hipnews Spring 2010 Edition
 
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2010: An Anniversary Year...
Cinco de Mayo Theme of Annual Dinner Dance...
Important Programs Hit by Governor’s Budget Ax
New Jersey Shares Program Helps ...
hip A Founding Member of Caregiver Coalition ...
Special Anniversaries for Three Bergen hippies
Welcome, New and Renewing hip Members!
Big News! Hudson hip is moving...but not very far!
Hudson hip Spring Picnic
Dare to Dream Conferences This Spring
HUDSON HIP Working to Enhance Voter Access
Care Management Services
What’s Happening at Bergen’s YES! Program?
Bergen County Transition Fair
Bergen Spring Events
Bergen County’s First Municipal Access Award ...
IRS Making Tax Forms and Publications Accessible
The Ruprecht Fund Assists Polio Survivors
News from the Statewide Independent Living Council
The New Frontier: Innovations in Long-Term Care ..
Camp Marcella: Summer Camp Session
National Health Care Legislation Passes ...
Coming Soon: ADA’s 20th Anniversary ...
BVMI - Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Inc.
It’s On Again...The Nifty Fifty!!!!
Join the U.S. 2010 Census!
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2009 – 2010
hip Programs
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- hipnews Spring 2010 Edition Text Version -


  2010: An Anniversary Year...
  
 2010: An Anniversary Year, Nationally...and for hip. In this issue, we salute the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 30th Anniversary of hip as a Center for Independent Living, and the anniversaries of three very special people . . . . A Letter from Our Executive Director After 30 years, the value of each consumer remains front and center.

It is difficult to believe that we are about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Centers for Independent Living. Our doors opened on October 1, 1980, and at that time, our staff of three occupied approximately 450 square feet of office space in the corner of a parent social service agency.

Eight years later, hip was incorporated, was preparing to open a branch office in Hudson County, and was functioning under the direction of a strong, and forward-thinking Board of Trustees. Today our combined staff and consultants number 42, our programs and budget have expanded, and the Bergen and Hudson CILs occupy almost 5,000 square feet of office space, enabling us to serve larger segments of the community. Although our capacity has increased, the value of each consumer remains front and center.

Through the efforts of our dedicated staff we have been able to produce braille textbooks for students in the majority of states across the country, increase the amount of residential construction for people with disabilities, initiate class-action suits to ensure compliance with existing legislation, and monitor the election process to enable all eligible people to cast their votes. Our CILs maintain a network of 50 support groups, provide care management to countless numbers of people, assist high school students to develop essential skills as they transition to adulthood, fund rehabilitation equipment and home modifications, offer recreation opportunities for hundreds of people each year, and advocate for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community.

As our society faces incredible economic challenges, we must work diligently to continue our service to the community. Our Board of Trustees and staff are committed to further the philosophy of Independent Living. As the founding Executive Director of Heightened Independence and Progress, I reflect with pride on the accomplishments of our agency, and look forward to hip’s future and its importance to the community.

– Eileen Goff
 
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  Cinco de Mayo Theme of Annual Dinner Dance...
  
 Cinco de Mayo Theme of Annual Dinner Dance - hip’s 30th Anniversary to be Part of May 1st Celebration.

"Cinco de Mayo" will be the theme of hip’s annual benefit dinner dance on May 1st. Join us, not only for our version of the traditional Mexican fiesta, a joyous holiday celebrated with food and fun, but also to celebrate hip’s 30th anniversary. The Fort Lee Recreation Center will be the setting for our “local fiesta” with another of hip’s very special parties. Delicious Mexican specialties will be featured, plus our Gary Morton, our favorite spring gala entertainer, will keep the dance floor hopping once again. In addition to dining, dancing, and prizes, our “Cinco de Mayo” gala will be highlighted by the announcement of this year’s Nifty Fifty winners. Don’t miss it!!!

Invitations have been mailed to hip members and friends, but we urge party-goers to save the date now. Don’t hesitate to call Bergen hip: 201-996-9100 or visit our website, www.hipcil.org for more information. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. $45 per person; Table of 10: $420. Make your reservation by Friday, April 23rd.
 
