
hipNews went on vacation!
Dip Into hip’s Pot O’ Gold, You May Be a Winner!
From the ADVOCATE’S DESK
Annual Meeting Set for November 14, Get Ready for
QUESTION: ...
National Disability Employment Awarenes Month
New Freedom Initiative Awards
Shooting from the hip!
How Cool Are We!
AVL Facilitators Enhance Skills
LEAD Season Ends
Hudson Students Achieve Their Goals
Bergen’s YES! Program Flourishing
On the Move – Moving Again!!
We Mourn . . .
What a Difference a Ramp Makes
A New Home and New Mobility
The View from HUDSON
Roadside Assistance Program of Bergen County
Hudson hip’s Summer Celebration
Welcome Back, Marianne
Adjusting to the Job
Calendar of Events October, November, December
hip Programs
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- hipnews Fall 2006 Edition Text Version -


  Increasing Access to the Arts in Hudson County
  
 Hudson hip is working with the Hudson County


Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs to increase access to the arts. During the past several months hip staff have been participating with a planning committee to ensure that cultural and artistic events will be accessible to people with disabilities.
hip has provided consultation and information about adaptive presentations to individual artists and performing arts organizations. In addition, hip collaborated with the ADA-IT Center at Cornell University to provide extensive training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it applies to arts and cultural venues.


“In-Touch,” an art exhibit for people who are visually impaired, organized by Hob’Art, will be held at Hoboken City Hall, 94 Washington Street, October 15-November 10. For further information, call Geri Fallo, Hoboken Cultural Affairs, 201-420-2207.
Jersey City Studio Tour plans a weekend bus tour, October 21-22, for people with disabilities. The lift-equipped bus will travel to several accessible art venues throughout the city on Sunday, October 22 only. For further information, contact Greg Brickey, Jersey City Cultural Affairs Office, or Rebecca Feranec, Studio Tour coordinator for Pro Arts Jersey City, 201-736-7057. The bus is being provided through Transcend and the Hudson County Department of Health & Human Services.


A wheelchair ramp will be installed in October at the front entrance of the Miller Branch of the Jersey City Public Library, 489 Bergen Avenue.


Here’s a great example of an effort to increase program accessibility despite inaccessible facilities and a very limited budget. After participating in ADA training, the curator of the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society Museum in Jersey City came up with a very creative solution. He has developed a portable exhibit, which he is calling “Museum in a Trunk.” This exhibit contains artifacts with tactile and auditory features and can be taken anywhere. We are looking forward to featuring this exhibit at a hip membership meeting in the spring.


Hats off to the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and all of the arts organizations that are doing such a great job of making our community more inclusive.
 
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  hipNews went on vacation!
  
 If you didn’t receive a copy of hipNews this past summer, don’t blame the mail carrier! hipNews took a vacation break, but we’re back now with an issue chock full of news and features.
 
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  Dip Into hip’s Pot O’ Gold, You May Be a Winner!
  
 Yes – it’s that time again. Raffle books will soon be out for this year’s always-exciting Pot O’ Gold. Last year’s winners took home $1,231 as first prize, $308 as second prize. That’s nothing to sneeze at! Not to mention the $50 prize to the person selling the most raffles. So keep watching the mail, and get those winning tickets into the Pot before December 16th. Our Annual Meeting on November 14th is a great time to return your completed tickets and pick up more. Rhea Hess, our wonderful chairperson, will be happy to oblige.
 
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  From the ADVOCATE’S DESK
  
 by Nancy Hodgins

Olmstead Decision Begins to Have an Impact



In 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court came to a decision in Olmstead v. L.C., the vanguard case in the struggle to provide the option of community based long-term care programs and services for people with disabilities. Most Medicaid long-term care programs and services had to be provided only to those who were living in institutions, resulting in what is referred to as Medicaid’s “institutional bias.” “Free Our People” became the slogan for the struggle to counter this bias. The Olmstead decision also spurred the federal government to issue a mandate to every state to develop their own comprehensive plan to provide long-term care programs and services that allowed individuals to receive these services while continuing to live in their homes or communities. These plans have been dubbed “Olmstead Plans.”


