hipnews Fall 2007 Edition
 
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Annual Meeting Set for Nov. 13th
2008 Member Year Begins Now!
Bergen County’s Enhanced Voting Machines ...
From the ADVOCATE’S DESK
Did You Know ...
Anne Ciavaglia Partners with hip to Help Caregiver
When Does “MONDAY” Arrive on “THURSDAY”??
When Caregivers Need Care ...
National Council on Independent Living Conference
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
CHLP Files Civil Rights Claim on Behalf of hip
In the Spotlight. . . Returning to the Community
We Mourn
Students Explore Employment Options
Bergen YES! Transitions ...
Did You Know?
On the Move!
What’s Happening at AVL?
hip’s Golf Outing a Success
Annual Dinner Dance a Happy Celebration
Currency Issue Hits Courts
Answered Prayer ...
Pot O’ Gold Raffle is Up and Running
New Members
hip Programs
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  Annual Meeting Set for Nov. 13th
  
 The Annual Meeting of Heightened Independence & Progress will take place at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel, 40 Wood Avenue, Secaucus, on Tuesday, November 13, at 7 p.m. James J. Weisman, Esq., general counsel for the United Spinal Association, will be keynote speaker. His topic, The ADA Restoration Act: Congress Tries to “Undo the Damage,” will focus on recent court decisions and how they have determined the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The evening will also feature hip’s year in review and elections and re-elections to the Board of Trustees.


Since graduating from Seton Hall University Law School in 1977, Jim Weisman has represented disability organizations and people with disabilities to enhance the quality of their lives and to protect and promote their civil rights. For 28 years, he has been general counsel for the pioneer disability organization formerly known as Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), re-named several years ago as the United Spinal Association, with an expanded mission and constituency.

A key negotiator in drafting and supporting the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mr. Weisman has been honored by several Presidents and Administrations. In March 1996, President Clinton appointed him to the Architectural and Transportation Board (Access Board). In 2004, he received the Universal Accessible Transportation Award from Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. He has also represented disability organizations successfully in a number of prominent legal actions In July 1995, he became a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities, and in 2003 was elected Chairman of the Board.


Jim Weisman is routinely consulted by people with disabilities, advocates, attorneys, employers, and transit operators who wish to employ or provide services to people with disabilities. He is sought after nationally and internationally as a speaker; hip is both honored and delighted that he will address members and friends at our Annual Meeting.
 
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  2008 Member Year Begins Now!
  
 Enclosed with this issue of hipNews is our annual membership form. Please take a moment to join or rejoin our wonderful organization for the year 2008. Your individual $15 contribution, or your family membership, corporate membership, or life membership is vital to our continuing progress. And a bonus comes with it – free admission to one of our festive summer picnics, in Bergen or Hudson.


Recently, you may also have received hip’s Annual Appeal. If you haven’t yet responded, please consider an extra gift to enable hip to expand its services to people with disabilities. The return envelope we supplied will speed your gift on its way. You may also take advantage of giving by credit card for gifts of $30 or more.


Thank you, one and all!
 
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  Bergen County’s Enhanced Voting Machines ...
  
 Bergen County’s Enhanced Voting Machines – You’re Invited!


Try the new enhanced voting equipment that will be used throughout Bergen County. This enhanced equipment provides an opportunity for those who cannot see the ballot or those who have difficulty reaching the electronic buttons on the screen to cast a confidential and private vote. This is the actual equipment that will be used in the upcoming November election throughout Bergen County!


Staff from the office of the Bergen County Superintendent of Elections will be bringing the enhanced voting machine to the Bergen hip Center for Independent Living. The machine contains a headset with a recording that will provide directions for use and will also use audio to read the entire ballot. Selections are made via a remote control device, held by the voter while in the voting booth. Every voting district in Bergen County will have at least one of these enhanced voting machines. Voters who wish to use this machine need only make the request before they enter the booth. The poll worker will then provide the voter with the enhanced equipment to use while in the voting booth.