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  Important Programs Hit by Governor’s Budget Ax
  
 For those in need, New Jersey has enjoyed a long history as a state with many worthwhile and supportive programs. Many of us have benefited from such programs, and we know they do not come without cost. Today, our state’s budget woes are common knowledge, and our new governor has laid out his plans to combat them.

Typically, governors propose their state budgets in the spring for the next fiscal year. Governor Christie instead directed a review of current state contracts and funding commitments upon entering office, then put forward a long list of programs and services to be cut without delay. His Executive Order removes all or some of the remaining allotted funds in this year’s budget for various programs without recourse to the State Legislature.

Reportedly, some of the cuts will not impact existing programs and services that have unused surpluses due to unexpected decreases in need. Other cuts, however, will significantly impact the lives of some New Jersey residents. For example, those who become ill but cannot afford health insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid will find that 12.5 million dollars has been cut from the present Charity Care budget. Not only will charity care be diminished, but also the state will forfeit an equal amount it could have received in federal matching grants, thus losing 25 million dollars.

Other cuts will see the elimination of some vital services to children and adults who are blind or visually impaired; who are deaf; who have intellectual disabilities; who might qualify for food stamps, and to those without any place to live. These programs are vital to the lives of so many of our hip consumers.

The governor has proposed withholding 32 million dollars from this year’s public transit subsidy. For many people with disabilities, these cuts could have a devastating impact. It is still unknown exactly how NJ Transit will deal with the significant and unexpected decrease in this year’s state subsidy.

Governor Christie presented his 2011 budget to the legislature in mid-March. Cuts are unavoidable. But it is critical for the governor and for our legislators to use wisdom, diligence, and compassion to avoid placing the burden of the cuts on those who have so few alternatives and who rely so heavily on threatened services to maintain their health and independence. It is especially critical that all of us make a special effort to remain current on how this new budget will affect us. The budget requires approval of the legislature. If the budget does not address our needs, we must respond in numbers, loud and strong. As people with disabilities, we cannot sacrifice our health, our independence, or the hard-won advances we have gained over the last 20 years.
 
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  New Jersey Shares Program Helps ...
  
 New Jersey Shares Program Helps with Energy Assistance.

New Jersey Shares provides energy assistance to moderate and fixed-income households experiencing a financial crisis. Eligibility is based on household size and income. There are many guidelines for eligibility, such as a financial crisis that makes it difficult to make payments on current fuel expenses. To find out more about the New Jersey Shares program and its eligibility requirements, call the Bergen hip office, or NJ Share’s grant-processing hotline, 609-883-1626, or send an e-mail to grants@njshares.org.
 
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  hip A Founding Member of Caregiver Coalition ...
  
 hip A Founding Member of Caregiver Coalition of Bergen County.

The Bergen County Caregiver Coalition was formed in 2009 to respond to the growing number of caregivers in the area, currently estimated at 100,000. The coalition brings together supportive and caring individuals who share a commitment to improve the lives of caregivers. hip is an active member of both the steering committee and the ongoing coalition.

The coalition’s mission is to be a caregiver-centric group promoting the knowledge of, sensitivity to, and action around caregiver issues. Frank Powers, supervisor of education and outreach at Bergen County’s Division of Senior Services, has led the effort to develop the coalition. He will retire shortly and move to Madison, Wisconsin.

The coalition has planned two conferences for 2010. The spring event is scheduled for Saturday, May 15th, at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton. The fall event will take place on Saturday, October 2nd, at the Renaissance Hotel, Rutherford. Both conferences are free of charge, and will offer a wealth of information related to available services and resources for caregivers. For a schedule of coalition meeting dates, and information on upcoming conferences, contact Bergen County Senior Services at 201-336-7400.
 
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  Special Anniversaries for Three Bergen hippies
  
 Three hippies are celebrating milestone anniversaries at the Bergen Center for Independent Living:

PAULA WALSH is celebrating her 25th year with hip. She began her career at the agency as a young single woman whose position was Information and Referral Specialist. For the past few years she has been serving as Program Director; her knowledge of community resources, as well as her dedication to our CIL, are very impressive. Paula and her husband Larry (a hip volunteer) are the proud parents of Kelly, a student at Ramapo College.

