SD Network

Category: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Tasha Orr-Holmes


By SD Network, 2019-11-03

toh.jpgMeet Tasha.   As someone who has always wanted to make a difference in her community, she has worked with multiple groups of people who are in need. Her current job has made her realize how important self-determination is for everyone.  She is very excited about what her agency has done this year.  In her spare time, this avid sports fan loves to spend time with her son and hang out with friends.  We’re so fortunate to have her as a member of the Self-Determination Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Tasha graduated from college with a Bachelor Degree in Human Service, and she knew right away she wanted to make a difference in her community. She explains that she has worked to help the undeserved community with getting health insurance and benefits.  She has also worked with family caregivers to be able to get the supports that they needed to keep their love ones at home and to live safe and meaningful lives in their home.  Currently, she works for TMG as a Community Partnership Specialist, which gives her the opportunity to work with organizations to help provide resources and services to individuals on the IRIS program.

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network? 

Tasha became involved with self-determination after she started working in her current position where she was able to see first-hand how important self-determination is to everyone. She’s involved on many committees that work together to help find solutions to many obstacles, such as transportation, housing, poverty and employment. “After attending three SD Conferences, it became a passion of mine to be more involved in the SD Community and help wherever I am needed,” she says.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination? 

Tasha shares that she’s super excited about the work she and her coworkers have done in 2019. She explains that TMG has hosted four events in three Wisconsin counties that invites IRIS participants and their family and friends to a fun and/or local community location to get information from vendors regarding programs and services they can utilize. They provide free food, door prizes and networking with others. “It is a way for TMG to clear the path and bring all resources to one place. We are looking to do even more of these events in 2020,” she says.

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Tasha suggests there are so many amazing resources in the Community that can help a person become more self-determined. It is great to visit your local libraries, community centers, ADRC’s and churches just as a starting point.  She explains, “from there, a person can become more educated, empowered and energized on the many different programs and services that are out in their community.”

What are some of your hobbies? 

As a single mom, she doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands; however, she loves spending time with her nine-year-old son, Tyler. She enjoys going to the movies, hanging out with friends, and watching ALL Wisconsin sports teams--especially the Green Bay Packers.  “Go Pack Go,” she exclaims!

 ***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Jean Logan


By SD Network, 2019-10-06

Jean 2018 Passport photo.jpgMeet Jean.  When she isn’t busy watching Ice hockey, she loves to travel and spend time with her grandchildren.  With a lengthy résumé highlighting her advocacy efforts, now retired, she continues to help write the story of the revolution in disability access, rights, and choices.  She fully believes it the power of networking.  We’re so fortunate to her as a member of the Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.  

An account executive at a major public relations firm and publicist for two Wisconsin rehabilitation centers, Jean was recruited in 1969 as a volunteer by the National Spinal Cord Injury Assn/Milwaukee; an event that changed her life.  She has lengthy experience in addressing the rights of people with disabilities to live successful lives in the community. As a volunteer with the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, she led Wisconsin efforts to incorporate accessibility into the statewide building code in 1973-76 and served as chair of the DIHLR building code committee when it completed a complete revision of the statewide code.  She was also involved in the landmark court decision Barthel vs. Biernat in 1976 that was the first in the nation to prohibit a public transit system from purchasing new inaccessible buses until they had adopted a plan for serving the transportation disadvantaged. She was appointed by County Executive Bill O’Donnell to the board of directors of the Milwaukee County Transit System after that litigation was settled to provide oversight as the transportation services were developed and funded.  During the late 1970s, she represented NSCIA on the state-level planning committees for the development of the Community Options Program (COP). In 1981, she joined the management team of former state representative James Wahner at the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services. In that capacity, she was the team leader for Milwaukee’s implementation of COP for all populations. In addition, she co-chaired a Wisconsin statewide task force in 1987-88 that planned for the evolution of county nursing homes for people with serious mental illnesses following a US Supreme Court decision disallowing federal Medicaid funding for such facilities.  She was the CEO/founder of Strategic Partners from 1991- 2019, a public services redesign firm. In that role, she has participated in projects relating to disability in Florida and Georgia.    

