hipnews Fall 2010 Edition
 
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MERCK COMPANY FOUNDATION SUPPORTS AVL PROJECT
“Opportunities Plus” Launched ...
Mid-Term Elections Count At All Levels of Govt.
Sports Journalist Ed Lucas to Keynote ...
hip Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the ADA
THERE’S A LOT IN A DOT
hip says YES to NJ CAN!
Hudson Summer Soirée Celebrates ADA
Another Successful YES! Summer Program ...
SAIL Impacted by Budget Cuts
We Thank...
Aging and Disability Resource Connection Launched
We Mourn...
October: National Disability Employment Awareness
The Annual Fall “Ice-Breaker”
Judge: Case against N.J. will go to trial ...
Our New Journey Gives Help and Hope
Recent news from Our New Journey
Pot O’ Gold Raffle
New Law Enables Easier Communication ...
Now Showing! “I Can” PSA Premieres in AMC Movies..
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- hipnews Fall 2010 Edition Text Version -


  MERCK COMPANY FOUNDATION SUPPORTS AVL PROJECT
  
 Through the generosity of the Merck Company Foundation, hip is able to continue to administer the Adjustment to Vision Loss Project, effective October 1st.

AVL funding had been eliminated in the recent New Jersey state budget cuts. hip has administered AVL since 1998 throughout 14 north and central NJ counties. A network of approximately 45 peer support groups provide a setting for people affected with the loss of vision who receive understanding, support, and information. Adjusting to the loss of vision is generally an intimidating experience. The knowledge that others have successfully transitioned and developed new skills in areas of employment, family interaction, activities of daily living, etc., results in a positive experience for those new to the situation.

We wish to thank the Merck Company Foundation for their financial support. Through this grant, AVL will continue to play a vital role in the lives of hundreds of New Jersey residents.

An additional thank-you is extended to James Warnke, LCSW, and Dr. Cathy Deats, LCSW, for the valuable training they have provided to mental health practitioners and other professionals regarding the emotional aspects of vision loss.

Thanks also to Nancy Hodgins for her administration of AVL over the years. Although these three professionals are no longer directly connected with the program, their contributions have helped to shape AVL as it continues into the future.

Contact Susan Vanino, AVL program coordinator, if you, or someone you know, would like to participate in an AVL peer support group. Susan can be reached at extension 26 at the Bergen CIL or by e-mail to svanino.ber@hipcil.org
 
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  “Opportunities Plus” Launched ...
  
 “Opportunities Plus” Launched as LEAD Fall Season Opens.

“Opportunities Plus,” a one-year project to assist young adults with vision loss as they prepare for future employment, was formally introduced at a large event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clark, NJ, on September 26th. The event also marked the opening of the new LEAD season. hip has received a major grant to conduct. “Opportunities Plus,” which builds on the agency’s significant track record for creating programs to assist students with disabilities as they make the transition into adult life. Those enrolled will be high school students or recent graduates with a previous participation in LEAD, a statewide skill-building program administered by hip Since 1999.

“Opportunities Plus” will identify students who demonstrate competence, responsibility, and an understanding of the importance of planning now for their lifetime careers. The statewide project will create opportunities for employment, internships, and job shadowing in the summer months of 2011. The grant was made possible through funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), channeled to hip through the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
 
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  Mid-Term Elections Count At All Levels of Govt.
  
 New Jersey residents are known to be a rugged lot, but our fortitude is being severely challenged by countless budget cuts, numerous social program reductions or deletions, and a continuing diminishment of services to the residents who most need them. November 2010 has brought mid-term elections. Many people believe that only the Presidential election has any real impact, so they go to the polls just once every four years. But Members of the House of Representatives are elected or re-elected every two years and 2010 is one of those years. (Some U.S. Senate seats have appeared on state ballots, although not in New Jersey.) The events of this past year certainly should illustrate to all of us how decisions made by our federal, state, and local officials impact our daily lives and the programs that many rely on for essential support and independence. In Bergen County, many programs have been stretched to their funding limit, but services continue. Some other counties have not fared as well. Hudson hip has already received a significant cut to a vital county/state-funded program that assists people with disabilities and more cuts are envisioned for next year.

The major upsurge in unemployment brings a greater need for these vital programs. As that need continues to grow, absent any increase in supportive funding, there is almost certainly the danger of a reduction or total loss of some essential county and state programs. The people we elect at all levels of government will be making crucial decisions regarding these very issues.

So...What Can We Do as Individuals?

Keep learning all we can about the policy positions of local, state, and federal officials, both incumbents and aspiring politicians. Follow the voting records of our Members of Congress and our County Executives and Freeholders In both Bergen and Hudson, know how each administration plans to deal with myriad economic and political pressures, and particularly, whether there are plans to reduce or eliminate services to people with disabilities.
 