Seven years after the Olmstead decision, we are able to view the statistics and determine whether this case has made a difference. It is now quite evident that this decision is bringing about a change in the attitudes and policies of some government agencies providing programs and services for long-term care.


Here is a summary of the national statistics that have been compiled by Johnson/Medstat (comprehensive data can be found at www.hcbs.org). Johnson/Medstat has compiled national averages as well as each state’s Medicaid expenditures for long-term care. I am very grateful to Steve Gold, a dedicated disability advocate who analyzed and forwarded this information to other disability advocates so we could all view the “big picture.” This helps us to see how important it is to keep the pressure on so that Medicaid long-term care expenditures will continue to move in the right direction.


Here are the statistics viewed nationally:
-- In 1993 (about 6 years before the Olmstead decision) over 35 billion dollars (84%) of the total Medicaid national Long-Term Care (LTC) was spent for recipients in institutions. The portion going to those utilizing community-based long-term care programs and services was only 6.5 billion dollars (16%).
-- Two years later, 1995, there was no significant change.


-- Change (small as it might be) began happening about 6 years after the Olmstead decision (1999). Two percent less (82% instead of 84%) of Medicaid’s long-term care expenditures went to patients in institutions and 18% went to community-based services, a small movement in the right direction.


-- In 2004 we see real change: a 9% drop from 1993 in Medicaid’s long-term care expenditures for institutions.
-- In 2005 the change becomes quite dramatic. 68.5 % went to institutions and 31.5% went to community-based services, a doubling (since 1993) of the percent of long-term care services provided in the community.
While we have much to be encouraged about on a national level, it is disturbing that New Jersey lags behind. In 2005, New Jersey spent 71.6% (higher than the national average of 68.5%) for institutionally based long-term care. New Jersey spent only 28.4% (lower than the national average of 31.5%) for community-based services.


We must especially keep the pressure on our elected officials in New Jersey. This is the only way to ensure that New Jersey will strengthen our Olmstead Plan. Choice is essential to those who need long-term care yet wish to remain in their homes and communities. It certainly makes sense on a fiscal level, and most importantly, choice makes sense on a human level.
hip is doing its part. In carrying out the principles of independent living, hip continues to assist consumers with disabilities who are now in institutions but who wish to return to their communities. hip also provides assistance to maintain independence for those now living at home but facing the possibility of institutionalization. Let’s all keep the pressure on! Write to your elected officials. Let them know how important this issue is to all of us.
 
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  Annual Meeting Set for November 14, Get Ready for
  
 A big event on hip’s fall calendar is always our Annual Meeting, which alternates between Bergen and Hudson locations. This year we will meet at the Fort Lee Hilton on November 14 at 7 p.m. In addition to the usual Year in Review, business meeting and election of Board members, we’re planning something new and exciting: Entertainment!


A performance by a five-piece band of present and former students of MAVIS (Music Association for Visually Impaired Students) will add sparkle to our evening. MAVIS has been giving joy through music for almost 30 years by providing instruments and instruction free of charge to anyone in New Jersey who is legally or totally blind.


MAVIS students, ages 5 through 78, play a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, violin, trumpet, and drums. Their musical repertoire ranges from American standards and oldies to country, and light rock from the forties to the present.


Get ready for an evening to remember. Now is also the time to join or renew your membership in hip for 2007. A form is enclosed for your convenience.
 
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  QUESTION: ...
  
 QUESTION: What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?