As a retiree, Jean has seized/assigned/been recruited for the opportunity to write the story of the great Wisconsin revolution in disability access, rights, and choices that she, Dan Johnson, Ellen Daly, Mike Falconer and many others witnessed and fostered between 1965 and 1990. She explains that their thesis is simple and clear: Pre-ADA, Wisconsin led the way. Their website is www.Wisdisabilityrights.com.  The Facebook page is Physical Disability Community-Wisconsin.  “Both still need ongoing work,” she admits.  

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network? 

Jean joined the Network in 2015 when she was working with ERI and Dan Johnson to organize the logistics and content for a memoir. They were also pulling together Wisconsin's response to ADA's 25 anniversary.  She was involved in self-determination before there was a name for it.  When they implemented COP in Milwaukee in 1984, consumer-directed care was the goal from the beginning.  She explains that now, Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) is a major challenge, but Wisconsin has been given an extension.  “Hopefully, they will get it right,” she says.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms of self-determination?

Jean states that Wisconsin has much better resources to support self-determination that most states.  “IRIS is a national leader, and the work that Lynn Breedlove is doing internationally to spread the word and share information with countries in Europe is amazing,” she says. She also comments that consumers are now very sophisticated advocates. She believes that the efforts in 2018 when Congress was considering repealing the ADA were first class and very successful.  She says, “it was the disability lobby that won that fight.”

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Jean is a firm believer in networking.  “It takes a village, so it is critical to network and spend time with other people who are in charge of their own care.  Today, there are online forums and internet resources that didn't exist in the 1980s and early 1990s,” she explains.   

What are some of your hobbies?   

Jean is a big ice hockey fan.  She loves to travel (she went to Scotland for three weeks this summer after working to improve her physical condition for a year) and loves spending time with her grandkids (both in high school).  She’s a member of the board for her condo community and she has learned a whole lot about land use and overdevelopment as a result.

 

 ***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Roxanne Price


By SD Network, 2019-09-02

20190902_142216.jpgMeet Roxanne Price.  When she isn’t traveling around the world, spending time with family and friends, reading, or gardening, she works with people teaching them about Self-determination and Self-Directed Supports.  She has always been very passionate about Self-Determination and Self-Direction.  She encourages people to ask questions and be clear about what you want.  We’re so fortunate to have Roxanne as a member of the Network!  

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Roxanne is very passionate about Self-Determination and promoting Self-Directed Supports! She explains that it has been her primary focus since 1998, when she was hired as the Self-Determination Project Coordinator in La Crosse County back when Family Care was first getting started. La Crosse County was one of the five Family Care pilot counties in Wisconsin.  She participated in many meetings and discussions with self-advocates, their allies and many others to make sure that Managed Care in Wisconsin emphasized personal choice, responsibility and empowerment.  “People didn’t like the idea of being “managed” and we didn’t want the program to become an impersonal, “one size fits all” approach to assessing needs and providing supports for people,” she says. Since her position was funded through a Robert Wood Johnson grant, when the grant ended, she was hired as a Care Manager with the Family Care Program in La Crosse where she continued my involvement in Self-Determination and Self-Direction. In 2008, the La Crosse Program expanded to include seven additional counties and they became known as Western Wisconsin Cares. She says that even though she misses the ongoing connections that she had when she was a Care Manager, she was excited to be hired as the Self-Directed Supports Coordinator for the eight county regions.  So, for the past 11 years, she has been focusing exclusively on Self-Determination and supporting the successful use of Self-Directed Supports. Two years ago, three Family Care Organizations merged into the organization that is now known as Inclusa. “I think we are very fortunate to have a dedicated SD/SDS team that provides education and support throughout our service regions and I love being able to follow my passion with others who feel the same way,” she exclaims! 

How are you involved with self-determination?