We invite you to come and learn about this new equipment and try it out for yourself. The demonstration will take place between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 16 at the Bergen office Call Theresa Johnston (ext. 10) if you wish to attend.
 
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  From the ADVOCATE’S DESK
  
 From the ADVOCATE’S DESK

by Nancy Hodgins


More than 35 million Americans with disabilities are eligible to vote, but only 15 million actually cast their ballots. That means that 20 million voters with disabilities are just not voting. Why? I have heard many reasons, including inaccessible voting equipment and polling places, as well as the feeling of being unwelcome at the polls. Some voters with disabilities feel that their arrival at a polling site creates a challenge for the poll workers who are not trained or equipped to deal with their special needs.


The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) promised to change all that, and to a very large extent, it has. hip’s involvement in many surveys of polling places in Bergen and Hudson counties showed us that though the number of inaccessible polling places has significantly declined over the past two or three years, a number of sites still have at least one area of inaccessibility. With the full implementation of HAVA and the decision not to allow any more waivers for polling sites that are not fully accessible, this November’s election promises to be the first to accommodate all voters who wish to cast a private, confidential ballot.


Every polling district in New Jersey will now have at least one machine with special equipment that will facilitate voting for anyone who has difficulty seeing the ballot screen or reaching the conventional touch pads. Anyone can choose to use this equipment (a disability is not a requirement); a headset and a hand-held remote control are provided. All the items on the ballot as well as directions for use can be heard through the headset. The remote control device takes the place of the touch pads on the ballot screen. Different counties may have slightly different equipment depending on the voting machines selected by each county’s Board of Elections. Staff from the office of the Bergen County Superintendent of Elections will be providing a demonstration at the Hackensack hip office. Details of the upcoming demonstration are provided elsewhere on this page.


HOW MANY WILL VOTE?


So...now that we are promised full accessibility at the polls...what percentage of voters with disabilities can be expected to vote this year? Although not a Presidential election, this is an extremely important one for New Jersey. In addition to municipal offices, seats for the entire New Jersey legislature (both Senate and Assembly) will be on the ballot. The politicians who win these seats will be making many decisions that will heavily impact people with disabilities living in New Jersey. Your vote does matter! The legislature will be voting on funding for autism issues, renal services, traumatic brain injury, mental health, state portions of Medicaid, several early intervention programs that will enable people with disabilities requiring long term care to remain in the community, PAAD and other prescription programs, personal assistance services, expansion or decrease of state services, community based waivers, housing subsidies...We could go on and on.


It is clear that we must learn as much as we can about our prospective legislators and how they stand on all the issues that we care about, and particularly those health and quality of life issues that heavily impact all of us. Now is the time! We demanded and got the promise of full access to polling places. Now it is up to us. We must strive to be informed and active voters. This is our state, our lives, and our future.
 
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  Did You Know ...
  
 Did You Know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?


We can’t think of a better way to observe this significant month than to feature an article on employment by Kathy Wood, hip’s Hudson CIL director.


What a Difference a Job Makes

by Kathy Wood


While sorting through my mail recently, I came upon my annual statement from the Social Security Administration. As I looked at the columns of figures that indicate how much I’ve paid into the system and the amount of benefits I can expect to receive in the future, I reflected on what this means in the real world. I remember well using Supplemental Security Income (SSI) work incentives to transition from benefits to full-time employment. The memory is vivid because, at that time, SSI was a brand new program. This meant that the Social Security Administration staff was learning about the work incentives with me as a test case. It was neither fun nor easy. But, boy – was it worth it!


Those columns of figures showed me that not only have I earned retirement benefits that will make my golden years a lot more pleasant, but I’ve probably paid back the cost of the SSI benefits I received as well as the cost of many of the vocational rehabilitation services from which I benefited. It gets better still. As I thought about my quality of life during my career, I realized that I have had many opportunities and privileges (such as cruises and ski vacations) that I absolutely could never have had as an SSI recipient.


