Outstanding caregivers honored by ARRM
The Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM) honored six outstanding direct support professionals from around the state during its ARRM Cares Awards Ceremony May 14 at the Doubletree Bloomington. ARRM is a statewide association of private disability providers that support people with developmental and physical disabilities, autism, brain injuries and mental illness in their pursuit of a meaningful life.
The award program began in 1996 to recognize professional caregivers who provide exemplary services to people with disabilities. Recipients of this award have demonstrated that they are committed to providing innovative, professional services to people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities.
“Year after year, our selection committee is bowled over by the inspiring stories of support these caregivers provide to people with disabilities,” said ARRM CEO Bruce Nelson. “That’s why at ARRM, we believe that every person nominated is a winner.”
The 2014 the ARRM Cares Awards were presented by ARRM Board president Darlene Scott, president and CEO of The Phoenix Residence, Inc. The winners were chosen from a field of more than 100 nominees.
The winners are:
Robert Johnson, Duluth Regional Care Center(DRCC), has worked at the Laverne facility for more than a year. A longtime community gardener, Johnson and his wife used their expertise to start the DRCC Garden Club. Garden club members helped prepare the site, plant and tend the garden, and harvest the produce to share with their housemates. The gardeners planted fruit trees and herbs. They hauled water and did other garden chores. In 2014 the garden will grow larger. One goal is to build raised bed plots for gardeners in wheelchairs. Gardeners have worked together, learned about healthy eating and had fun together, thanks to Johnson.
Joshua Lewis, Living Well Disability Services, has made a career out of helping others. Keith, a resident of the group home where Lewis works, had severe anxiety. Keith was unable to advocate for himself. But Lewis put him at ease and over time, Keith found the first trusting relationship he had had in years. Lewis helped Keith develop the skills and confidence to become a self-advocate, attend the statewide Advocating Change Together Conference and run for a board seat in a self-advocacy organization. Lewis also helped Keith make his first-ever trip to the Minnesota State High School League hockey tournament.
Tommy Nelson, Habilitative Services, Inc. After a serious accident ended his office supply delivery job, Nelson became a team lead assist for in-home support services in Marshall. He works with clients ages 6 to 26and helps each find what they enjoy and what their abilities are. He helps his clients find opportunities to express their talents. One boy has written stories about superheroes. Another boy is preparing his artwork to enter in a county fair. Nelson enjoys teaching and helping people find their abilities and talents. Nelson knows his actions are observed by those he works with and he strives to be a role model.
Jeneil Popp, Homeward Bound, Inc. Popp is a nurse and case manager for the Homeward Bound Noble Court Community Alternative Care Home, working with medically fragile clients. Popp encourages her clients to explore and express themselves through art. Clients use many different types of adaptive devices to create art. The art is then displayed at the Hennepin County Ridgedale Library’s annual Art Abilities—Art Gallery. Popp understands that every person, no matter his or her disability, can enjoy creating art and finding a means of self-expression. Art has given Popp’s clients a voice and a way to enrich their lives.
Becky Sallberg, Creative Care for Reaching Independence. Sallberg has worked for the agency for nine years. She was honored for her work with a client, Cathy, who needed help staying physically and mentally active. Sallberg made walking fun for Cathy, and helped her discover a love of riding a bicycle. Cathy has also learned to enjoy water exercise. Sallberg has helped Cathy develop healthy eating habits and easy-to-prepare meals. Recipes and pictures of each meal go into a cookbook Cathy can use. Cathy has also received help from Sallberg to cut back on smoking, participate in new social activities and go to overnight camp.
Priscilla Spaeth, Dungarvin Minnesota. Spaeth was honored for going the extra mile in helping her clients. One client had aggressive behavior issues. Rather than moving him to another facility, Spaeth worked with his probation officer, helped him with legal issues and had his medications adjusted in a hospital setting. The individual has not exhibited aggressive behavior toward others in several months and was able to complete high school and find a job. Another client, who dislikes change, needed extra attention when his home was relocated. One part of the transition was to help the client plant a garden at the new location.
Assistance dog teams from throughout the Midwest received their diplomas
Seventeen teams from throughout the upper Midwest received diplomas in May, in recognition of graduating from Can Do Canines assistance dog program. The May 17 ceremony at Can Do Canines’ facility in New Hope included a building dedication to commemorate the completion of a $4.4 million capital campaign. The campaign helped the program attain a permanent home and provide needed infrastructure for growth.
For the teams the event is the culmination of training. Puppy raisers teach basic obedience and early assistance dog skills. After 18 months, the young dogs are returned to Can Do Canines for final training and to begin their new life with a person in need, free of charge.