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  Sports Journalist Ed Lucas to Keynote ...
  
 Sports Journalist Ed Lucas to Keynote hip’s Annual Meeting Nov. 16th

“Look What Happened Because I Didn’t Give Up!” Sports journalist and broadcaster Ed Lucas offered this reply when asked to give a title to his upcoming remarks when hip’s members and friends gather at our Annual meeting on Tuesday, November 16th at the Fort Lee DoubleTree Hotel.

No statement could be more accurate to describe the life and career of this remarkable man. Blinded by an errant line drive while playing baseball at the age of 12, back in 1951, Lucas did not let his disability prevent him from becoming an award-winning reporter covering the Yankees and the New York baseball scene for the past 55 years.

Ed knows more about baseball than most people. A good friend of the late George Steinbrenner, his name is attached to a seat in the press box. As a reporter for the Mets and the Yankees, Ed covered the playoffs, the World Series, and All Star games. Ed has worked as a syndicated radio personality and has been inducted into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame. Actor and producer Stanley Tucci is considering making a movie based on Ed’s true story.

To top off an already distinguished career, Seton Hall University and WCBS-880 AM, the Yankees Radio Network, are teaming up to support “Strikeouts for Scholarships,” a program in honor of Ed. We look forward to an exciting evening with this notable personality and longtime advocate for the disability community. Things get under way at 7 p.m.

Also on the agenda, CEO Eileen Goff will report on hip’s programs and services during the past year. Elections and re-elections to the hip Board of Trustees will also take place.
 
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  hip Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the ADA
  
 An enthusiastic crowd of over 200 people filled the hall at Bergen Community College on July 26th for a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The event was jointly sponsored by hip, the County Division on Disability Services, and BCC. Highlighting the meeting were three speakers invited by hip, each with a special perspective and involvement with the ADA. hip CEO Eileen Goff described the development of the anniversary celebration and introduced the speakers.

Paul J. Tobin, President and CEO of the United Spinal Association, took a historical view of the landmark law, its highlights and challenges over the years since its passage in 1990. While acknowledging the progress that has been made, Mr. Tobin cautioned that the full promise of the ADA has yet to be realized. Advocates must remain vigilant to push for full access to the workplace, for more reliable means of transportation, and for more realistic and affordable housing. For many people with disabilities, the promised change is still to come.

Katherine Connolly of Bergenfield knows only too well how important advocacy is when the law needs to be enforced against discrimination. After earning her degree in accounting and her CPA license, she was first offered, then denied an accounting position, when her disability seemed to present a problem. She called on hip for assistance, and her right to the job was argued successfully by hip’s staff advocate. Not only was Ms. Connolly hired, but she now trains new company employees in her field of expertise.

Bob Ciavaglia of Hasbrouck Heights has been a longtime advocate for the civil rights of people with disabilities. He was one of the many pioneers in advocacy who attended the signing of ADA into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26th, 1990. He gave a moving description of the event and what it meant to be part of this history-making occasion. Retired from a career in computer technology, he is currently a member of the hip Board of Trustees.

Six organizations and businesses that have demonstrated significant progress in accessibility and that offer “a welcoming environment” to people with disabilities were honored at the event. The Ridgewood YMCA and YWCA of Bergen County, the AMC (Paramus) Movie Complex, the Tenafly Pizza Restaurant, Riverside Square Mall, and Woodland Park in Hasbrouck Heights were chosen from among a number of candidates in a widely promoted nomination campaign. Certificates of commendation from hip and from County departments and the Board of Freeholders were presented to honorees’ representatives.
 
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  THERE’S A LOT IN A DOT
  
 Multimedia Transcription Service has experienced its busiest season ever. School districts from California to Florida have been diligently working with MTS to ensure that their braille-reading students are equipped with the books they require at the same time their sighted classmates receive theirs. Recently we have added two new certified transcribers, one from the state of Washington, and the other from North Dakota. Working with our network of 12 transcribers who are sprinkled across the country, MTS is able to make the process of braille production possible through the magic of the Internet.

Recent books have included SAT preparation manuals, all levels of social studies, Spanish texts, college math, varying levels of algebra, and the most recent request, a book to be brailled in Russian. Although the vast majority of braille production is for textbooks, MTS also produces other documents which include Paper Mill Playhouse programs, utility bills, disability related materials, and other varied items. Another component handles recording and duplicating audio materials.

The MTS in-house team is led by Theresa Johnston, who is responsible for overall administration; John Lampert, our main man for all actual braille production; Rhea Hess, who is responsible for all audio production; and Peter Valavanis, who provides braille support and assistance with shipping. We are very proud of the growth of MTS since its inception in 1994. Visit mts-braille.com.
 