ANSWER: Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The Office of Disability Employment Policy has the lead in planning NDEAM activities and materials to increase the public’s awareness of the contributions and skills of American workers with disabilities. Various programs carried out throughout the month also highlight the specific employment barriers that still need to be addressed and removed.
This effort to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment actually began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”
 
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  National Disability Employment Awarenes Month
  
 October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)



Assistant Secretary of Labor W. Roy Grizzard, Jr. recently told a group of human resource and marketing professionals, meeting in New York City, that there is a strong business case for hiring people with disabilities. “There are more educated and better prepared workers with disabilities than ever before,” he said. “Right now businesses have the opportunity to tap into a young and growing talent pool” of more than 1.5 million college students who identify themselves as having one or more disabilities.


Dr. Grizzard heads the Office of Disability Employment Policy, or ODEP, the newest agency in the U.S. Department of Labor, established in 2001. He describes ODEP as “a small agency with a BIG mission.”
The mission is to provide national leadership by developing and influencing disability-related employment policy as well as practices affecting the employment of people with disabilities. The agency’s vision is “A world in which people with disabilities have unlimited employment opportunities.”


During his talk, Dr. Grizzard asked, “Do you know that nearly 10 percent of all undergraduates, or approximately 1.53 million students, report having one or more disabilities? ODEP’s employer research,” he continued, “produced findings that
support a strong business case for the employment of people with disabilities.” This business case demonstrates that investing in workers with disabilities is indeed a sound investment.


Employers’ top concern is finding qualified employees.
When employers learn that more and more young people with disabilities are graduating from high school and college, and that people who experience a disability have creative problem-solving skills, they recognize that many candidates with
disabilities do have the talents, skills, and experiences for which they are recruiting.


Employers are concerned with performance and retention.


When employers learn that workers with disabilities have comparable performance and retention ratings to those of employees without disabilities, they see that hiring, retaining, and promoting people with disabilities positively impacts their bottom line.


Employers say job accommodations are costly.
When employers hear that almost half of the accommodations that are needed actually cost nothing, and those accommodations that do have a cost typically cost $600, then they see that they can make accommodations easily and cost effectively as well.
Dr. Grizzard challenged his audience: “To those of you whom this conference has motivated to develop new and improved diversity strategies that include people with disabilities, I encourage you to move swiftly. As with any employee, the best candidates with disabilities will be in high demand – and you want to be the first to hire, train and promote these folks.
“For those of you in technical fields, that employee with a disability could be the next Bill Gates. For those of you in medical fields, that researcher with a
disability could be the next Nobel Prize winner in medicine. For those of you in the publishing industry, that employee may be the next Pulitzer Prize winner.
“All of your employees with disabilities won’t make it to the top of the field.  But, I can assure you of one thing: All will deliver a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. All will help contribute to your bottom line. If you haven’t already, I invite you to profit from the experience of people with disabilities.”
 
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  New Freedom Initiative Awards
  
 The Secretary of Labor annually recognizes employers who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to hiring people with disabilities. New Freedom Initiative Awards have to date been presented to 13 businesses.
You can learn more about these business winners, their diversity practices and how those practices contribute to the bottom line on ODEP’s website, www.dol.gov/odep.


Statistical information about persons with disabilities can be obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau website, or by phone at 301-457-3242. And more sources of disability statistics can be found online at DisabilityInfo.gov.
 
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  Shooting from the hip!
  
 hipNews is starting a new feature with this issue, to highlight one or more unusual and exciting developments at one of our CILS, sometimes both. We’re calling it “Shooting from the hip!” The first story (below) tells how some “cool comfort” was brought to several of hip’s consumers during the summer heat wave.
 
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  How Cool Are We!
  
 Each summer, the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) located at Bergen hip, and the Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) Program at Hudson hip receive requests from
individuals and families who need air conditioners as a result of their disabilities. During the oppressive heat wave this past August, the hip staff reached out to those consumers we felt might be in jeopardy. As a result, our two CILS secured 11 air conditioners. Nine were purchased, and two were secured through the generosity of Bergen County’s United Way. Some were picked up at the stores by the recipients and others were delivered. However, the luckiest ones of all were those people who had their air conditioners delivered and installed by Andrew Skea, our Bergen County transition coordinator. We are very grateful to Bergen County’s United Way and the Bergen County Department of Human Services, and to Hudson County’s Department of Health and Human Services; their funds make a difference in the lives of so many people.