LUCY MONTALVO recently celebrated 20 years with hip. She has been providing independent living services to the community through the Hispanic Outreach Program since the start. For many years (while funding was available) Lucy coordinated “On The Move,” a leisure-time program for young adults. Lucy is a warm and caring woman who devotes boundless energy to meet the needs of the people she works with. Lucy is the mother of Peter and Eddie, and the grandmother of three.

NANCY HODGINS is celebrating her 10th anniversary at hip. Her initial responsibility was to serve as Community Advocate for the Bergen and Hudson CILs. Some time ago she also became administrator of the Adjustment to Vision Loss program. Nancy demonstrates a passion to ensure that all people are treated fairly and receive equal rights. Nancy and her husband Len are the parents of two professional young women who live in New York City.

Collectively, Paula, Lucy and Nancy have spent 55 years at Bergen hip. Their fine work has had a positive impact on the lives of countless numbers of people.

– Eileen Goff
 
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  Welcome, New and Renewing hip Members!
  
 
Lasha BanksHeather BroadLilith BryantAnthony Dinaro
Maria DonohueRegina DzambaAnthony FavoritoSheryl Heffernan
Raymond HeffernanIlse HellerNancy HenryAnita W. Hernandez
Ernest HesslerSharon HudleySue Johnsen & FamilyTheresa Johnston & Family
Lorraine KendelAdam Krass +Silvia LabombardaDiane Love
Margaret MahoneyLaura McLarnonJohn MulhollandDerek Nantz
Bill NegahbaniDr. Sandra Ruth PinkertonCarol PrellbergDonn Slonim
Fredelia SmithJo Ann StruzienskiElizabeth Unger & FamilyMichael Visone
Cindy Zirkin
+ corporate 
 
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  Big News! Hudson hip is moving...but not very far!
  
 Starting May 1st, hip’s Hudson CIL office will be located at 35 Journal Square, still in Jersey City. Kathy Wood and the hip staff will be ready for business and ready to welcome visitors shortly thereafter. The phone number will remain the same. All are excited about the move!
 
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  Hudson hip Spring Picnic
  
 The snow has melted at last and the birds are starting to greet the daywith song, so it’s time for Hudson hip to celebrate the warm weather. Plan to participate in our annual picnic at Lincoln Park in Jersey City on Wednesday, June 16th from 5:30 to dusk. The evening will include music, food, and lots of fun.
 
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  Dare to Dream Conferences This Spring
  
 Dare to Dream Conferences to Take Place This Spring.

Hudson hip, a long-time enthusiastic participant in Dare to Dream Student Leadership conferences, will be front and center at this year’s conference at the Concordia Learning Center, St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, Jersey City, on May 12th. Students who have participated in the Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) program will present workshops for their peers from other school districts at the conference. Also this year, Hudson hip’s director, Kathy Wood, who has multiple disabilities, has been invited to be a motivational guest speaker.

Sponsored by the Office of Special Education Programs of the NJ Department of Education, eight regional Dare To Dream conferences are taking place in New Jersey this Spring. Dare To Dream highlights student self-advocacy and leadership through workshops devoted to goal setting, self-discovery, self-advocacy, and planning for the future. Each conference features accomplished students and adults with disabilities who have demonstrated exemplary self-advocacy and leadership skills. A variety of concurrent breakout sessions will be led by students for their peers; these sessions provide students and families with opportunities to gain insight into the transition and self-advocacy process.

For many years, the Dare to Dream Student Leadership conferences have been a positive and empowering experience for thousands of New Jersey’s students and we look forward to another series of enjoyable and educational events. For more information about Dare to Dream dates and locations and the YES! program, call Marian Padilla at the Hudson hip office or e-mail her at mpadilla.hud@hipcil.org.

- Marian Padilla
Hudson hip
IL Transition Coordinator
 
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  HUDSON HIP Working to Enhance Voter Access
  
 To increase access to election polling sites for Hudson County residents with disabilities, hip is collaborating with the Board of Elections to provide disability awareness training for poll workers. They will also receive refresher training on the operation of the accessible features of the new electronic voting machines, including the audio access feature. Plans are under way for the training to take place before the June primaries.
 
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  Care Management Services
  
 The Comprehensive Independent Living Support (CILS) program is now in full operation. If you or someone you know needs to obtain services or benefits, or needs support in order to manage disability-related issues, call Claudia Urdanivia, care manager at the Hudson hip office, or email her at curdanivia.hud@hipcil.org.
 