A RISK WORTH TAKING


So, why am I writing this article? During my years of work at hip, I have spoken with many SSI/SSDI recipients who have told me that they are afraid to seek employment because they might lose their benefits, and I wanted to share my story in the hope of encouraging others to take the risk and seek employment.


The work incentives have improved a lot since I used them. It is easier to get back on benefits if employment doesn’t work out for you. It is also now possible to receive Medicaid benefits even if you are working. These benefits are available through either Section 1619B of the Social Security code for certain SSI recipients who go to work, or through the Medicaid Buy-In. There is even a program to help you plan your work/benefits strategy. You can contact New Jersey Work Incentive Network Support NJWINS at 1-877-659-4672 (Voice/TTY) for help in determining whether you might be able to use work incentives to move into a career and an enhanced quality of life.


If there is one thing I’ve come to realize over the years, it is that we who have disabilities have many things in common with people who do not have disabilities. One of these points of commonality is that things can change. Permanent employment in a particular job is not guaranteed for anyone. People who don’t have disabilities also worry about what might happen if they lose their jobs. I have also learned that it really is worth taking that risk in order to experience the best things in life. Go for it!
 
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  Anne Ciavaglia Partners with hip to Help Caregiver
  
 It is with great pleasure that we report an exciting new program, “A New Journey,” in collaboration with a dedicated member and longtime friend of hip, Anne Ciavaglia. Anne, a lifelong resident of Hasbrouck Heights, embarked on her own “new journey” several months ago upon her retirement as director of Bergen County’s Division of Senior Services. Motivated by her firsthand knowledge of the value of the in-home care that has been so important in the lives of her own family members, Anne has decided to volunteer to raise funds and work actively with hip to help families in crisis as they “wade through the complicated maze of suddenly becoming caregivers to an ill or disabled family member,” as reported in The Record of May 3rd.


Caregivers can feel overwhelmed


“Dealing with a sudden illness or disability can often overwhelm a family caregiver,” the article explained. “A New Journey” will provide peer counseling, financial assistance and referrals to families affected by debilitating illness. Every year more than 50 million people in the United States take care of a loved one with a chronic illness or disability, according to the National Family Caregivers Association, at an annual cost of approximately $306 billion.


hip is “a natural” to partner with Anne. Our Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP), a component of Bergen EASE, has been assisting caregivers over 60 for several years.


We look forward with great hopes and expectations as we embark with Anne Ciavaglia on “A New Journey.”
 
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  When Does “MONDAY” Arrive on “THURSDAY”??
  
 We are pleased to announce that the Bergen County Monday Morning Group is now meeting in the conference room at hip’s Bergen CIL. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Morning is a statewide advocacy group that deals with issues of concern to the disability community. For further information about the Bergen County Monday Morning Group, contact Tom Bengaff (201) 722-9537.
 
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  When Caregivers Need Care ...
  
 When Caregivers Need Care Caregiver Assistance & Support Project (CASP)


The Caregiver Assistance & Support Project (CASP) is a component of Bergen EASE that offers assistance to caregivers over 60 who are assisting individuals with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 59. A competent and, most importantly, kind and compassionate care manager provides support to both the caregiver and recipient. An individualized plan of care is jointly developed to meet the needs of each individual and family.
Eligible persons who are feeling overwhelmed about Medicare or Medicaid, home care, housing, accessibility, or the changes that life brings, can receive help from CASP. Encouragement, support, linkage, advocacy, and assistance are available and offered here at hip! Contact Alicia Freda at the Bergen office (ext.23).
 
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  National Council on Independent Living Conference
  
 Paula Walsh, Bergen hip program director, recently attended the National Council on Independent Living Annual Conference in Washington D.C. Hundreds of people from all parts of the USA attended this 25th Anniversary celebration of NCIL. Representatives of many New Jersey CILs participated in workshops on the history and philosophy of Independent Living, current issues. and future directions.