 
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  AVL Facilitators Enhance Skills
  
 The Adjustment to Vision Loss Peer Support Project held an all-day Facilitators’ Training in May, at the East Brunswick Public Library, attended by 25 facilitators belonging to the AVL network for persons who are visually impaired. This annual training offers facilitators an opportunity to learn skills and techniques that will prove useful in working with their peer support groups. Susan Vanino, the AVL peer support coordinator, presented special awards to two individuals, Marion Slacke and George Felton, for outstanding service as AVL peer support group facilitators.


The theme of this year’s training was “Orientation and Mobility-Using Our Own Resiliency to Move Us to Where We Wish to Be.” The morning presenters were from the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Pamela Gaston, executive assistant, gave a comprehensive overview of the services offered by CBVI, and Jill Wilgocki, an orientation and mobility instructor, talked about “Getting from Point A to Point B and Maintaining Your Optimum Lifestyle,” and the importance of using a white cane.


The afternoon was a lively and wonderful highlight to the event with AVL mental health consultants James Warnke, LCSW, and Dr. Cathy Deats, LCSW, conducting an informative, interactive and role-playing session focusing on using our own resiliency to move us to where we want to be.


The AVL Peer Support network continues to grow with new groups being started each year. The network has 50 groups scattered throughout the project’s 14-county catchment area of northern and central New Jersey. If you or someone you know has vision loss and wishes to participate in an AVL peer support group, call Susan Vanino at Bergen hip.
 
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  LEAD Season Ends
  
 Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD) held its end-of-the-year celebration on July 12 at the Crowne Plaza in Clark. Sixty-five students, family members, coordinators, volunteers, and mentors gathered to celebrate another successful year, to socialize, and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. Members of the LEAD staff spoke, recognizing those who have contributed to the accomplishments of the program. LEAD graduates were presented with certificates and gifts to acknowledge their achievements. Everyone involved in the program is busily opening the fall season. LEAD is a statewide program in which high school students with vision loss develop the skills that will be helpful throughout their adult lives.
 
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  Hudson Students Achieve Their Goals
  
 by Marian Padilla, Independent Living Transition Coordinator



Success is measured in many ways and it means different things to different people. As a new academic year gets under way, we reflect on changes in the lives of some students who have been a part of hip’s Self-Advocacy program YES! (Youth Envisioning Success).


For one shy student, success came in the form of serving as a peer mentor to the incoming freshman class. She approached her school’s transition coordinator after hearing about the YES! program from her best friend, a program participant, and joined the self-advocacy sessions conducted at her high school midway through the program. She was extremely attentive to whoever was speaking. This helped her because she occasionally had to rely on reading lips due to a partial loss of hearing. At the same time, her fellow students learned to speak clearly and directly to her. She participated actively in the remaining sessions, then signed on to become a peer mentor and even led a group activity during her high school’s summer orientation.


Finding Solutions to problems

Another student experienced success when he moved from a segregated special education program, which he had attended since pre-school, to his district high school. As a wheelchair user, this change took some getting used to. The first few days of school were difficult for him since there were some barrier issues that still needed to be resolved. The student worked closely with school administrators, explaining what accommodations would work best for him, waited as the changes were made, and was pleased with the final outcome. When contacted by the Hudson transition coordinator, he proudly told how he has found solutions to challenges he has encountered thus far. He was assured that hip staff would be available to assist him with any future concerns when and if he needed it.


As the YES! program moves forward, we are eager to work with young people to help them become well-informed and confident self-advocates. Self-advocacy is the best advocacy. We are proud to see the students who participate in the YES! program develop into strong advocates who will become the leaders of tomorrow.
 