Roxanne is currently one of the SD/SDS Managers at Inclusa. Inclusa is one of Wisconsin’s Family Care Organizations and covers much of the state.  She helps members (clients) and their Care Management teams learn about Self-Determination and Self-Directed Supports, and she helps them decide how to set it up so it best fits their individual strengths and needs. Also, when there are problems or concerns, she gets involved to help figure out the best solutions. 

Why did you join the SD Network?

Roxanne says that she is always looking for the latest information about Self Determination and Self-Directed Supports and she knew that the SD Network would be a good resource!  

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Roxanne encourages people to be clear about what you want and don’t be afraid to ask questions to be sure you understand things!  She says to try to be respectful even if you disagree with what someone says and ask for support when you need it. “Finally, it’s ok to make a mistake – sometimes it’s the best way we learn! Nobody is perfect,” she says! 

What are some of your hobbies?  

Roxanne loves to read! True stories are especially inspiring to her. She also really enjoys taking pictures of people, places and things.  In the spring, she likes to work in the garden – even pulling weeds!  She explains that her friends and family are very important to me and she spends a lot of time with them. Recently, she has gotten brave enough to travel to other countries and that has really been exciting her!

 ***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Lydia Dawley


By SD Network, 2019-08-11

67747890_2498566557040546_564841607342325760_n.jpgMeet Lydia.  This college senior is determined not to let anything stop her from achieving her goals!  She has done all sorts of amazing things with assistive technology and hopes to help students with disabilities discover how it can help them.  She believes it’s so important to advocate and show the world what people with disabilities can do.  We’re so fortunate to have Lydia as a member on the Network.

What's your story? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lydia is a 22 years old senior at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Her major is Liberal Studies with special interest in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Special Education. She hopes to be an assistive technology specialist. She wants to figure out what and how students can use technology. Her goal is to have a clinic where there would be an assistive technology specialist, occupational therapist, speech-language therapist, and physical therapist. She explains that she wants to have a place for people with disabilities to go and get resources where everyone is on the same page.

Lydia is from Decorah, Iowa which is 3 1/2 hours away from Whitewater. She graduated from high school in 2015, and she was the first high school student in Iowa to participate in individual and large group speech competition who used an augmentative communication device. Since her junior year in high school, she has been an ambassador for Prentke Romich Company. She explains that they have communication devices and apps, and she goes around the Midwest to conferences talking about her experiences and about the app LAMP Words For Life.

This summer, Lydia is an intern at Access to Independence in Madison where she helped with the peer support program. Now, she helps teach classes at colleges about what resources there are in college for people with disabilities.

How are you involved with self-determination? 

When Lydia lived in Iowa, she spoke at events to help inspire others to advocate for themselves. “I think that is important” she says.

Why did you join the SD Network?

 Lydia explains that she believes it’s important to advocate and to bring awareness to the world, so that people with disabilities can be seen as people first and allowed the same opportunities as everyone else. 

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Since she’s planning to graduate from Whitewater in May, Lydia is applying for grad school at UW-Stout for Rehabilitation Counseling Program, and she explains how it’s kind of stressful because she has to pull all of the items they need. She’s also applying for an Assistive Technology Certificate at the University of Illinois in Chicago; she wants to have enough creditability to work with people with disabilities because she’s afraid that parents won’t want their kids to see her.

Lydia is also excited that she recently got a job offer from Control Bionics to be a freelance writer for them. She’ll start writing about clients that use their device. She explains that the device is a patch that can be placed anywhere on the body and when the muscle contracts, it clicks on the device with the scanner feature.

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Lydia encourages people to not be afraid to “beat to your own drum” and ignore the people who say that you can’t. “I can’t tell you how many times people said I couldn’t do something, and I just ignore them because I know that they don’t know me. I know myself so if they don’t want to help me, it’s okay,” she explains. 

What are your hobbies?

“I guess I don’t have any hobbies, I’m just a “typical” college kid,” Lydia jokes. She says she’s on social media all the time, and she likes to binge watch things on Hulu and Netflix. She points out that when she’s in school, she’s too busy with homework or work to do anything.