This year’s conference theme was “Celebrating Accomplishments and Forging New Leaders.” At the awards banquet, NCIL members were treated to remarks by Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who spoke about their commitment to the ADA and the civil and human rights of Americans with disabilities. A highlight of the week was the mile-long march from the conference hotel to the Capitol, where speakers cited the need to unite, and continue the goals of the Independent Living movement. Paula and other attendees met with legislative representatives to discuss the areas of concern to people with disabilities. The invigorating conference provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about what is happening at Centers for Independent Living across the country.
 
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  Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  
 hip has teamed with the Bergen County Division on Disability Services and Spectrum for Living, in collaboration with the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), to provide a unique opportunity for people with disabilities to be trained to respond to potential emergencies. We are very excited about presenting this joint effort.


CERT is a national program which has been offered to Bergen County residents for some time; however, this new opportunity, which targets people with disabilities as participants, is unique. A series of nine workshops has been scheduled starting in October to provide instructions and hands-on experiences; it promises to empower participants to be better prepared for unexpected emergency situations.
 
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  CHLP Files Civil Rights Claim on Behalf of hip
  
 The Community Health Law Project (CHLP) filed an action against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on May 31 on behalf of hip and the United Spinal Association, a nonprofit organization that advocates for people with disabilities. The action alleges that the Grove Street PATH station in Jersey City is inaccessible to people with mobility impairments, a violation of federal and state law. The station was extensively renovated in 2005 to add a new entrance which, when completed, included stairs, and thus is as inaccessible as the old entrance. Both hip and United Spinal have members with mobility impairments who live and work in Jersey City and neighboring communities. These individuals would use the Grove Street PATH Station if it becomes accessible to them. Among the relief measures requested by CHLP is installation of an elevator.


hip first became aware of the inaccessible station in the summer of 2005. When Kathy Wood, director of hip’s Hudson Branch, contacted Port Authority officials, they claimed that they didn’t believe the station had to be accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it was not a “key” station. Under the ADA, existing key stations had to be made accessible by 1993, while existing non-key stations did not have to be made accessible until 2010. However, alterations to a station must meet accessible standards regardless of the station’s status as key or non-key.


David Popiel, senior managing attorney of CHLP, filed an action in New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division, Hudson County, alleging violation of the ADA, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, and the New Jersey Barrier-Free Subcode. Port Authority had the case removed to Federal District Court of the District of New Jersey and has filed a motion to dismiss. The motion will not be decided until the fall of 2007.
 
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  In the Spotlight. . . Returning to the Community
  
 My name is Michael Augustowicz. After four years of living between Valley Hospital and Bergen Regional Medical Center’s Long Term Care unit, I moved back to the community with the assistance of hip. This is my story.


A professional cook since the age of 16, Michael was assistant director of the Ramapo College food service for 16 years. In June 2003, within three days, Michael learned he had diabetes and that the front half of his right foot had to be amputated immediately. Less than a year later, tragedy struck again. Suddenly, Michael’s left foot blew up like a balloon; this time more than half of his left foot had to be amputated. At Bergen Regional’s long term care unit for extensive rehabilitation and to be fitted for prosthetics, Michael made up his mind that he wouldn’t be kept down. He would walk once again. Every morning, he waited outside the door of the rehab department until it opened to do his therapy.


CHEF EXPERIENCE PAYS DIVIDENDS


Michael joined the Resident Council and was soon elected president. His extensive background in cooking led him to get involved with the food service department, planning ethnic cuisine, holiday meals, and special events, including Restaurant Night, the Chrysanthemum Ball, and the Spring Formal, in collaboration with the therapeutic recreation and dietary departments. Hospital staff served the residents at these gala events.
Michael started a knitting and crocheting club together with the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Thanksgiving food drives, Earth Day ceremonies, book and video collection drives for the unit’s library, and monthly trips by residents to the Paramus Library – all these were spearheaded by Michael. No stranger to the written word, he is also a published poet. Michael still goes back to Bergen Regional at least twice a week to help enhance quality of life for long term care residents.



“I WANTED TO GET INVOLVED TO HELP OTHERS.”