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  What’s Happening at Bergen’s YES! Program?
  
 Open House Set for June

An Open House for students, parents, and school staff to learn more about hip and Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) will take place on Wednesday, June 9th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bergen hip office. Guests will learn what we can do for young adults and their families while students are still in school, and after the bus stops coming. A brief program will begin at 6:30, but guests are welcome to stop by any time during the evening to chat and learn about hip’s services. A light supper will be served. Those interested should contact Sarah Derico, Independent Living Transition Coordinator, by Thursday, June 3rd to provide the number of people attending and a daytime telephone number. Those who would like to learn more about hip, but are unable to attend, are welcome to call any time (Ext, 13) or check out our website, www.hipcil.org.

Field Trips to Bergen hip

Students from the Transition Center at Wood-Ridge, the Springboard Program at Becton Regional High School, and Teaneck High School have made separate visits to the Bergen office during the school year. Students met with John Lampert, braille transcriber for hip’s Multimedia Transcription Service, who explained how he decided to train for a career as a transcriber and about the process of converting high school textbooks from regular print into braille format. The students were also able to have their names transcribed into braille. They met other hip staff members who described the skills and responsibilities of the workplace. Students learned about the operation of peer support groups, how a care manager serves consumers, what an advocate does, and how an office deals with budgeting and finance. After meeting everyone, the students discussed what they had learned over a pizza lunch. In the days and weeks after their visits, many wrote letters thanking the hip staff for taking the time to meet with them and for providing them with such an enjoyable educational experience.

– Sarah Derico
Bergen hip
IL Transition Coordinator
 
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  Bergen County Transition Fair
  
 hip will join with the Special Education regions of Bergen County, the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Bergen Community College’s Division of Continuing Education, and Fairleigh Dickinson University, to present a countywide Transition Fair to assist families who are lanning for their daughter’s or son’s future. The fair will be held on April 15th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Rothman Center at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck.

Information on a wide variety of post-secondary options will be available to help students with all levels of disabilities prepare for their transition to adult life. Admission to the fair is free and open to the public. For parents, the important message is: "The more you know, the better you and your child can prepare for the future." Those who have questions or need accommodations should call 201-599-0585, ext. 15.
 
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  Bergen Spring Events
  
 A Night of Laughter and fun for Bergen hip consumers will take place on April 13th starring Drew Horn, co-founder of “Turn-A-Frown Around.” Time and place: 7pm at the Community Service Building in Paramus. Drew is a self-proclaimed motivational, inspirational comic and clown. For further information about the meeting, contact Sarah Derico at Bergen hip, ext. 13, or sderico.ber@hipcil.org.

Picnic, Picnic! YES, it’s that time again – time to plan attending the annual Bergen hip picnic, Tuesday, June 15th, at the Englewood Boat Basin, 6 to 8:30 pm. Enjoy delicious food and great music in a magical twilight setting. Watch for more information about how hip members, families, and friends can sign up.
 
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  Bergen County’s First Municipal Access Award ...
  
 Bergen County’s First Municipal Access Award to Honor Town of Bergenfield on May 1st

The first Bergen County Municipal Access Award will be presented to the town of Bergenfield at a ceremony on May 1st. When hip was invited by the Bergen County Division on Disability Services to judge entries in the 2009 municipal competition, Executive Director Eileen Goff chose five judges from the hip Board and staff to evaluate the applicants on the basis of information provided by the municipalities. Runners-up were Hasbrouck Heights, River Vale, and Ridgewood. Bergenfield will be honored for its efforts "in ensuring accessibility for all residents and inclusive attitudes regarding persons with disabilities." Those interested in attending the May 1st ceremony should call Anne Schmidt at the County DDS office, 201-336-7381, or TTY 201-336-6505.
 
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  IRS Making Tax Forms and Publications Accessible
  
 IRS Making Tax Forms and Publications Accessible to Persons with Vision Loss

The IRS Alternative Media Center is working to make IRS tax forms and publications fully accessible and Section 508-compliant. These “talking tax forms” work with MSAA compliant screen readers as well as Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software. IRS is using the Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) as a means of distributing government forms as well as other documents. The IRS has made over 650 tax forms available in accessible PDF format.