 

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Jenny Brendler


By SD Network, 2019-06-03

IMG_5181.jpgMeet Jenny.  This marketing extraordinaire found her passion to help the disability community while volunteering with the Fishing Has No Boundaries program.  This led her to taking a position with a nonprofit organization which assists people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.  She encourages people not to be afraid to repeat yourself when advocating for what you need and want.  We’re so fortunate to have Jenny as a member of the Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jenny grew up in Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She has always been interested in marketing, and in the local nonprofits in the area. She volunteered with Olbrich Gardens for a while, interned at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. In 2014, she joined the board of Fishing Has No Boundaries – Madison Chapter, where her passion for the disability community grew, and have recently been elected Co-Chair! A few years later, she was hired at Community Living Connections (CLC) in 2016. 

She explains that CLC is a nonprofit which supports individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and frail elders to live as independently as possible, in their own homes. They provide support that enables people to live in their own homes and participate in community life. They provide in home staff to help with planning, personal cares, medical support, finances, relationship building, etc…  She is the Development & Community Relations Manager.  She coordinates their communications such as the Facebook and Instagram accounts and eNewsletters, assists with recruitment, and manages their fundraising efforts.

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Jenny joined the SD Network when she started at CLC. She didn’t know about the network until she started working there.  “I’m glad I did, it is a great resource and I really appreciate getting the emails,” she says.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Jenny is thrilled that Community Living Connections is growing! They are SO exciting to be expanding their service area to support individuals who live in the communities of Beaver Dam and Platteville She explains that they want to help more people live independently in their own homes and self-directing their own lives, and they’re thrilled to be making that happen!

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Jenny shares that in Marketing they say it takes someone seven times to hear the message, before they actually hear it, absorb it, and act upon it—so, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself! She explains that other people may not fully understand your message the way you mean it the first time around. “Advocate for yourself, repeat what you want and what you need, and say it in as many different ways as you can,” she exclaims!

What are some of your hobbies?  

Jenny loves to garden!  She and her husband bought a house in Oregon and she has been slowly growing the garden to be her little outdoor oasis. She’s a big reader, and is in a small book club with a few friends. She also loves camping and being outdoors--like walking through the Arboretum, or lying beside Devil’s Lake with a good book in hand. She says she doesn’t know how to fish, but every summer, her favorite weekend is in July with Fishing Has No Boundaries in Madison! “It is so much fun, and everyone who comes (both volunteers and participants) is so excited for a weekend of accessible fishing,” she says! 

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Marilee Adamski-Smith


By SD Network, 2019-04-30

Marilee.jpgMeet Marilee.  This advocate extraordinaire doesn’t let limitations get in the way of leading a very successful life.  In addition to owning her own graphic design business, she’s very involved in ADAPT.  As the National ADAPT Media Chair, she’s looking forward to the Disability Integration Act being passed very soon.  In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband and godchildren.  She encourages people to get involved in disability advocacy and to never give up. We’re so fortunate to have her as a member of the Network!

What's your story?  Tell us a little about yourself.

Marilee was born and raised in Stevens Point, WI.  Born with something called Tetra-Amelia, she’s missing all four limbs, but that doesn’t stop her. She tells people, “don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t know what it is like to have arms or legs, so I’m not missing anything!”

After high school, Marilee went to UW-Whitewater where she earned a degree in Graphic Design.  She explains that her experience in college was great.  She had personal care workers that assisted her and it was the first time she was able to live independently. It was in college that she got involved in advocating for disability rights.  She connected with a national advocacy group called ADAPT.  ADAPT is a national grassroots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.  She also became involved in the Independent Living Council of Wisconsin where she served as the Council’s Secretary and Chair of the Membership Committee.  She and her husband have attended several national rallies.  They co-founded Central Wisconsin ADAPT. She’s very proud to be National ADAPT’s Media Chair and an ADAPT member!

Marilee owns her own business called Adamski-Smith Multimedia Solutions.  Through her business, she provides a host of services. She can design and create logos, business cards and brochures; make slideshows, do video editing and DVD authoring, photo restoration, DVD conversion, website design and hosting.  She really enjoys owning her own business.