Michael met Paula Walsh, Bergen hip’s program director, by accident one day at BRMC. Paula opened up the possibility of “moving on out” and offered to assist Michael with Bergen County Housing applications. She also gave him some literature about hip. He says, “I thought this was not only a great organization that could help me, but also one I could get involved with, to help them help others. I don’t know how I can ever thank Paula, Eileen, Helen, Maria, Lucy, Theresa, all the staff, and last but not least, Paula’s husband, Larry. They located and got furniture donations through United Way, helped me move my furniture, purchased a cell phone and a new mattress, got me to the Social Security office and the BC Board of Social Services and made me aware of all that was available to assist me with moving back into the community. Helping me with this process was just the tip of the hip pyramid and all they did for me. Every day you are all in my prayers.


“Whenever I can assist you, such as in this past summer’s fishing outing to Mahwah, the annual hip picnic, or collecting pledges for the hip ad journal for the dinner dance fund raiser, or in the future talk to anyone in this process of transition from long term care to the community, please call on me. I am now a ‘goodwill ambassador for hip’ and will do whatever I can to assist you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, my dear friends – you are part of my new extended family!”


Michael is now a member of hip and of the Dumont community.
 
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  We Mourn
  
 We are saddened to announce the death of Mildred Evans, who was a longtime participant and member of hip’s Bergen CIL. Mildred died in August after a long illness.


We are also saddened to announce the death of Frank Leahy, who was a participant in the ABLE Program, as well as a hip member for 25 years. Frank died in early September after an extended illness.
 
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  Students Explore Employment Options
  
 The Youth Envisioning Success! (YES!) Summer Enrichment program in Hudson County was a huge success despite some stormy weather. Students from Jersey City and Hoboken met with Marian Padilla, hip’s transition coordinator, and Marily Gonzalez, Independent Living specialist, once a week for six weeks to participate in sessions which focused on developing independent living skills, career skills, and transition planning.


With the assistance of the CIL staff, students evaluated career options and developed their resumes. The highlight of the program came during three scheduled outings to retail establishments. YES! participants traveled to Wal-Mart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Barnes and Noble Bookseller, three very different businesses that all employ diverse staffs. Retail staff gave tours of the stores and explained the application and hiring process. Students were well prepared with their questions and, resumes in hand, the older students were able to apply for employment, using the application center kiosks on-site. Students even created their own accounts so that they can track their applications on-line. We will follow up with the students and keep readers informed of any good news.
 
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  Bergen YES! Transitions ...
  
 Bergen YES! Transitions from Summer to Fall and the New School Year


For the third straight year in Bergen, Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) went into the field for the summer and partnered with five employment and pre-employment programs to offer opportunities to improve self-advocacy to almost 100 students throughout the county. These summer activities enabled youth to experience self-advocacy and independent living beyond the context of their educational pursuits.


As YES! looked toward the start of school, we began laying the groundwork for another successful year by beginning outreach efforts during the dog days of August. Once again, every school in Bergen County was contacted, and at press time for this issue of the hipNews, approximately 40 workshops designed to improve students’ self-advocacy skills had been booked.


We are thrilled that so many students will receive instruction on how to be stronger advocates for themselves, and we are also reaching out to parent groups so we can share information about the training we are providing for their children. In order to become strong self-advocates, students need support and encouragement from their parents, so we are actively contacting parent groups to ensure this support is in place. Speaking to parent groups has also been a successful way to reach families who can benefit from one-on-one assistance from YES! when advocating for their students’ needs. Every parent we meet with will also receive a free copy of our popular Parent Advocacy Transition Handbook to help with their transition planning. Parents have also played a pivotal role in introducing YES! to new special education programs, so as always, we ask them to feel free to pass on our information to schools or call our Transition Coordinator, Andrew Skea, at the Bergen office.
 
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  Did You Know?
  
 Since the start of the YES! program three years ago, 2,729 students and their families have received information and referral services and self-advocacy training. Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) enrolls students 14 years of age and older who are working to make the transition successfully from school to adult life.
 