One graduate is four year-old Julia Rogne and her autism assist dog Ivy. Three children in the Rogne family are diagnosed with autism. Ivy already has had a life-changing impact on Julia and her family. Julia has had nightmares and was prone to running off in public. Ivy is Julia’s constant companion, being close and calm during the night and helping Julie stay in close proximity to her family.
Can Do Canines got some help preparing for graduation day from Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and approximately 80 volunteers from Honeywell and Cooper High School. They spent May 8 installing new kennels, clearing land for training and recreation spaces, creating a walking trail, repairing fencing in the exercise yard and completing other landscaping and repair tasks around the facility.
Honeywell donated $5,000 in materials in addition to volunteers’ time on the project.
Partners in Policymaking seeks participants
Forest Lake resident Xochipitzahua (known as “So-Cheel”) Flores is a parent of two daughters with disabilities.
One daughter is age 3½ with a rare genetic chromosomal condition. Her 10-year-old daughter has other special needs. To do more for her children, Flores took part in the Partners in Policymaking advocacy training program. She urges other parents who are raising children with disabilities to sign up for the training.
It was valuable to “learn about (civil and societal)rights for children with special needs,” said Flores. “I have learned how to stand up to the school system, to be an advocate for myself and feel more strong.” Flores, other parents and self-advocates became more familiar with laws regarding people with disabilities. They also learned how to testify at a hearing.
Other 2013-2014 participants praised the program. Mounds View resident Danzig “Ziggy” Norberg, a self-advocate with a physical disability, said it was valuable to be able to learn from the parents, in the class, what his own parents have had to go through. With parents who were learning to advocate for their children with disabilities, the class covered laws regarding people with disabilities and also how to testify in a hearing. Norberg, 19, who has been active in Paralympic kayak racing and political issues, highly recommends the experience to other people with disabilities.
Richfield resident and self-advocate, Millie Cell, who is on the autism spectrum, said the program helped her become better advocate for herself and for others. “I became more independent and more self-confident,” she said. Cell became more familiar with laws regarding people with disability; and how to testify in a hearing, experiences she said would be valuable to others.
Now offered in almost every state and many foreign countries, Partners in Policymaking was created by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities 27 years ago. Since 1987 about 900 Minnesotans have completed the training. More than 23,000 people have participated in Partners programs offered worldwide.
“Many graduates credit this program for helping them gain self-confidence and a greater understanding of disability law and policies, enabling them to be better advocates for their needs. Many have stepped up to become leaders in their own communities and take on greater roles in speaking for people with disabilities,” said Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.
Topics covered in the training include the history of the disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living and having an influence county, state and federal legislative processes. The two-day meetings during the program year are all held on weekends, making it easier for people to participate.
There is no cost to individuals selected for the program.
It is covered by a federal grant to the Minnesota Governor’s Council. Child care and respite allowances and overnight accommodations are also provided for participants who have to travel some distance to attend and mileage and meals are also covered by the grant. All eight sessions will be held at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott in Bloomington.
The class is limited to 40 participants, selected by a panel of program graduates and representatives of the Governor’s Council. Those selected to participate in the program are expected to attend all meetings and to complete homework assignments between the sessions.
Presenters include nationally recognized leaders in the disabilities area, as well as local experts.
“This program is based on the belief that systems change is best brought about through the efforts of those most affected by them, and we seek to arm them with the tools needed to be successful in the public policy arena,” said Wieck.
This nine-month leadership training program for people with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities is seeking applications for its sessions this fall. The first session is scheduled for September 26-27. Applications are due July 11. For further information or to receive an application form, interested individuals can go to the web page and online application form, www.mngts.org/partnersinpolicymaking or contact Carol Schoeneck at Government Training Services, 1-800-569-6878, ext. 205, or at 651-222-7409, ext. 205. She may be emailed at [email protected]
Canoe challenge to highlight PTSD
Marine Joshua Ploetz, a veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is canoeing the length of the Mississippi River. The 64-day trip began in May and will cover 2,350 miles of river. Ploetz is making the trip, called Paddle Off the War, to draw attention to PTSD and to raise money to help those who have lost a loved one to PTSD and combat stress.
Ploetz is from St. Charles and graduated from high school there in 2002. He enlisted in the Marines while still in high school. He completed training at Camp Pendleton and was a machine gunner with the Third Battalion, Third Marines Alpha and Lima Companies. He served and was wounded in Afghanistan, and experienced the hardships of war first-hand.
Ploetz has dealt with PTSD for several years. He enjoys physical activities and the outdoors, and was inspired to take his canoe trip. He expects to arrive in Louisiana around August 1.
Adapted bowling champions crowned
One new and one repeat champion went home with titles after the Minnesota State High School League Adapted Bowling Tournament May 16 at Brunswick Zone in Brooklyn Park. Simley High School of Inver Grove Heights won its second consecutive title in the PI Division, for athletes with physical disabilities.
