People & Places – February 2016

Alzheimer’s, dementia are focus of new Board on Aging grant program A new Minnesota Board on Aging grant program will help […]

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Alzheimer’s, dementia are focus of new Board on Aging grant program

A new Minnesota Board on Aging grant program will help community organizations raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and serve caregivers of people who have the diseases.

The 2015 Minnesota Legislature appropriated $1.5 million, which will be used now through June 30, 2017, to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, increase the rate of cognitive testing in the population at risk for forms of dementia, promote the benefits of early diagnosis and connect caregivers to education and resources.

“Alzheimer’s alone impacts some 89,000 Minnesotans over age 65 and the number is growing,” said Jean Wood, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “These grants promote a more supportive environment for people with dementia, including resources for their caregivers.”

All 20 projects funded have awareness-raising efforts, including using theater to educate Latino communities about dementia and a social media platform to do outreach to the Korean community. Other grant recipients will promote the benefits of early diagnosis of dementia and offer early identification memory screenings within senior public housing facilities, engage with businesses to identify working caregivers, and promote safe exercise programs for people with Alzheimer’s.

The grant recipients include educational institutions, public health boards, long-term care providers and community organizations.

Grantees and their awards are:

• A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota, Slayton, $93,000 for a five-county project including dementia education for consumers and health care providers, early identification screening and caregiver services and resources, while being responsive to American Indian and Hispanic individuals.

• Age Well Arrowhead Inc., Duluth, $49,999 for dementia education to local employers and their employees, and support and resources for working caregivers.

• Centro Tyrone Guzman, Minneapolis, $88,500 for Spanish-based dementia education, including theater for caregivers, and other support and resources.

• Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital, Montevideo, $17,374 to increase access to a memory clinic for Hispanic individuals; provide dementia education, including Virtual Dementia Tours; and connect caregivers to services and resources.

• Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, St. Paul, $49,999 for outreach and dementia education and to connect Latino caregivers to services and resources.

• East Side Neighborhood Services, Inc., Minneapolis, $49,953 to offer dementia education to the organization’s employees and volunteers who provide services to seniors at home and to provide education, support and resources to other caregivers.

• Helping Hands Outreach, Holdingford, $49,713 to offer dementia education, early identification screening, cognitive testing with health care providers and connecting caregivers to services and resources.

• Isanti County Public Health, Cambridge, $138,944 for 10 organizations to offer dementia education, early identification screening, add a dementia electronic medical records process, connect caregivers to services and resources and promote tracking technology for the search and rescue of individuals with cognitive disorders.

• Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Minneapolis, Minnetonka, $135,000 to offer dementia education and early identification memory screening and to connect caregivers to services and resources while being responsive to Jewish, Russian-speaking and Somali individuals.

• Jones-Harrison Residence, Minneapolis, $49,504 to offer dementia education for LGBT individuals and create appropriate key messages for the LGBT community.

• Koochiching Aging Options, International Falls, $40,646 to offer dementia education, partner with health care providers to establish referral protocols and connect caregivers to services and resources.

• Korean Service Center, Lauderdale, $91,543, for outreach to the Korean community using social media, provide dementia education and connect caregivers to services and resources responsive to Korean individuals.

• Lao Advancement Organization of America, Minneapolis, $49,994, to offer dementia education using technology, outreach to businesses and to connect caregivers to services and resources responsive to Lao individuals.

• Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, Willmar, $49,999 to offer dementia education to residents and businesses, establish a Memory Cafe and to connect caregivers to services and resources while being responsive to Hispanic and Somali individuals.

• Morrison-Todd-Wadena Community Health Board, Little Falls, $49,825 for three county public health agencies to offer dementia education to the public and professionals using numerous media outlets and to assess communities’ readiness to become dementia friendly.

• Northwoods Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program, Bemidji, $149,508 for dementia education, early identification screening, cognitive testing with healthcare providers and to connect caregivers to services and resources responsive to American Indian and LGBT individuals.

• University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, $92,313 to support caregivers and improve dementia care in a manner responsive to Hispanic individuals.

• University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, $73,500 to train exercise coaches for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

• Three Rivers Community Action, Inc., Zumbrota, $49,989 to offer dementia education and early identification screening, create a dementia resource toolkit and connect caregivers to services and resources in a manner responsive to Hispanic and Somali individuals.