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  On the Move!
  
 On the Move, Bergen hip’s recreation program for teenagers and young adults, has started its autumn schedule. These young people will be attending movies, restaurants, the Museum of Natural History, and of course, our gala Holiday Party in December. We are very pleased to offer these recreation activities to a group of young vibrant participants.
 
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  What’s Happening at AVL?
  
 The Adjustment to Vision Loss Peer Support Project held its annual day-long facilitators training on May 23rd, at the East Brunswick Public Library, where over 30 facilitators belonging to the AVL network for individuals with visual impairments attended. This training brings together facilitators from 14 counties in northern and central New Jersey, and offers them an opportunity to enhance and add new dimension to their current facilitating skills.


Two morning speakers were David De Notaris, from the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, who energized everyone while teaching strategies to motivate group members, and John DeWitt, CEO of DeWitt & Associates, and former hip Board president and current treasurer, who gave an innovative demonstration of assistive technology from gadgets to high-tech.


Susan Vanino, AVL Peer Support Coordinator, presented certificates of outstanding service as group facilitators to Liz Walzer, of the Monmouth County Association for the Blind, and James Jasey, of Beyond the Eyes Peer Support Group. The afternoon was highlighted by a thought-provoking session conducted by AVL mental health consultants James Warnke LCSW, and Dr. Cathy Deats LCSW, in which facilitators gained a tremendous understanding about what motivates individuals.


Early last spring, AVL added a telephone peer support group to the network for young adults. This makes it possible for individuals ages 21 to 40, from our 14-county service area, to connect with others who have similar challenges and interests. Training is also available for facilitators in conference calling, which gives facilitators fresh ideas to help keep their groups exciting. Many new groups have been developed this year, bringing us to nearly 60 groups. Recent additions include groups in Fort Lee, Cresskill and West Orange. We urge people with vision loss who wish to participate in an AVL peer support group to call Susan Vanino at the Bergen CIL (ext 26).
 
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  hip’s Golf Outing a Success
  
 The elegant Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield was the setting on June 11th for a unique event for hip – a benefit golf outing that saw a group of happy golfers enjoying a beautiful day on the green. The event, which benefited hip and its programs for youth, was a financial and social success, with profits exceeding $14,000. The golf outing committee was chaired by Board members Lou Intorre and Lisa Firko, aided by Lillian Ciufo, Judy Liebman, and Rick Hodgman from the hip Board, and Lauren Ryan of Felician College. Cocktails and dinner in the club dining room featured a power point presentation about hip’s programs for young people by Executive Director Eileen Goff, bringing to a close an exciting and profitable day for hip.
 
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  Annual Dinner Dance a Happy Celebration
  
 The pictures here speak volumes about the fun we had at hip’s annual dinner dance on April 28. Once again, our lively and inventive DJ, Gary Morton, had lots of us “dancing in the aisles” at the Fort Lee Recreation Center. The circus theme decorations designed by Helen Marshall, Board President and event co-chair, dazzled the party-goers and set the tone for a lively evening of good food, captivating music, and attractive prizes, many donated by Board members Lillian Ciufo and Betty Fetzer. A high moment came with the announcement that Kathy Wood, Hudson hip director, had won $272 in the 50-50, which she happily put toward her trip to Russia and Scandinavia. More good news: the event netted approximately $8,500 for hip. Plans are under way for a May 2008 repeat of this perennial hip party – watch for the date!
 
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  Currency Issue Hits Courts
  
 (The following article includes excerpts from an article published by AlphaOneNow.org, the website of a Center for Independent Living covering the state of Maine – worth looking into!)


“More than 185 nations print accessible currency that is recognizable to the blind. The United States is not among them.
“‘We are the most powerful economic force on the planet,’ said Ross Doerr, staff attorney with Maine’s Disability Rights Commission. ‘Yet we are in the minority when it comes to making something as simple as money accessible to individuals with disabilities. That runs counter to logical reasoning.’”