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  Bergen’s YES! Program Flourishing
  
 by Andrew Skea, Independent Living Transition Coordinator



This summer, Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) more than doubled the number of workshops presented to Bergen County students participating in summer employment programs. While many YES! activities are conducted in partnership with schools, summer is a great time to broaden our presence in the community. Our summer activities allow young people to see self-advocacy and independent living as something beyond their education alone. Some of the groups we worked with are smaller than what
we typically see during the school year. This kind of focus allowed us to make a strong connection and hopefully we’ll stay connected with them now that the summer is over.


Valuable “first job” experiences

Most of the students in these programs entered their first or second year of high school this fall, so the training helped inform them of options during the early part of the transition period. These employment programs are designed to provide a “first job” experience for youth whose disabilities may make getting or maintaining a job more difficult. Workshops on self-advocacy skills are a natural fit for them. Students found the material on assertive communication to be particularly useful. Ralph Duciewicz, coordinator of SCOPE (Student Careers Opportunity for Planning and Exploration), feels that the partnership’s greatest value lies in “increasing community awareness and establishment of a linkage between the community and students in the schools.”
Programs that worked with YES! this summer include Project WIN in Waldwick; Project SCOPE in Bergenfield, Dumont, Hackensack, New Milford, Oradell, River Edge, and Tenafly; and Work Ready-Work Now in Hackensack. The Bergen County Workforce Investment Board is the sponsor. YES! also worked with Project HELP and an extended school year program sponsored by the Region One Council on Special Education and the Bergen County Special Services School District, respectively.
 
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  On the Move – Moving Again!!
  
 Our program for young people with disabilities, On the Move, has planned a full social program for the fall, including a visit to a New York museum, a movie and dinner afterwards at a hibachi restaurant, an afternoon of bowling, and the annual hip holiday party. Lucy Montalvo and Bill Jones continue to be dedicated advisors to this lively young group.
 
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  We Mourn . . .
  
 Sidney Richmond died in August at the age of 101. Mr. Richmond made his home in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the past 60 years. He was a sweet, thoughtful and highly intelligent gentleman. As a trustee of the Herman Forbes Charitable Trust, over the years he was responsible for directing more than $100,000 to hip. The world is a better place because of people like him.


William J. Hart, a resident of Morris County, was a volunteer for the Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts (ABLE) Program for more than a decade. Bill participated in ABLE hikes and other activities as a sighted partner, and was also a longstanding hip member. We were saddened to learn of his passing this summer.
 
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  What a Difference a Ramp Makes
  
 Louis Ferreira and his wife Margie have lived in their Fair Lawn home for over 50 years. Louis has acquired a number of disabling health problems over the years, most recently increasing difficulty climbing the steps to his home. Maria Valentin, coordinator of hip’s rehabilitation technology programs, worked with the Ferreiras on a project with a happy outcome. Through hip’s collaboration with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Inmate Labor Program, and Carmine Battista, project coordinator, a ramp was constructed. Materials were funded by our Modification Access Program (MAP). This past spring, a scooter was donated to hip, and Mr. Ferreira was the lucky recipient of this wonderful mobility device. Mr. Ferreira says, “Because of the ramp and scooter I got from hip, I can now socialize with my friends and neighbors. Thank you very much!”
 
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  A New Home and New Mobility
  
 Marilyn Mendoza, a native of Peru, now lives with her two sons, George and Jorge, in Cliffside Park, in their new wheelchair-accessible apartment. hip was able to provide Ms. Mendoza with a scooter donated to our CIL, which now enables her to move around the community. Pictured here with her proud son George, Marilyn’s smile tells it all.
 