Team members are returnees and seniors Mazin Hassabelrasoul and Kayla Wamstad, and junior Paul Stokke. They were joined by one new member, seventh- grader Emily Rettinger.
Simley bested a 10-team field, with a score of 1,740. Alexandria finished second and St. Paul Highland Park finished third.
Tartan High School of Oakdale won the CI Division title, for athletes with cognitive disabilities. Tartan bested a 32-team field that included the 2013 CI champions from Lake City. Lake City was bowling for its sixth championship. Alexandria finished second and Mankato East finished third.
Tartan racked up a score of 1,675, with senior bowler Steffie Bailey, junior Thao Chia Neng and freshmen Justin Breister and Yeng Her. It was one of seven Tartan teams in the tournament.
Prep bowlers also compete for boys’ and girls’ singles titles, and doubles’ titles. New winners were crowned in all categories.
In the PI Division, 34 bowlers competed in boys’ singles and 44 bowlers in girls’ singles. There were 27 different duos competing in doubles. Freshman Ryan Harroun of Mankato East won the PI boys’ singles title with a score of 458. Girls’ singles champion is Monticello senior Jessica Kellinen, with a score of 485. The North St. Paul team of junior Nicole Turnquist and senior Jeanne Waskosky won the doubles crown with a score of 898.
In the CI Division, there were 123 boys and 78 girls entered in the singles competition. There were 83 pairs of bowlers entered in the doubles event.
Boys’ singles champion is sophomore Keith Travis of St. Paul Como Park, with a score of 497. Girls’ singles champion is senior Keosha Farr of Minneapolis North Community, with a score of 468. Simley won the doubles crown as senior Tanner Dockter and junior Travis Mitchell had a score of 890.
Bowling will be followed this spring by the adapted softball tournament and the state track and field meet, were held after deadline for this issue of Access Press.
ARRM announces new board members
The Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota(ARRM), a statewide association of private community-based providers that support people with disabilities, has announced its 2014-2017 board of directors.
“We are especially excited about the potential contributions of our new board members,” said ARRM’s CEO Bruce Nelson. “As disability services in Minnesota continue to undergo dramatic transformations in how they are funded and regulated, this board will be instrumental in advancing quality services, as well as sustaining and building ARRM’s membership.”
ARRM’s board is a working entity of disability industry leaders. They are empowered by their organizations to make decisions affecting services for thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities. During the nomination process, ARRM sought experts who will make significant contributions to ARRM and the larger disability industry the coming years. Officers will be elected in June.
The incoming members of ARRM’s 2014-17 board of directors are Doug Annett, Opportunity Partners Inc.; Curt Bossert, Habilitative Services, Inc. and Laurie Tazelaar Williams, Community Connections Partnership. Returning members are Shannon Bock, CCRI, Inc.; Rod Carlson, Living Well Disability Services; David Doth, REM Minnesota; John Estrem, Hammer Residences, Inc. ; John Everett, Community Involvement Programs; Sandy Henry, Sengistix, LLC; Bob Hafdahl, Capstone Services, LLC; Barb Hoheisel, Mains’l Services, Inc.; John Kehr, Volunteers of America Minnesota; Karen Klein, ResCare MN; Steve Liston, Mary T. Inc.; Michael Mills, Duluth Regional Care Center; Jon Nelson, Residential Services, Inc.; Sam Orbovich, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.; Rhonda Peterson , Integrity Living Options, Inc.; Don Priebe, Homeward Bound; Vicki Sieve, MBW Company; Darlene Scott, The Phoenix Residence, Inc.; Karin Stockwell, Dungarvin Minnesota; Lisa Zaspel, Fraser; and Susann Zeug-Hoese, Mount Olivet Rolling Acres, Inc.
ALLY will ‘green up” Green Line and other spots
ALLY program participants will be digging in the dirt this planting season. The work program for people with disabilities will tend the YMCA Community Garden near University Avenue and Fairview avenues; the Midway Spirit Garden at Hamline Avenue and Pierce Butler Road, and the Historic Maplewood Bruentrup Farm. The YMCA Garden is along the new Green Line light rail line, which opens June 14.
Participants have regular watering, weed pulling and in the later summer, harvesting schedules. Fresh produce is used by participants’ families, group homes, and donated to local food shelters along in St. Paul.
This is the last year for one ALLY gardening effort. For many years ALLY participants have helped beautify Midway Stadium, by planting hundreds of annuals around the entrance and in flower boxes around the stadium. It is the home of the St. Paul Saints baseball team. The Saints are moving to the new Lowertown Ballpark next season.
Saints owner Mike Veeck is grateful for the partnership and supports ALLY People Solutions by giving away tickets to the participants who take time from their busy schedules to volunteer at the ballpark for the flower planting.