Earlier this year, a Federal District Court judge found the U.S. Treasury Department in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for failing to make U.S. currency available in a usable format by Americans with visual impairments. The decision is under appeal by the Treasury Department.


The issue is controversial even among people who are blind or visually impaired. Some say they manage very well by grouping their paper money in the various denominations, by making folds in the corners of their bills, and by trusting the honesty of the vast majority of people with whom they have cash transactions. Others feel differently.


“Cyrus Habib, a blind Rhodes scholar and student at Yale Law School, is preparing an amicus (friend) brief on the case. He wrote in the Washington Post, ‘I rely on the generosity of cab drivers... and store clerks each time I make a purchase with cash. That I have been rarely ripped off is a testament to their honesty or my charm, but I cannot help but protest the perpetual necessity for either.’”


It will be important to follow the progress of this landmark case. regardless of disability.
 
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  Answered Prayer ...
  
 Answered Prayer – Help for Aging Parents of the Disabled



(Editorial from The Record, May 4, 2007)


The aging parents of most developmentally disabled adults live with one big worry. What will happen to their children when they are gone or can no longer care for them?


A ruling last week by the New Jersey Supreme Court should bring some peace of mind to the thousands of families who are caring for their adult developmentally disabled children at home now but are deeply concerned about the future.


The court unanimously ruled that the state must make it easier for those families to get help, such as housing, therapy, vocational training, day programs and other services, for their children. Until now the state has required families to prove with medical or school records or some other way that the adult had a disability prior to the age of 22 to be eligible for help. In cases where records were not available or the disability had not been accurately diagnosed – or discovered yet, such as Asperger’s syndrome – the family’s testimony about its own experience was not enough.


That was cruel and unfair, and it will no longer be allowed.


It’s estimated that some 19,000 adults in New Jersey have developmental disabilities and live with caregivers over age 60. They are not registered with the state for services. Perhaps now some of them will receive the help they are entitled to.


It is well known that there is a years-long wait for housing for the developmentally disabled and a shortage of suitable housing, such as group homes. Nearly 8, 000 people with developmental disabilities are on waiting lists in New Jersey and the list is always growing.
But there is some flexibility. The age and health of the caregiver may be taken into account when deciding where someone belongs on the list. Other services are also available to help developmentally disabled adults move toward independent living. And respite care is available for caregivers.


The family of the man with a mild form of autism who filed the case against the state is to be congratulated for taking it all the way to the state’s highest court, after being rejected repeatedly. By their persistence they have opened the door to desperately needed help for many other families.


Note: The highlighted portions of this editorial call readers’ attention to the philosophy and program areas in which hip, as a Center for Independent Living, is already playing a vital role.
 
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  Pot O’ Gold Raffle is Up and Running
  
 Yes – it’s that time again – hip’s Annual Pot O’ Gold Raffle is up and running.


Last year’s first prize winner, Rich Finan, won $1,175; the second prize of $294 went to Darrell Bethea Jr. (then nine months old). Timothy Kerr generously gave his $50 prize for selling the most raffle tickets to runner-up Mike Augustowicz.


Be a winner this year! – look for your raffle books in the mail – the drawing will take place on December 15th.
 
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  New Members
  
 We are happy to note the following new and renewing members of hip:
Jonnaton AqudeloLinda BarrRosalind BrownCharles A. Coari
Dr. & Mrs. Edmund DabagianAlice FischerPhyllis FischerKaitlynn Fischer
Bryan FischerPAULGRO Consulting LLC +Richard Hodgman & Associates. CPA + 
Mr. & Mrs. Ali HussainMary KeoughSilvia LabombardaJanet Levene
Eileen McCannDina MelucciNancy Oliver MitchellElsie Rosa – Garcia
Fred RuthleinJohn RyanInez SmithAngela T. Torres
Charles UrspruchJane ValentiWinifred Whilby 
+ corporate
 
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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: The Hudson Office

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: Alicia Freda (Bergen)

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: 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, 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) provides funding and 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: The Bergen Office

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

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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