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  The View from HUDSON
  
 by Marianne Valls



The events of September 11, 2001, should have made people more aware of the need to prepare for an emergency. However, basic psychology says that human beings have a tendency to avoid pain. It should not be surprising that a Harris Poll in December 2001, sponsored by the National Organization on Disability (NOD), found that 50% of employees with disabilities had no plans in the event of an emergency, and that 18% of people with special needs were extremely anxious after the tragedy. The able-bodied are no better prepared. Apparently, we are a nation of Scarlett O’Haras: “We’ll think about it tomorrow.”


As she did with disability and aging, June Isaacson Kailes has once again taken the lead concerning emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. Her new book, Emergency Evacuation Preparedness: Taking Responsibility for Your Safety: A Guide for People with Disabilities and Other Activity Limitations, although short, is packed with valuable information.
Ms. Kailes says the Harris poll would not have been done before 9/11. “September 11th moved disaster preparedness up on many people’s agendas. Before 9/11, it wasn’t even on people’s radar screens.” One of the few people working on emergency preparedness for years, she was at an air transportation meeting in Washington, D.C. when the towers and the Pentagon were struck. She felt an urgency to put the Guide together as soon as possible.


“People may not necessarily identify themselves as having a disability, but still need aid in an emergency.” The book forces us to think about reality. It is clear, concise, and easy to read. Important points are highlighted in blue and summarized in boxes. This draws the reader’s attention to crucial areas that must be taken into consideration when planning for a safe exit in the event of an emergency. An emergency can happen at any time, anywhere; at home, work, school or traveling, one needs to be prepared.


During my conversation with her, Ms. Kailes emphasized the importance of having current emergency health information in our wallets at all times. The book contains a sample information form and a blank form to record one’s disability, the help required in an emergency, and a list of any medications along with the dosage and time. Things not usually mentioned on an ordinary health form should be included: whether one uses a mobility or communication device, for example. The book also features a chart entitled “Evacuating a Site after Usual Business Hours.”


Unfortunately, people with disabilities are often excluded from emergency planning. “Hoping you’re included in an escape plan is not good enough,” says Ms. Kailes. She interviewed a surprising number of employers who had not included workers with disabilities in disaster drills. It is a personal responsibility to be sure you are included. Ms. Kailes also stresses the importance of support groups to be ready to assist in emergencies.


There are checklists throughout the book to allow the reader to evaluate self- preparedness. An “ability self-assessment” questionnaire, for example, asks if the reader knows where the safety equipment is located and whether he or she knows how to use it. It suggests people should carry certain critical emergency equipment such as a small flashlight, a cell phone, and essential medication.
 
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  Roadside Assistance Program of Bergen County
  
 The Bergen County Division of Community Transportation has launched the “Roadside Assistance Program” that will help all wheelchair users involved in motoring mishaps in Bergen County. Help can be accessed by calling 911. Local police will determine the extent of the difficulty and call the County police. The County police will contact the Division of Transportation which will dispatch a lift-equipped van to assist the motorist with disabilities to reach their destination. The police will take care of the disabled vehicle. People with disabilities receiving this aid must be residents of Bergen County. We’re pleased to report that Barbara Rivlin, former hip Board member, was the primary advocate for making this service a reality.
 
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  Hudson hip’s Summer Celebration
  
 Hudson hip held its summer celebration on June 28 at the Lincoln Park Community Center in Jersey City. This year’s celebration was a great success, with over 65 in attendance. hip consumers, family members, staff, board members and volunteers joined together for a fun-filled evening of live musical entertainment, dancing, and a buffet. The evening was made even more exciting by an unexpected visit from two of hip’s very special staff members. Trish Carney from our central office surprised everyone by arriving with Marianne Valls, Hudson hip’s media coordinator, who was recovering from a serious car accident.


The Hudson hip summer celebration was an event that not only brought individuals together for a wonderful evening of fun, but also a celebration of hip’s accomplishments as an agency that provides a wide range of invaluable services to enable people with disabilities to integrate into all aspects of the community.


Thank you to Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, Assemblyman Louis Manzo, Freeholders William O’Dea and Jeffrey Dublin, and Visiting Homemaker Services of Hudson County for sponsoring this wonderful event.
 