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  hip says YES to NJ CAN!
  
 by Marian Padilla
IL Transition Coordinator

Hudson hip has teamed with the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development as an administrator of their NJ CAN (Career Assistance Navigator) website. The NJCAN website is an Internet-based delivery system for current occupational, post-secondary school and financial aid information.

The NJCAN website provides a comprehensive overview of work and educational opportunities. Students participating in the Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) program can schedule an appointment to visit Hudson hip where they will be able to log on to the website and complete a straightforward and

easy-to-use assessment to identify their skills. A list of occupations matching their interests, abilities, and work preferences will be generated along with the education requirements, anticipated earnings, and employment outlook. Students can then create a portfolio to store their information and create a plan to help them attain their educational and career goals.

Students, parents, and school personnel interested in exploring the NJCAN website should e-mail mpadilla.hud@hipcil.org.
 
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  Hudson Summer Soirée Celebrates ADA
  
 A sweltering evening in July was made very special for a group of Hudson County consumers. Our usually festive summer soirée was even more wonderful than usual because it was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The décor celebrated the integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream of American society while the conversation reflected the positive impact of the ADA on many participants’ lives. Delicious food, camaraderie, and great music rounded out the festivities.
 
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  Another Successful YES! Summer Program ...
  
 Another Successful YES! Summer Program for Hudson Students
by Marian Padilla, IL Transition Coordinator

During a long and very hot summer, 16 students participated in myriad activities focused on developing self-advocacy and independent living skills. Several students attended multiple sessions at the Hudson hip office, highlighting career preparation skills such as resume development and participation in mock interviews. They also traveled via mass transit to a local shopping mall where they completed job applications at several retailers and met with human resource personnel at Sears.

Other high points of the program included a visit to the Newark Museum’s Day to Celebrate Artists with Disabilities, where students, several of whom are aspiring artists in their own right, enjoyed the artwork and set new goals for themselves as artists. The group also participated in “Employee for a Day” activities at Liberty State Park. They greeted visitors, answered questions at the visitor center, and assisted with concession stand operations.

We would like to extend special thanks to hip volunteers Delismary Sagrista, Brandon Rodriguez, and Jose Gonzalez for their assistance during the summer program!
 
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  SAIL Impacted by Budget Cuts
  
 The Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) program is continuing to provide residents of Hudson County with assistive technology to enhance independent living options. During the extreme summer heat waves, for example, 29 individuals with cardiac, respiratory, and other heat-sensitive disabilities received air conditioners through SAIL.

However, recent funding cuts have resulted in a nearly 30% reduction in the SAIL budget for the 2010 calendar year and we anticipate further cuts for 2011. We anticipate that the SAIL program will continue to provide very high quality service despite these changes. The funding level for the Senior SAIL program is unchanged for this calendar year. For more information about SAIL or Senior SAIL, contact Marily Gonzalez at the Hudson office.
 
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  We Thank...
  
 Diane and Michael Albarella, for ongoing support to furnish an air conditioner for an elderly person; Adele Cannie, a hip family member and longtime financial supporter through her United Way designated payroll deductions; Leonia Lions Club, and Bergenfield Lions Club.
 
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  Aging and Disability Resource Connection Launched
  
 Bergen County officially launched the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) initiative on September 15th. The ADRC is part of a national movement to improve the delivery of information and services to people with disabilities, senior citizens, and caregivers by coordinating and streamlining the way in which these services can be obtained.

The ADRC is at the heart of “Independence, Dignity and Choice” in the Long-Term Care Act that has been championed by State Senator Loretta Weinberg since its passage in 2006. “I am delighted that Bergen County has implemented this program so that Medicaid-qualified residents will be able to access home care rather than go into a nursing home,” said Senator Weinberg at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

hip is partnering with the Bergen County Divisions of Senior Services and Disability Services, the Bergen County Board of Social Services, and the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services to implement the ADRC in Bergen County. Through a federal mandate requiring that Centers for Independent Living (CILs) function as key partners in the ADRC, hip care managers are working with people with disabilities and seniors to ensure effective linkage with essential services.
 
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  We Mourn...
  
 Anthony Favorito, a longtime hip member and the 1998 first prize winner of the Pot O‘ Gold; Raymond Payton, a longtime member and attendee at holiday parties; Dr. Edmund Dabagian, father of former Board member Gaye Dabagian Cerio and a generous hip supporter; and Ted Kelsey, husband of former hip Board Secretary Theodosia “Teddy” Kelsey, who was a well known and highly respected occupational therapist in Bergen County before her retirement to the Jersey shore several years ago.
 
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  October: National Disability Employment Awareness
  
 October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Did You Know?

Congress has designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). 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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  The Annual Fall “Ice-Breaker”
  
 The LEAD program brought together about 100 students, parents, and coordinators on the afternoon of September 26th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clark. Shown here are Gregory Keene, former LEAD student: Shafeka Hashash, current student, and Joe Ruffalo, a LEAD coordinator.  Shafeka addressed the group on, “What LEAD Has Meant to Me.“ The event also saw the introduction of “Opportunities Plus,” a summer 2011 internship and employment program.
 