• Volunteers of America of Minnesota, Minneapolis, $130,697 to offer dementia education, offer early identification screening in Minneapolis public housing senior high rises, create a dementia resource toolkit and connect caregivers to services and resources while being responsive to African-American and Somali individuals.


Wieck, Korbel honored on King Day for outstanding service

Wieck, KorbelBitterly cold temperatures didn’t discourage a hardy group that turned out January 18 for Minnesota’s annual’s celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. “The Power of Telling Your Story: 30 Tears of Us” was the theme for the annual celebration.

Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Velma Korbel, director of the Minneapolis Department of Human Rights, were among the distinguished service honorees. Wieck has led the council for 35 years. It is part of the Minnesota Department of Administration. She is nationally known for her public policy work and her focus on de-institutionalization, supported employment, family support, self-determination and education. She has produced more than 150 publications and several award-winning DVDs. More than 27,000 advocates worldwide have graduated from the council’s Partners in Policymaking Program.

Korbel is widely respected for her work on equal opportunity issues. She previously served as a commissioner
of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and director of diversity and equal opportunity for Metropolitan Council. She has served on numerous boards and committees, and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

The program including honors for lifetime achievement to Judge Michael J. Davis, a welcome by Gov. Mark Dayton, music and a keynote address by Talila A. Lewis. Lewis is an activist-attorney. Her law practice centers on creative equal access to the legal system for people with disabilities. She focuses on clients who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and deaf with other disabilities. She created the national deaf prisoner data base and is considered an international issues on legal system access. She provides training on disability-related topics. Lewis organized the #Deafinprison campaign and leads the American Civil Liberties Union’s “Know Your Deaf Rights Campaign.” She was named a White House Champion of Change in 2015. She is from New York.

The annual celebration is organized by a governor’s committee.


Opportunity Services crew enjoys a fresh approach

Opportunity ServicesThe Fresh Food Company at the University of Minnesota is enjoying a partnership with an Opportunity Services crew from Coon Rapids. The workers and food service provider have worked together since fall 2014, after the Fresh Food Company opened on the area campus. The food service provider is modeled after a European marketplace.

The work crew enjoys a daily taste of campus life, working three hours a day, Monday through Friday during the school year. The workers wipe down the tables, manage the dish room, assist with stocking food and dishes in addition to cleaning various serving areas. The work team is supervised by Melissa Hodge, job coach. “We all love working at The Fresh Food Company. The entire Fresh Foods staff are welcoming to the clients and in return the clients pour their hearts into the work,” Hodge said. The work is also very busy as the dining facility serves more than 1,000 students at lunch time.

Opportunity Services client Thomas agreed.

“Working here is my dream job. I love being busy and getting to know my co-workers. Everyone is nice and the work is fun!”


Interact Center announces changes

InteractInteract Center for the Arts, which offers performing and visual arts opportunities for people with disabilities, has announced two leaders. The center is located in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.

Shannon Forney is the new managing director at Interact. Forney was most recently the program director at the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council in St Paul. As an emerging arts leader and thinker, she is interested in how the modern arts movement is being shaped by the shift towards participation, inclusion and co-curation of meaning. Her master’s degree research explored how the arts business model might change from brick and mortar operations to co-ops, collaborations, pop-ups and online forums.

Forney’s personal arts training is in physical theater, puppetry and red nose clown. She has studied with master clown Giovanni Fusetti and been mentored by Nina Rolle, adjunct faculty member at Naropa University in Colorado and creator of ZenCabaret©. She participated in the LaMama Theater/Trinity College travel study program in Tibet, Nepal and India and was a touring performer with the Bread and Puppet Theatre in Glover, VT. She dabbles in book arts and letterpress printing. Regardless of medium, humor and playfulness inform her craft.

Beth Loraine Bowman is Interact’s new director of advancement. She is a practicing studio artist and arts and culture leadership professional. She is currently serves as on the board of directors at the University of Minnesota College of Design Alumni Board and is a past board president. She also serves on the board of the Givens Foundation for African-American Literature.