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  Welcome Back, Marianne
  
 Marianne Valls has been a member of the hip staff since the Hudson County branch was established in the mid 80’s. In her job as Hudson hip media coordinator, she has been responsible for the development of many materials and writes the “View from Hudson” for hipNews. A contributing editor to the NJ Developmental Disability Council magazines, her articles are enjoyed by many hipNews readers.


This past spring, returning from a social event in Trenton, Marianne was injured in a serious automobile accident, resulting in several months in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In June she surprised everyone by taking a break from rehab and turning up at the Hudson hip summer celebration, where she joined her colleagues for the staff picture below. We are pleased to report that Marianne has returned home and her health continues to improve.
 
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  Adjusting to the Job
  
 by Susan Vanino, Peer Support Coordinator, Adjustment to Vision Loss Project



As I reflect on the activities and highlights of the past 12 months, I would like to share my thoughts with the readers of the hipNews. I joined the hip staff in October of 2005 as peer support coordinator of the AVL Project. My responsibilities include the establishment of peer support groups for people with vision loss as well as the provision of technical assistance to those already in existence. The AVL network is sprinkled among the 14 counties in northern and central New Jersey. My visits have truly been a memorable and rewarding experience, and I have gained a great deal of insight and information about the successes and challenges of each group.
Throughout this year I’ve attended events and conferences, met many people, and increased my knowledge. One milestone for me was the annual Adjustment to Vision Loss Facilitators’ Training, in East Brunswick last May. This event brought together the AVL facilitators to share information, and to ensure the smooth operation of their groups.


One of my most important goals is to identify geographic areas which do not have an adequate representation of AVL peer support groups, and increase our network in those areas. I am happy to report that we now have 50 AVL groups in our network, five of which have been established this past year, and all of them in areas where they were greatly needed.
There are many things I am looking forward to accomplishing in the upcoming year, and as I prepare for the busy and exciting days ahead, I look forward to the continued growth of the Adjustment To Vision Loss project.
 
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  Calendar of Events October, November, December
  
 October 11

5:30 p.m.

Board of Trustees Meeting



October 24

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Hudson Membership Meeting: Kathy Montgomery, Bayonne Visiting Nurse Service “Strategies for Staying Healthy at Any Age”



November 7

Election Day – Remember to Vote



November 14

7 p.m.

Annual Membership Meeting, Fort Lee Hilton



December 16

12 Noon

Pot O’Gold Dawing



December 17

12 Noon

Annual Holiday Party – Gatsby’s Restaurant, Cresskill
Bergen Support Group Meetings



October 16

11 a.m. – 1 p.m

Women’s Support Group meets on Mondays
November 6 & 20, December 4 & 18
at the Bergen office.



October 26

November 30

December 14

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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



In case of inclement weather please call the hip office to see if the event will be held.
 
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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.



ABLE–Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts maintains a year-round schedule of outdoor activities for individuals with vision loss.  Contact: Mike Visone (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 or Susan Vanino (Bergen)



Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP) a component of Bergen EASE, provides care management to Bergen County residents 60 and over who are providing care for younger adults with physical disabilities. Contact: Najwa De Martino



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



Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide mentoring and skill-building project, assists high school students with vision loss in their transition to adult life. Contact: Najwa De Martino and Lori Spano



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, and audiotape formats. Contact: Cathy Zimmerman (Bergen)



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)



Project Access reviews residential construction plans to ensure
compliance with existing legislation. Contact: Maria Valentin (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 Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects. Contact: Noris Nunez (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)



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:
Lori Spano (Bergen)



Support Groups– In Bergen: COPE (Multiple Sclerosis) and Women with Disabilities.

Contact: Paula Walsh.



Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) assists high school students and families to move from school to adult life. Contact: Marian Padilla (Hudson); Andrew Skea (Bergen).

 
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