The forms have been tested with JAWS for Windows (Version 9.0) and Window Eyes screen reader. These “talking tax forms” are also compatible with Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software. In addition to a speech-reading software, users of “talking tax forms” must also have installed Adobe Acrobat (Reader) 8.0 or higher, or the full Adobe Acrobat Suite 8.0 or higher. Users will be able to fill in the form, save it and print the form. To access the forms, visit: http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/article/0,,id=98135,00.html
 
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  The Ruprecht Fund Assists Polio Survivors
  
 The Ruprecht Fund, a service of the Polio Network of New Jersey, provides grants to assist polio survivors living in our state. Direct assistance, in whole or in part, is provided to individuals for products and services that may be difficult to finance for many who are living on fixed incomes. An individual can qualify for a grant of up to $500 once annually. Payment is always made to the provider of the product or service.

PNNJ chose hip to administer the fund to preserve confidentiality and impartiality. Maria Valentin in the Bergen hip office will be glad to hear from interested persons. The funds come to PNNJ entirely through the generosity of polio survivors, their friends, and supporters of the Network. While family income is a factor, it is not the sole criterion for eligibility. So if you, or someone you know, has had polio and is in need of limited financial assistance, don’t hesitate to apply. PNNJ welcomes visitors to their website: www.njpolio.org.
 
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  News from the Statewide Independent Living Council
  
 Independent Living Survey Coming Soon

The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is currently writing the State Plan for Independent Living for 2011-2013. This plan must include advocacy goals in areas such as housing, transportation, and employment. The SILC needs to know what issues are most important to people with disabilities. A survey will be available soon online at www.njsilc.org; it will enable individuals to inform the SILC about personal priorities. Hard copies will be mailed to 200 Hudson County and 200 Bergen County residents. Please call the Hudson hip office if you would like to participate in the survey by mail or if you would like a braille copy.

Disability Awareness Brochure for Restaurants Available

The SILC has developed a brochure,“Tips for Serving Customers with Disabilities,” designed to educate restaurant managers and wait staff about how to appropriately provide service and assistance to people with disabilities. The colorful, tri-fold pamphlet is a friendly quick reference guide that discusses effective and simple ways to assist customers who have a variety of physical and/or sensory limitations. It also provides tips on what not to do (such as moving mobility devices out of reach). Call the Hudson hip office to request brochures to distribute to your favorite restaurants, or to restaurants that you know may be in need of this kind of information.
 
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  The New Frontier: Innovations in Long-Term Care ..
  
 The New Frontier: Innovations in Long-Term Care and Community Living

The following is excerpted from an article in the Spring 2010 issue of the Polio Network of New Jersey Newsletter.

Well, the news isn’t all bad, after all. There are some far-sighted and creative people working in the public sector to make life better for aging citizens with disabilities. Among them is William A.B. Ditto, MSW, director of the New Jersey Division of Disability Services, who addressed the annual PNNJ conference last October. Bill has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the field of social service, beginning as a “welfare aide”: his first client with a disability was a polio survivor who had earned a bachelor’s degree and become a tutor, all while living in an iron lung. Bill’s experience and strongest interests continue to be disability and aging; personal care, long-term care and consumer-directed services; health care policy and financing, and family support.

Bill gave a brief but vivid history of the “paradigm shift in disability policy” that has occurred over the past 80 years in America. The goal used to be to “fix” people with disabilities to make them “fit into society.” He contrasted the possible image of “weakness and incapacity” that was considered a threat to FDR’s efficacy as President with the unqualified acceptance in recent years of Christopher Reeve’s quadriplegia after his horse-riding accident. This total turn-around, from hiding a person’s disability to publicly applauding one’s determination to overcome it, has benefited everyone, Bill said. It is now considered natural and normal to have a disability, but what must happen now is a shift from unnecessary and undesirable institutional care to community-based services and supports.

A national survey has shown that 85% of baby boomers want to stay in their homes as they age rather than consider a nursing home. The new trend is towards “self-directed care, with choice and control.” So far New Jersey is one of the lowest-ranking states in terms of dollars spent on home care as opposed to institutional care. But the picture is slowly changing, in part because it is becoming increasingly clear that institutional care costs more.