Bowman studied art and design in the United States and France, and holds a bachelor of fine arts and a master’s degree in art education. She has worked with many arts and culture organizations including Art Basel, Cycling Museum of Minnesota, Children’s Museum of Minnesota, Hippodrome State Theatre, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Soap Factory, Minnesota State Arts Board, College of Visual Arts, DOCOMOMO MN, Artspace Projects, Walker Art Center, SooVAC, Springboard for the Arts and other neighborhood creative community groups.

Bowman has exhibited her visual work internationally, including six solo shows and more than 40 group exhibitions.


Davis is new leader at Wingspan

Therese DavisTherese Davis is the new executive director at Wingspan Life Resources. She succeeds Pat Moore, who retired after 25 years’ dedicated service to Wingspan. Wingspan offers a range of residential care and opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. It is based in St. Paul.

Davis’ 39-year career with Wingspan began in 1977. She most recently was its chief operations officer. Davis has been an integral part of Wingspan’s growth and programming expansion over the years. Her responsibilities have included direction and oversight for 24 residential group homes, the program for those living with family or independently, the Three Directions Program for adults with disabilities looking for work, volunteer opportunities or social interaction, and oversight of peer support programs. Davis directed the efforts of “Tsev Laus Kaj Siab,” a first-of-its kind, culturally-specific day center for Hmong adults. The center began in 2001.

Her new role includes responsibilities for human resources, finance, resource development and board recruitment. The Wingspan Board of Directors praised Davis for her depth of one-on-one experience in serving adults with disabilities, combined with her connection to families, case managers, social workers, physicians, and therapists. She is considered to be one of the disability community’s most ardent advocates, both for those being served and for direct support professionals.

Davis said she looks forward to utilizing her insights, expertise and passion for the mission to lead Wingspan Life Resources in bold directions aimed at optimizing support, nurturing well-being and independence and expanding services including respite care for families.


Young technology professional lands his dream job

Tyler KoeckeritzWhen Hudson resident and electronics hobbyist Tyler Koeckeritz came to ProAct for help in finding a job, he didn’t have an interest in the more traditional work.

Koeckeritz has autism. He also has a knack for building all kinds of electronic devices to improve on existing technologies. He keeps a mobile portfolio of sorts in photographic form on his smartphone.

A tip from a friend led ProAct job developer Traci Kolo to Paul Saldin, president of Resolution Engineering in Hudson, Wisc. Saldin’s company works hand in hand with Resolution Products, producing components primarily for residential security systems.

Koeckeritz was able to show off his work. From high-end computer cooling fans to power supply modifications and measurements, it was obvious that his passions were a match for the company.

He was soon offered a job. “Tyler has a lot of background doing his own research. He is very knowledgeable,” Saldin said.

Together, Resolution and its employees lay claim to more than two dozen product patents, which are displayed in a conference room. Saldin said the display shows the company’s expertise and ability to design innovative things. Resolution received Residential Security Product of the Year honors at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Koeckeritz uses instruments and meters to rework items coming out of production. He’ll also get involved in product testing and evaluation, Saldin said. His work helps free up engineers to perform other functions.

Sitting in a technology operating room of sorts, Koeckeritz has inductors, capacitors, spools of wire and high-end soldering irons within his reach. Some parts are so small, Koeckeritz must use tweezers to move and place them.

“It is awesome working here,” said Koeckeritz. He keeps a journal of new ideas to share with the company president.

Saldin said he likes the way Koeckeritz’s mind works. “I can tell that he thinks a lot about this stuff,” Saldin said. “He’s very detailed. He makes drawings and notations about his ideas.” The practical aspect of the business involves a lot of testing to assure that installers and dealers have properly working products at the job sites. Coming up with new designs is also important.

“He understands all the concepts,” said Kolo. “You don’t have to explain anything to him. He tries to explain
it to me, and I’m like, ‘Tyler, seriously, I don’t have a clue.’”

Koeckeritz said he learns a lot from books and online, expanding his knowledge constantly. A common theme of his work is to take an existing product and make it better by customization.

Some of his ideas may make their way into new products. Or he may improve on existing ones. ProAct is headquartered in Eagan and has additional operations in Red Wing, Zumbrota and Hudson.



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