Currently, Marilee and her husband live in Brookfield Wisconsin, and in the very near future, and they also plan to design and build a universal design home. They hope to start a family soon.  Her disability does not define her. She says, “I am a wife, business owner, sister, Godmother, Aunt, and a great friend. Who knows where life will take me next; I am so thankful for all the experiences that I went through in my life. If I didn't have the experiences that I did, I wouldn't be the person I am today and it all started with how I was brought up by my parents and the help of self-directed services that allows me to live independently in the community, in my own home. They have shaped me into the person I am today!”

How are you involved with self-determination?

Marilee explains that her parents taught her to always believe in herself and that if she set her mind to some goal that she can achieve it. One example of this was: after graduating from college, she had worked for a couple of different graphic design companies, but she felt that she was not being challenged and at times the opportunities were less. So, she decided to start her own graphic design business, Adamski-Smith Multimedia Solutions.

Why did you join the SD Network?

Marilee joined the SD Network mainly to network and get to know people.  Being part of the Self-Determination Network allows her to connect with other people that have disabilities that want to live independently in the community. “Being part of all of these different organizations, I have had the opportunity to meet with different Senators and Legislators at the State level and in Washington DC to advocate for disability rights,” she says.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Recently, Marilee has had to scale down on my graphic design business because she has an increasing larger role in ADAPT. One of the primary things they are focus on is to pass the legislation - Disability Integration Act (DIA). She explains that the DIA is civil rights legislation to address the fundamental issue that people who need Long Term Services and Supports LTSS are forced into institutions and are losing their basic civil rights. The DIA is intended to assure that people with disabilities can live in the community rather than be forced into nursing facilities and other institutions. This groundbreaking legislation establishes statutory civil rights language - comparable to the ADA - which requires public entities and Long-Term Service and Supports insurance providers to change their policies, provide community-based services first, and offer Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) to people currently in institutions. This legislation builds on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities HCBS as an alternative to institutionalization.

She’s very excited about this legislation because it will be the next big step in disability rights since the ADA and it will give people with disabilities the right to choose to receive long term care in their own home and community settings instead of being forced into nursing homes. “For people like myself, having this right means many other opportunities open up. We can choose where they would like to live, go to school, get a job, etc.,” she says.  She’s looking forward to being part of this history as they’re working hard to get this legislation passed this summer in the House. If people would like to participate in this effort she has many ways in which everyone can help. If you would like to help please email her.

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Marilee encourages people to never give up and reach out to your support networks. She explains that there will be obstacles in life, but you can find allies in your journey who can help you get back up when facing an obstacle. She notes that the SD network is an example of allies.

She also encourages people to get involved in disability advocacy and join organizations and groups that help people with disabilities live an independent life. “ADAPT, WBPDD and the SD Network are great organizations and groups that believe that all people with disabilities should be treated as equal as non-disabled people,” she says.

What are some of your hobbies?

In her free time, Marilee likes to go camping and geocaching. Every summer, she tries to pack in at least six camping trips. She also likes to cook new recipes, go swimming, do jigsaw puzzles, going to the movies, theater plays and concerts. She loves spending time with family and friends as well--especially her husband, Joseph and two god children, Avery and Cole!

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Don and Tyler


By SD Network, 2019-04-03

dt.jpegMeet Don and Tyler.  For this dynamic father/son duo, it’s all about sports.  Tyler is a multi sport Special Olympian and has competed all around the world.  This talented athlete has run multiple marathons and gearing up for the World Track & Field Championships in Australia!  For dad, Don, volunteering with Special Olympics ultimately led to a career switch, so he could make an impact in the lives of people with disabilities.  He and his wife raised Tyler in a way that always prepared him to be on his own, and he is very proud that Tyler is living independently.  It’s not easy, but he encourages parents to push children and help them grow to be productive members of society!  We’re so fortunate to have Don as a member of the Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Don is the proud father three adult children—two boys and a girl.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry, but, after volunteering for seven years with the organization, in 2010, he became the Vice President of Sports & Health Programs with Special Olympics Wisconsin.  He made the switch to the non-profit to make an impact in the lives of people with disabilities.  His middle child, Tyler, is a Special Olympian.

