People and Places - January 2010

Mower County woman remembered

Lavonne Marie Mallan, an Arc Mower County volunteer, Special Olympics coach and friend to many in that region, has passed away. Mallan, 59, was fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident on Dec. 5 in Humansville, MO where she lived. She had lived in Oak Grove in Mower County before moving to Missouri. Funeral services were held in Humansville with Father Pat Wissman officiating. Arc staff and volunteers in Mower County remembered Mallan as great asset to the Special Olympics program, not only as a coach but a friend to all of the athletes. She was honored on the cover of the Arc Mower County January 2010 Visions newsletter.

Memorials in honor of Mallan may be directed to Arc Mower County, 400 3rd Av. NE, Austin, MN 55912.

 

Radio Talking Book DVDs still available

Radio Talking Book, a program of State Services for the Blind, has wound up its 40-year anniversary, which was marked in 2009 with a DVD and program produced by Twin Cities Public Television, DVD release parties were held throughout the last in 2009 to make the anniversary. The final two parties were held in Grand Rapids and Mankato, with the help of Grand Rapids Volunteer Coordinator Linda Johnson and Mankato ophthalmologist Oscar Anderson, M.D.

Copies of the DVD were part of the 2009 Communication Center Annual Report, but if individuals wish to have another copy, please contact the Communication Center at 651-642-0500 or 1-800-652-9000.

 

Christmas pageant is featured

Star Tribune reporter Jeff Strickler brought readers a look at a heartfelt Christmas pageant in the newspaper’s Christmas Eve edition. The article began, “This Christmas pageant isn’t just a show, it’s a statement. It says that Mary can have a disability and Joseph can wear an oxygen tank and the Nativity story will be just as sacred, if not more so. ‘Many people think that our participants always need to be on the receiving end of blessings,’ said the Rev. Don Anderson, pastor of Christ for People with Developmental Disabilities. ‘This proves that they can be a blessing on others, too.’”

The pageant, held in Anoka, featured a large cast in the telling of the story of Jesus’ birth. Some were program participants and others were caregivers. Anderson has worked in special needs ministry for 30 years, and still enjoys the spontaneous events that make each year’s pageant memorable.

“I love that the joy they feel is genuine,” Anderson said. “You can see the response on their faces here, and you can see it on the faces of their caregivers and families.”

Anderson and his wife, Mary, are the founders and entire staff of Christ for People with Developmental Disabilities. They rent space in two churches for weekly services. Tuesday evenings they’re at Wayzata Evangelical Free Church (where they call their congregation the King’s Community Fellowship). Thursday nights they’re at Anoka Covenant Church (the congregation is called People of Praise). Between the two services, they average about 300 worshipers a week. “We deal with a wide variety of conditions, from autism to cerebral palsy to hydrocephaly to Down syndrome,” Anderson said. Members range in age mainly from teenager to adult, “but we’re starting to draw younger kids.”

During the day, Anderson visits group homes to minister to those who can’t make it to services. “I go from Cambridge to Shakopee, from Norwood and Young America to Woodbury. He also serves as an advisor to other churches.

 

New data base unveiled

Youth, families, and professionals will have an easier time finding organizations that provide services to youth, including those with disabilities, thanks to a new statewide online database created by Project C3: Connecting Minnesota Youth, Families, & Professionals to Communities and Careers (c3online.org).

More than 150 youth with disabilities from across the state of Minnesota participated in the Project C3 internship program that not only built the unique “Resource Map” database, but also helped interns develop critical work skills.

Anyone can search the database of more than 1,000 participating organizations for resources in employment, transportation, housing, education, health, and recreation at c3online.org. Click on “C3” MN to access the resource map featuring Minnesota youth services throughout the state. After typing in what you are searching for and a town or zip code, a map and resources will appear.

“The goal of C3 is to help young adults with and without disabilities prepare for employment or to continue their education after high school,” said Andrea Moore, C3 Youth Resources Coordinator. “With C3’s database, students can find valuable resources that can help them meet their goals.”

Project C3 is a partnership of several Minnesota state agencies and PACER Center, a nonprofit agency serving Minnesota families of children and youth with disabilities. Partners include the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and the Minnesota Department of Education.

Organizations can still have their program featured on c3online.org. “Participating is free, and makes it easier for youth, families, and professionals to find the service,” Moore said. To add an organization or service to the Web site, visit c3online.org, click on “C3 MN” to access the resource map, then click on “Add a Resource” and “Join Now.” Organizations can also call PACER at 800-537-2237 or 952-838-9000 and ask for Andrea Moore.

 

Duluth resident is honored

A Duluth woman was honored in December by Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Galen White was given the National Secretaries of State (NASS) service award. White was honored during a ceremony at the United Way of Greater Duluth. White is an Americorps VISTA worker at the United Way of Greater Duluth. She was honored for her efforts in assisting voters with disabilities in voting. White is a 2008 graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The NASS Medallion Award allows secretaries of state to recognize individuals for outstanding service and dedication to furthering the mission of the National Association of Secretaries of State and the states.

 

New Web site launched

The Full Life Ahead Foundation (FLAF), Birmingham, AL, an organization providing national “disAbility” transition support, announces the launch of its new Web site today.

“The Full Life Ahead Foundation’s new Web site will be able to serve the national disAbility community better than ever before,” said Judy Barclay, President Emeritus and C0-Founder of the Full Life Ahead Foundation. “Families, individuals and educators now have quick and easy access to the proven resources used by the Foundation to successfully bring hope into the lives of those with disA-bilities.”

Visitors to the website can watch videos or read personal testimonies of individuals who, through the transition services provided by FLAF, are now achieving their dreams of employment, lifestyle and beyond.

The Foundation’s highly successful HOPE TEAM plan is also outlined on the new Web site. One of the building blocks to success used by FLAF staff and partners, this plan walks users through a step-by-step process of building support between and in communities and families so that individuals can discover, set and realize goals and dreams. A video describing the HOPE TEAM approach is also available for viewing.

 

Sports champs crowned

The Minnesota State High School League has honored its first adapted sports champions for the 2009-2010 academic year, in soccer. The Park Center High School Pirates repeated as the cognitive impairments or CI champion. The Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka Robins took the physical impairments or PI title, also defending its 2008 title.

In the PI division, Robbins-dale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka began tournament play as the top seed in the North Division. The Hawks of Dakota United were the top seed in the South Division.

Robbinsdale defeated St. Paul Highland Park in the first round, and then topped Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville in the second round. The Robins faced Anoka-Hennepin the championship game, which ended in a shootout after a 4-4 tie. Robbinsdale scored twice in the shootout to win.

Other teams in the PI division were South Suburban, Park Center and St. Paul Humboldt. Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville won the third place title, defeating Dakota United. South Suburban defeated Park Center for the consolation title.

Park Center’s CI team also includes players from Maple Grove and Osseo. The Pirates began the tournament seeded third in the North Division, with Anoka-Hennepin holding the top spot. The Pirates defeated Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake-Shakopee in the first round of play, and then topped Mounds View/Iron-dale/Roseville to make the finals. Park Center and South Suburban made the finals, which ended after regulation play at 1-1. Park Center then scored the lone goal in the shootout to take the state title.

Other teams in the CI tournament included Dakota United, Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville and St. Cloud Area. Third place went to Anoka-Hennepin, which defeated Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville. Dakota United won the consolation title by defeating St. Cloud Area.