Opportunities – March 2020

SPECIAL EVENTS Discover Abilities Expo The third annual Discover Abilities Expo hosted by Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Sports & Recreation […]

Choose among many opportunities


Discover Abilities Expo

The third annual Discover Abilities Expo hosted by Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Sports & Recreation Department is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat, April 25 at the University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness Center. Learn about adaptive programs and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Table sponsors are sought, to share information and keep the event free for attendees. FFI: 612-775-2277, ckrisportsrecreation@allina. com For sponsorships, [email protected] 

Minnesota Autism Conference

Registration for the 25th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference, April 29- May 2 at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest, is open. Register now to be a part of this event. The event features four keynote speakers, the Steps of Possibilities Gallery and more. As part of an anniversary celebration, the exhibit hall and AuSM Bookstore open for FREE access on Saturday, May 2 from 7:30-11 a.m. At 9 a.m., recognize retiring Camp Hand in Hand directors, Wendy McNeil and Todd Schwartzberg. Autism Community Day is free, but registration is required. Register for the conference early as it is expected to sell out. Rates and workshop information is posted online. FFI: www.ausm.org 


Networking and support

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) Professional Networking Group meetings bring together mental health professionals who provide support to individuals on the autism spectrum together to learn. Each meeting will focus on a topic, such as therapeutic alliance, support services, or other problem-solving challenges. An AuSM counseling and consulting services staff member will present a case example and then facilitate an open group discussion for sharing relevant cases. Troubleshoot challenges and learn from other professionals. All meetings are held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at AuSM’s office, 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul. Upcoming dates include March 23. RSVP. FFI: [email protected], 651-647-1083 


PACER’s Early Childhood Family Leadership Summit

Parents of children ages birth to seven years are invited to apply for PACER’s Early Childhood Family Leadership Summit, Sat, March 28 at PACER Center in Bloomington. Deadline to apply is Mon, March 16. Forms available online. The free training will take place at PACER Center at 8161 Normandale Boulevard in Bloomington. For trainees traveling more than 50 miles one-way, shared hotel accommodations are provided. Participants will have an opportunity to network with other parents, learn about the role of serving on committees and boards and how to influence public policy, improve personal advocacy skills and enhance leadership skills and learn about the role of serving on committees and boards. Applicants must be the parent of a child with a disability who is birth to 7 years old and currently receiving special education services on an IFSP or IEP and agree to participate for the whole day. FFI: Judy Swett, 952-838-9000, j[email protected], www.pacer.org 

PACER workshop sampling

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Workshops are offered throughout the state, with some workshops available online. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Many workshops are live-streamed. Check out PACER’s website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops that allows participants to pick and choose sessions designed for their needs. FFI: 952-838-9000, www.pacer.org

  • ABCs of the IEP for Transition-age Students and Their Parents offered 6-8 p.m. Tue, March 17 in Eyota. The workshop helps parents and students in eighth grade and above understand how to use the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to support the transition to adulthood. Students can register separately for their own workshop where they will have the opportunity to talk about what transition means to them, learn about the laws that support transition, get to know their IEP better, and create a self-advocacy tool.  

Autism web portal is updated

A new look and a new navigational feel are features of the Minnesota Autism Resource Portal. The redesigned site will better equip communities, parents, self-advocates and professionals with information and tools about Autism Spectrum Disorder and its impact on family life, education and work in Minnesota. Key portal features include a resource map showing locations of ASD evaluation and intervention providers throughout Minnesota; videos that raise awareness and understanding of ASD and services available, including real Minnesota families from African American, American Indian, Hmong, Latino and Somali communities talking about their journeys from receiving a diagnosis to accessing services and supports and a resource list with links to topics such as health care, screening and diagnosis, research, intervention services and other supports. The site is part of a joint effort by multiple state agencies (the Minnesota Departments of Human Services, Education, Health, and Employment and Economic Development). The Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota is a key partner, along with the Minnesota Department of Information Technology.


Autism social group for Ages 15+

Reach for Resources offers a social program, Social Seekers, for individuals (ages 15+) on the autism spectrum. Social Seekers activities include games, crafts, discussions, outdoor recreation, and other opportunities for socializing. The program is designed to build group cohesion, sustain friendships, and provide gentle verbal redirection when needed to assist individuals with issues surrounding conflict, assertiveness, boundaries, and more. The next session will run on Wednesdays, 5:00-6:30 p.m., from March 25-May 27, but participants can join at any time with advance registration and a required intake. The group meets at the Depot in Hopkins, and cost is $205 for the 10 weeks. FFI: 952-393-4277. . 


Battling burnout and maintaining motivation

Battling Burnout and Maintaining Motivation is a free workshop sponsored by NAMI Minnesota 6:30—7:30 p.m. Thu, March 19 at Rondo Community Library, 461 Dale Street N., St. Paul. Is stress causing you to feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or mentally exhausted? That can be burnout. Join Laura Harder from Happy With Work to learn practical tips on how to prevent burnout and maintain motivation. This interactive workshop will include discussion, educational resources, giveaways and more. FFI: Wil, 651-645-2948 ext. 114.  MCIL hosts classes and activities

The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides many life skills classes as well as fun outings and events for people with disabilities. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St Paul and most activities are there or start there. Classes and events are listed on the website. Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. FFI: 651-603-2030

Classes and support in Sauk Rapids

Independent Lifestyles, Inc., 215 N. Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids, offers many groups and classes, for free or a small fee. These include advocates for independence, post-polio and Parkinson’s support groups, and sports including bowling.