Long-term care affects all ages, not just the elderly. Family caregivers have provided 90% of long-term care, all unpaid. Up till now, there is little relief for them except for some respite care services and support groups. This reality makes severe inroads into family income, since the caregiver must forgo outside employment because of the need at home. New programs are under way to enable an adult with a disability to hire his or her own caregivers – family members are eligible – and thus place the direction of care directly into the hands of the person with the disability.

Cash and Counseling

New Jersey’s pilot program for self-directed home care, Cash and Counseling, provides a monthly allowance to individuals, who use “personal preference” in choosing a care-giver, such as a spouse, relative or friend, or in some cases, a certified home health aide. All paperwork details for the “household employer” are handled by a financial management company contracted for this service. Learning how to access services has often been a nightmare for the uninitiated; in New Jersey, ADRCs (Aging and Disability Resource Centers), one-stop offices where all available services can be explained and processed, will be up and running this year.

Veterans who wish to leave institutional care can invoke “Money Follows the Person.” When the veteran leaves the facility, the money for his or her care goes home too, and a budget is set up to manage the self-directed care.

Many options exist for how elderly people wish to live: the concept of “assisted living” can be used under Section 8 housing for those who qualify. Shared housing, where several adults choose to band together in one dwelling is another option, as are “adult family care homes,” in which a family “adopts” (not legally) a person needing a home and receives state support.

The Medicaid Waiver program helps an individual who meets the institutional level of care but wants to stay at home. The program offers unique services like emergency response devices, home modifications, and chore services. A program that started in California and is developing nationally is PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) which covers acute and long-term care. Throughout New Jersey, health and wellness programs, “Heads Up, Seniors” programs to prevent falls, and adult day care are growing in popularity.

"The aging community has copied what the disability community has done through the Independent Living movement," Bill concluded. "I’ve been lucky to see the remarkable changes." A visit to the PNNJ website, www.njpolio.org (click on Resources, then Helpful Links) will bring up the NJ Division’s Annual Resource Directory. Bill’s whole presentation can be viewed and heard on the same website by clicking New: Multimedia!

–Jean Csaposs
 
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  Camp Marcella: Summer Camp Session
  
 Yes, there will be a program for visually impaired children at Camp Marcella this summer. The Board of Trustees of New Jersey Camp for Blind Children, Inc. and Easter Seals has signed an agreement that will provide at least one camping session, August 1st-6th. Depending on the response from interested families, an additional session may be provided. Applications are currently being accepted for an initial enrollment of at least 50 campers, with Phil Cocilovo as camp director. Campers’ families are expected to pay, but camperships may be provided for children who need full or partial assistance, as funds become available. The Board’s goal has been to contact as many families as possible of visually-impaired children who might benefit from a session at Camp Marcella. Anyone who knows of such a child is urged to contact Paula M. Tarantino, 201-709-4944, or e-mail pdgpaula@verizon.net; she will respond to the family.
 
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  National Health Care Legislation Passes ...
  
 National Health Care Legislation Passes by Narrow Margin on March 21st.

Regardless of one’s position on the national health care reform bill passed on March 21st and signed into law on March 23rd, this is undoubtedly the most comprehensive domestic federal legislation since the 1960s. It will affect all Americans in a variety of ways.

President Obama issued the following statement after the bill signing ceremony:

"The bill I just signed puts Americans in charge of our own health care by enacting three key changes:
  1. It establishes the toughest patient protections in history.


  2. It guarantees all Americans affordable health insurance options, extending coverage to 32 million who are currently uninsured.


  3. And it reduces the cost of care – cutting over one trillion dollars from the federal deficit over the next two decades.

To ensure a successful, stable transition, many of these changes will phase into full effect over the next several years."

The President followed with a short summary of immediate changes and how they will impact on individuals, families, and businesses, starting immediately or within the next few months:
  • Small businesses will receive significant tax cuts, this year, to help them afford health coverage for all their employees.


  • Seniors will receive a rebate to reduce drug costs not yet covered under Medicare.


  • Young people will be allowed coverage under their parents’ plan until the age of 26.


  • Early retirees will receive help to reduce premium costs.


  • Children will be protected against discrimination on the basis of medical history.


  • Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can join a special high-risk pool to get the coverage they need, starting in just 90 days.


  • Insured Americans will be protected from seeing their insurance revoked when they get sick, or facing restrictive annual limits on the care they receive.


  • All Americans will benefit from significant new investments to train primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals, and the creation of state-level consumer assistance programs to help all patients understand and defend our new rights.


Various news media, many online, are busy giving analyses, pro and con, of the impact of the health care bill. The reports and opinions run the gamut – and will for a long time to come. Many who had hoped for a "single payer" plan, and Medicare for all, feel the bill falls far short and keeps insurance companies and the drug industry "in the driver’s seat." Others feel that the impact on individual insurance premiums and employer-funded plans is bound to be negative, increasing costs, certainly over the short term. Still others feel the bill is a deficit-building monster that will be ruinous to the country down the road.

Somewhere in the middle are those who feel that the good aspects of the bill far outweigh the bad, and that one overriding provision alone – opening the door to affordable health insurance for all Americans – is worth the price. Time alone will tell.
 
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  Coming Soon: ADA’s 20th Anniversary ...
  
 Coming Soon: ADA’s 20th Anniversary Americans With Disabilities Act Became Law on July 26, 1990 CELEBRATING The First 20 Years, The Next Generation and Beyond

On Thursday, April 15th, from 4 to 6:30 pm, the United Spinal Association will host the Disability Leadership and Policy Summit at the National Constitution Center in historic Philadelphia, just a few blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. This momentous gathering will bring together disability advocates, community leaders, health care professionals, concerned citizens, United Spinal members, friends, and partners to discuss the progress made in the first 20 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as ways to ensure that future generations of people with disabilities have access to improved rights and independence. There is no charge for admission. Among the presenters will be Steve Gold, Esq., whose online advocacy column, "The Odyssey Continues", has been quoted often in the pages of hipNews. To learn more about this event, visit www.unitedspinal.org, click on News.

The True Spirit of the ADA at Work

United Spinal Association and 12 other national organizations are taking up the fight to ensure that the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becomes a reality to all it protects. In the spirit of the ADA, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, United Spinal and the Justice For All Action Network (JFAAN) coalition are calling upon our elected officials to pass and amend critical legislation so that hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities across the country can live life to the fullest and realize their potential.

The coalition’s goal: To enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by creating a policy agenda that will safeguard human rights and respect human dignity, enhance self-determination, and make technology work for everyone.

United Spinal’s 60-plus years of service to the disability community and involvement in drafting significant portions of the ADA are valuable assets to JFAAN’s mission to spark change and influence future policy. United Spinal believes the time is now for politicians to get the job done! What are the changes United Spinal and JFAAN are advocating for? Below are just a few of the goals. These were publicized before the March 21st passage of the heathcare reform law.

Safeguard Human Rights and Respect Human Dignity:
  • Pass a national healthcare reform bill that eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions; addresses the institutional bias in the Medicaid program by passing the Community First Choice Option; does not limit or deny services based on disability or "quality of life" judgments; and includes a benefits package that contains coverage for habilitative and rehabilitative services, durable medical equipment and assistive technology devices and services so that people with disabilities can participate fully in the lives of their communities.


  • Pass the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill (HR 1646/S 1019) and ensure that any healthcare reform bill includes a benefits package that contains coverage for hearing aids and related services for children and adults, and pass the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (HR 1246) to amend the Public Health Service Act regarding early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss.


  • End the institutional bias in Medicaid by passing the Community Choice Act (S 683/HR 1670) and working with the Obama Administration to enforce the Olmstead v. L.C. Supreme Court decision, by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice to use monitoring, administrative sanctions and litigation, as needed, to hold States accountable for ensuring that people can choose to receive services in the most integrated setting.

To read the whole document, visit the United Spinal website, www.unitedspinal.org.
 
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  BVMI - Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Inc.
  
 Health Care for the Uninsured

Free Primary Medical Care for Uninsured Bergen County Residents

Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Inc. 201-342-2478 Call us if you meet the following requirements:
  • BVMI provides free primary and preventive medical care to Bergen County working residents with incomes between 100% and 200% of the prevailing federal income poverty guideline who have neither medical insurance nor the means to pay for care.