Tyler lives independently in a condo with the assistance of a part-time caregiver.  He works in the online ordering department at Woodmans.  He participates in Special Olympics and has competed in over nine sports including track, bowling, alpine skiing, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and flag football.  He went to the 2014 Special Olympics USA games and won a gold medal on the state flag football team.  As the Special Olympics Wisconsin Health Leader and Global Ambassador, he promotes healthy lifestyle and spreads the positive message of Special Olympics. He has raced in multiple half-marathons (best time 1hr 36min) and one full marathon (3hr 39min). He has competed in world level competitions in track (Ecuador) and half-marathon Portugal) and is currently training for the World Track & Field Championships for athletes with intellectual disabilities in Australia this October. 

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Don shares that he has always been a strong proponent of finding ways for individuals to help create and fulfill their life dreams. He explains that he and his wife raised Tyler in a way that they were always preparing him to be able to live on his own, and their school district did a very good helping Tyler learn work skills that transitioned in many years at Panera Bread and now Woodman’s. “Tyler loves being productive and bring home a paycheck. He had been planning on moving out for several years and last October that dream because a reality,” he says.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Don is extremely proud that Tyler is living on his own.  He explains that young adults of any ability dream of moving out from mom/dad’s house and living independently. Young adults with disabilities are no different.

For Tyler, the Paralympic running experience has been pretty exciting. He is able to travel on his own with the USA Team. 

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Don encourages parents not to treat your child different just because they have a disability. He says to push them and help them grow to be productive members of society that will someday not need mom or dad. “That is hard as parents. Especially when you have a child with a disability. Also help prepare them for life without you,” he says. 

What are some of your hobbies?  

In his free time, Don enjoys reading, doing crosswords, hiking, and watching sports.  When Tyler isn’t busy working or training, he enjoys watching sports and hanging out with friends. 

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Ginger Beuk


By SD Network, 2019-03-07

gb.jpgMeet Ginger Beuk.  Beginning at a very early age, this self-advocate learned the value of self-determination and advocacy.  When she’s not busy attending meetings for People First where she fiercely advocates for people with disabilities, she loves watching Wisconsin sports.  We are so fortunate to have her as a member of the Self-Determination Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ginger was born with cerebral palsy. Her parents started advocating for her at a young age. She explains that as she grew up, she learned why it was important to advocate for things that would make her life easier and better. She is a very independent woman who lives in her own apartment with staff that comes in a couple days a week to help her with things that are hard for her to do.

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Ginger joined the Self-Determination Network so she could use it as a resource for her local People First group.  She also as a tool in her own life.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Ginger explains that there are a couple things in Wisconsin that are great news to anyone with a physical challenge or intellectual challenge. The first thing is that last year Governor Walker signed a bill to make Supported Decision Making as an option to Guardianship. The second is that Governor Evers has signed Executive order #11 to create a task force to help caregivers in Wisconsin.

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

As Vice President of People First Wisconsin, Ginger knows everyone has the chance to start living a self-determined life. “Even if it is as simple as picking out the clothes that they want to wear that day,” she explains.

What are some of your hobbies?

Ginger is an avid sports fan.  She loves watching Wisconsin sports teams—especially the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin football. She also enjoys doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles and loves coloring in adult coloring books.

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

Member Spotlight: Hunter Kelch


By SD Network, 2019-01-31

hunter.jpgMeet Hunter.  When this author isn’t busy blogging on his website, he loves watching sports and going on adventures.  He attended the Self-determination Conference for the first time and loved connecting with others his age.  He believes self-determination is a process and he encourages people to never ever give up.  We’re so fortunate to have Hunter as a member of the Network! 

What's your story?  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hunter is 26 years old.  He was born three months premature in Milwaukee, WI.  He has Cerebral Palsy and is considered a quadriplegic.  He uses a wheelchair to get around and has a visual perception deficit.  He has a brother adopted from Vietnam who has a hearing impairment and an intellectual disability.