  • Advocates for Independence meets 2-4 p.m. the first and third Wed of each month. Make a difference in the community for people with disabilities. Increase leadership, assertiveness and communications skills. Become a better advocate and have fun. People of all abilities are welcome. FFI: Michele Pelka, 320-281-2042.
  • Learn self-defense and improve fitness with adapted martial arts and Tae Guk Known Do. Wear loose clothing and bring a bottle of water. The classes are on Fridays unless there is a holiday. Scott Ridlon is instructor. FFI: 320-267-7717, 320- 281-2042

Mental health support offered

NAMI Minnesota offers more than 500 free educational classes and presentations statewide each year, along with help in navigating the mental health system. NAMI also has more than 70 free support groups for people living with a mental illness and their families.

In the Twin Cities NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, groups provide help and support.

  • Parent resource groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has been trained to lead support groups. A group meets 6:30-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday at Eagle Brook Church, 2401 East Buffalo St., White Bear Lake. FFI: Jody Lyons 651-645-2948 x109.
  • Family support groups help families who have a relative with a mental illness. A group meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wed at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, Roseville. FFI: Anne Mae. 651-484-0599.
  • Open Door Anxiety and Panic support groups help people cope with anxiety disorders. One group meets 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. the second and fourth Thu in Room 104, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul. Another group meets 6:30-8 p.m. the first and third Thu at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St., St. Paul.
  • peer support group is offered for LGBTQ adults living with a mental illness. The group meets 1-2:30 p.m. Sat, Living Table United Church of Christ, 3805 E. 40th St, Mpls. FFI: David, 612-920-3925, 651-645-2948.
  • Young Adult NAMI Connection is a free support group for persons ages 16-20. One group meets 7-8:30 the first and third Thu at Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul. A group also meets 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays at the dental office of Dr. Crandall & Associates, 2300 E. Highway 96, White Bear Lake. The group is facilitated by young adults who live with mental illnesses and are doing well in recovery.

full calendar of all events is offered online. FFI: 651- 645-2948.

Vision loss group offers activities

Vision Loss Resources provides free and low-cost activities in the Twin Cities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Check out the newly redone website, accessible on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Life skills classes for those with low vision; card games, craft classes, book clubs, walking groups, dinners out, special outings and technology classes are among the offerings. Participants need to RVSP to participate, at least three working days prior to an event. The calendar is also available on the Vision Loss Resources website and as a printable large-print PDF document for those who wish to print their own or additional copies. FFI: RSVP hotline, 612-843-3439; activity line and audio calendar,  612-253-5155. www.visionlossresources.org

St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease group St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group typically meets 1-2 p.m. third Mon of each month at ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids. Meetings are open to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, their families, caregivers and the general public. The free group provides support, education, and awareness about the disease. FFI: 320-529-9000

Adult support groups offered

AuSM offers free support groups for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Groups include those for adult family members, women with autism spectrum disorders and independent adults with autism. Check the website for upcoming groups. Groups meet at the AuSM offices at 2380 Wycliff St. FFI: 651-647-1083 ext. 10, www.ausm.org


Book readers sought

Volunteers are a valuable resource at Radio Talking Book, broadcasting local news and information programs to blind and print-impaired listeners from sites around the state and at the Communication Center in St. Paul. The goal is to provide accurate and timely information to our thousands of listeners throughout Minnesota and across the nation. FFI: Roberta Kitlinski, 651-539-1423

Be a tutor

Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps are seeking 1,700 tutors for the 2019-20 school year by asking residents to Help Minnesota Be More. Give Your Time As A Tutor. Both full- and part-time tutors are being recruited to begin a year of paid service this fall. By joining Reading Corps or Math Corps, individuals will be helping more than 35,000 students statewide. Reading Corps and Math Corps are statewide initiatives to help every Minnesota student become a successful reader by the end of third grade, and proficient in math by the end of eighth grade. Tutors are being sought for three different levels of commitment: 35, 25 or 18 hours a week. Tutors receive a stipend every two weeks and can earn up to an additional $4,200 for student loans or tuition, which can be gifted to a family member if the tutor is 55 or older. Many tutors also qualify for additional benefits like free health insurance and child care assistance. FFI: www. minnesotareadingcorps.org, www.minnesotamathcorps.org

Open the door to education

Help adults reach their educational goals and earn their GED. Tutor, teach or assist in a classroom with the Minnesota Literacy Council. Give 2-3 hours a week and help people expand their opportunities and change their lives through education. Provides training and support and accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251- 9110, volunteer@ mnliteracy.org, http://tinyurl.com/adult-opportunities


  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."

Take the Minnesota Disability Inclusion and Choice Survey
Access is Love. Celebrate Pride with MCD. June 29 & 30.