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  Judge: Case against N.J. will go to trial ...
  
 Judge: Case against N.J. will go to trial for not relocating people with disabilities from institutions.

by Susan K. Livio
the Newark Star Ledger STATE HOUSE BUREAU

TRENTON, September 28 – The advocacy group, Disability Rights New Jersey, and the NJ Department of Human Services are headed for a trial to decide whether the state violated the rights of about 1,800 people with developmental disabilities by failing to move them from institutions, according to a federal judge’s ruling.

U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson rejected arguments she heard last week from both the state Attorney General’s office, representing Human Services, and private attorneys representing the advocacy group Disability Rights New Jersey, urging her to rule on the merits of the case based solely on court filings. The trial will explore whether the state can delay acting on its proposal to move 1,850 people out of the state-run developmental centers before 2015 because it can’t afford to pay for it.

Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez laid out the plan in 2007 to comply with a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says federal law protects the right of disabled people to live in “the most integrated setting” safely possible. Deputy Attorney General Gerard Hughes said the state has made a demonstrable effort to comply, spending $30 million to relocate 62 people, despite a “historic financial collapse not seen since the Great Depression.”

But attorneys for the advocacy group say moving so few people since 2007 shows the plan is failing. The lawsuit accuses the state of violating the rights of people living at the developmental centers under the Americans with Disabilities Act, upheld by the Supreme Court 1999 ruling, known as Olmstead. Judge Thompson said she could not decide the case without a trial determining whether “New Jersey has an Olmstead plan that can be considered to be effectively working given the recent fiscal crisis and budget cuts,” according to her Sept. 24 decision.
 
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  Our New Journey Gives Help and Hope
  
 A free service supported by individual donors and various fundraising activities, Our New Journey was launched in April 2007 as a special hip program created and directed since the beginning by former hip Board member Anne Ciavaglia McMahon.

Our New Journey gives help and hope to families faced with the onset of illness or disability in several ways: through caregiver peer-to-peer support, guidance to gain understanding of personal needs, help with locating services, and financing direct care assistance. The funds raised throughout the year provide financial assistance for non-publicly funded homecare services. For example, $15 can provide one hour of homecare and $135 will pay for an overnight of respite service. For more information, visit www.ournewjourney.org or call 201-288-2867.
 
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  Recent news from Our New Journey
  
 • -Our New Journey’s gift raffle had raised $2,063.33 by the time the winning tickets were drawn on September 4th. Our winners were:

• -First Prize, three $100 Stop & Shop gift cards to Eileen Goff, who will donate the cards to three hip members. Thank you, Eileen!

• -Second Prize, a $100 Stop & Shop gift card to Gloria Lieberstein.

• -Third Prize, Cooking Craze Gift Basket to Michael Patlen.

On Saturday, September 25th, Hasbrouck Heights held Town Day. Our New Journey participated with an exhibit table to promote the services offered by our program. We collected donations and sold hand-crafted decorative kitchen towels to raise funds, netting $90.

–Anne Ciavaglia McMahon
 
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  Pot O’ Gold Raffle
  
 Yes – It’s back!! Our traditional Pot ‘O Gold raffle is under way. Raffle books are about to go in the mail and will be available at the November 16th Annual Meeting. Drawing to take place at 2 p.m. on December 10th at the hip office. Rhea Hess, our tireless raffle “hostess,” is once again chairing this popular fund-raising project for our two CILs. We hope for a big return.
 
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  New Law Enables Easier Communication ...
  
 New Law Enables Easier Communication Access by People with Hearing and Vision Loss.

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Obama on October 8th. This law will ensure that Americans with disabilities can more fully participate in society and enjoy all that new technologies have to offer – especially Internet-based and mobile services.

The new law will make it easier for people who have hearing or vision loss to access the Internet, smart phones, television programming, and other communications and video technologies. The law will also make sure that emergency information is accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision. In addition, $10 million per year will be allocated from the Interstate Relay Service Fund for equipment used by individuals who are deaf-blind. For more information read “What S.3304 Does For Us” from the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology. Also, visit this link: http://www.disability.gov/technology/accessible_technology.
 
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  Now Showing! “I Can” PSA Premieres in AMC Movies..
  
 Now Showing! “I Can” PSA Premieres in AMC Movie Theaters

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) is collaborating with AMC Entertainment to bring the "I Can" public service announcement (PSA) to select movie theaters nationwide. This important collaboration with AMC Entertainment, will enable the CDE to reach moviegoers with the "What can YOU do?" message and remind everyone that people with disabilities want to work and that their talents and abilities benefit America's businesses and economy.
 
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