    Individual:Couple:Family of Four:
    $10,830 – $22, 660$14,570 –$29,140$22,050 – $44,100

  • The BVMI Healthcare Center is located at: 241 Moore Street, Hackensack.

Find out more information at http://www.bvmi.org
 
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  It’s On Again...The Nifty Fifty!!!!
  
 Don’t miss the chance to win big bucks in the Nifty Fifty!!! We’re aiming at raising $12,500, half of which will go to three lucky winners, and half to hip. Each ticket sell for only $50, and ONLY 250 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be held at the Cinco de Mayo dinner dance on May 1st. Two or more people can share a ticket...and the winnings!! Please sign up for as many tickets as your budget allows. First prize, $3,500; second prize, $1,750; third prize, $1,000. (If all tickets are not sold, the prizes will be awarded as follows: 28%, 14%, and 8%. Please use the form below to purchase your ticket(s) now! And thanks to all in advance for your continuing dedication to the cause of Independent Living for People with Disabilities.

Send checks to hip
131 Main Street, #120
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Attn: Nifty Fifty.
For any questions, call 201-996-9100, Ext.11.

Please send me ________ ticket(s) at $50 each for the
Nifty Fifty. Enclosed is my Check for $________________.
I prefer to use my ___ Visa ___ MasterCard.

Name on Card
Card Number
Expiration Date
Cardholder Signature
Ticketholder(s) Name(s)
Street
City State _____ Zip _________
Phone (specify day or evening)
(Winners need not be present.)
 
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  Join the U.S. 2010 Census!
  
 Join the U.S. 2010 Census! It’s Very Important to be Counted!!!

By now, everyone should have received – or be part of a family that has received – a 2010 Census Form in the mail. Perhaps you and your family have already filled it out and mailed it back. Those who are hesitant about participating should know that there is no "downside" to being counted in the U.S. Census every 10 years. Our Constitution decrees that all "inhabitants" of the U.S.A, citizens and non-citizens alike, should be counted for some very important reasons: legislative districts are determined by the numbers of people who live within their boundaries. Also, $400 billion in federal funds are apportioned according to population. Furthermore, much useful general information about large groups of our inhabitants is gathered every 10 years so that programs and services can better meet the needs of people where they live. Privacy is protected by law; there is no threat by participation in the U.S. Census. If you haven’t yet returned your form, please do so immediately. Go to www.2010Census.gov for fascinating answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions about the Census.
 
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  BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2009 – 2010
  
 
Jean Fox Csaposs
PRESIDENT

Anna Navatta
1ST VICE PRESIDENT

Richard M. Hodgman
2ND VICE PRESIDENT

John DeWitt
TREASURER

Joseph Tomasko
SECRETARY

Paul Aronsohn • Thomas Bengaff
Joan Bermingham • Lillian Ciufo
Lottie Esteban • Betty A. Fetzer
Roy Lippin • Helen D. Marshall
Hyacinthe Nkurunziza
Anne Marie Prendergast

Eileen Goff
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EX-OFFICIO
 
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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) is celebrating 30 years of service. hip not only continues to provide vital assistance through information, referral, advocacy, and peer support, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties. Some programs have statewide, even national impact. The following is a summary of hip programs.

A New Journey provides financial help to families newly impacted by the onset of illness or disability. Contact: Anne Ciavaglia McMahon (201-288-2867)

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), 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)

Comprehensive Independent Living Suppport (CILS), a new program providing short-term or ongoing assistance to individuals in Hudson County to remain in the community. Contact: Claudia Urdanivia (Hudson)

Hispanic Outreach Program directs all Independent Living services to individuals with disabilities of Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish. Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson)

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: Theresa Johnston (Bergen)

Polio Network of New Jersey – The Ruprecht Fund. hip administers this fund for PNNJ to help polio survivors in New Jersey finance necessary products and services. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects. Contact: Marily Gonzalez (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), provides ongoing care management services through assessment, linkage, and coordination for people with disabilities (18-59). Contact: Alicia Freda

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

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A new state-funded case management program for New Jersey residents who have survived an acquired brain injury, for services and supports they need to live in the community. Contact: Paula Walsh and Alicia Freda (Bergen); Marily Gonzalez (Hudson)

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