Currently, Hunter lives in Wausau, WI in his own apartment with his cat, Sully.  He lives independently with the help of a team of caregivers, including his mom.  He uses an emergency alert system for added safety.

Hunter is the owner and author of www.comerollwithme.com.  He has been working hard to become a professional blogger and advocate for individuals with disabilities.  He would like to expand, becoming a public speaker soon. 

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Hunter explains that his IRIS consultant, Jennifer, told him about the Self-Determination Conference in Wisconsin Dells this past October.  He went as a vendor, promoting his blog and selling “Super Power” T-shirts.  He wanted to also learn about others with disabilities to make him a better advocate.  

Hunter lives in a building with other individuals with disabilities, but they are all much older than I am.  He says the conference opened the door for him to meet others his age with disabilities.  “It reminded me that I am not alone. I connected with some incredible people,” he explained.  He joined the SD Network to continue connecting with other individuals with disabilities.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Becoming a member of the SD Network is exciting for Hunter!  “I am hoping to meet new people and develop friendships,” he says.

Professionally, Hunter excited to have Virginia and Scott Steuck join the Come Roll With Me team.  They will be helping him with marketing and expanding his reach.  He’s excited for the growth and expansion of his blog and website. 

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Hunter explains that even though it may take a while, continue to look ahead.  Being independent takes self-determination.  However, it is a process.  If you are working toward a goal, you are a success!  Slow and steady wins the race. Obstacles are a part of living with a disability.  Don’t let frustration cloud your view.  Take a step back and figure out a strategy to make things fall into place.  “Most importantly, never EVER give up,” he exclaims!

What are some of your hobbies?  

In his free time, Hunter can be found on his computer or in front of his PS4.  He also loves watching sports, including football, baseball, and wrestling.  In the summer, he can be found at Athletic Field cheering on the Woodchucks. He also loves exploring new places and pushing his comfort zone with new adventures.  Last year, he went water skiing and also rode on the back of a motorcycle!  

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

 

Member Spotlight: Allison Lourash


By SD Network, 2018-12-04

alllison.jpgMeet Allison.  Between writing her dissertation and volunteering on many boards, she works as a Program Manager. She believes self-determination goes beyond self-direction and that it’s important that people understand that you don’t have to do it alone.  We’re so fortunate to have her as a member of the Network.   

How are you involved with self-determination? Why did you join the SD Network?

Allison has worked on a number of projects related to self-determination in her career. As an adult with a disability, she really values the importance of the discussing what self-determination looks like, and how to continue to advance it is a principle in services and supports.  She currently is the Program Manager for the Northern Regional Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Center.

Tell us some good news - what's the most exciting thing happening for you (or in Wisconsin) in terms self-determination?

Allison is working on her dissertation for a PhD in Human Services.  Her research is focused on social capital and people with disabilities within the context of community development and employment.  Social Capital and Self-Determination are very interlinked.  She created this document for the Self-Determination Conference explaining how they’re link.

She’s also very excited about seeing Support Decision Making becoming a reality.   She explains that she was recently at a meeting where county APS staff outlined what they are doing to implement the law.  “Living in Wausau and working across the Northwoods, I appreciate see a large policy change trickle down to the masses,” she says. 

What tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to be more self-determined?

Allison believes that self-determination goes beyond self-direction and sometimes within the service system there is a not a framework for what that looks like. “Just as we use the term independence to not mean that you should not be connected with others, self-determination does not mean you have to do it alone,” she explains.

What message would you like to share with the members of the SD Network?

Allison stresses that self-determination, like many aspects of disability, is ever evolving and it is important to assess and re-evaluate the way we frame things. She feels that the current discussion regarding person first and identity first language is a good example of the need for ongoing dialogue.

 What are some of your hobbies?

Allison keeps pretty busy working on her dissertation.  In her spare time, she really enjoys going to Farmers’ Markets—she loves the sense of community they have. She enjoys cooking and baking--especially as it gets colder. She volunteers on a variety of boards and committees and nationally lead the Employment Committee for LPA (the national organization for short stature) as well. 

***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.

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