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WCI Newsletter, September 2nd, 2016

nancy headshotMessage From The President & CEO

ANCOR, the American Network of Community Options & Resources, a national organization of providers supporting people with intellectual disabilities and other disabilities, seeks members support in reaching out to US Senators Nationwide to sign onto a proclamation declaring the 2nd week of September DSP Recognition Week.
Each year I contact Massachusetts US Senators, Edward Markey & Elizabeth Warren as well as Governor Charlie Baker requesting that they support & proclaim the 2nd week of September as DSP Recognition Week. This year it is September 12-16, 2016. During this week we recognize our DSPs who have committed their time and attention to supporting all of the Individuals at WCI to have a rich and meaningful life at home at work & in their communities. We provide stories of the important work that DSPs do every day to provide meaningful lives. We hold Breakfasts, Barbecues and Luncheons by Division that week, providing raffles & gift cards to also show our appreciation. We recommend that Board members, family members & guardians join us that week or send notes of thanks or other mementos of appreciation. Look for our photos on Facebook and on our website in September.

We want to thank Governor Baker for his immediate support of the DSP Recognition Week in September and his support of DSPs across the Commonwealth. In addition, we have US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s & Senator Edward Markey’s support as well, as they have both contacted Senator Cardin of Maryland to sign on and be a Co-Sponsor of the Resolution.

I notified the ADDP, Provider’s Council and The ARC of Massachusetts to begin advertising the Proclamation statewide so all providers can support their DSPs and send in stories & photographs.

See the Link here! The purpose is to announce it and give recognition to all of the staff who have supported people with disabilities across the Commonwealth!


Silent Lunch

slunch2016On Wednesday August 10th, WCI had its 2nd annual Silent Lunch for staff and Individuals. The lunch was a fun and interactive event where people entered the large conference room and turned off their voices, using hands and gestures to communicate. It was a fun challenge for a lot people who had to try and figure out what was being said and how to say certain things. We started off the event with an ice breaker where people had to ask others in search for answers to a questionnaire such as who ran a marathon or who was born in another country. The telephone game was played next which I think most had a riot with. There were three lines with all being given the same sentence. There was a lot of laughter and repetition as people tried to master the correct signs for the sentence. Afterwards, we played Bingo where Nancy G. helped with calling out the letters/numbers. There were several winners before the game was wrapped up. Everyone left happy, with a little more knowledge of Deaf culture and learned a new sign or two.


WCI Annual Family Barbecue – August 17th at the Arsenal Park in Watertown

On August 17, 2016 WCI held its 3rd Annual Family Agency Barbecue. DSC_0388We invited all of our Family members & guardians to join our staff and Individuals in a pleasant summer evening of conversation, food & fun. We had approximately 300 people attend the event this year including Individuals, family members, guardians, staff, and staff from the Charles River West Area Office. Each year it gets bigger and better.

We want to thank Joe Donati, VP of Operations, for organizing the event and making the evening a tremendous success. Our event was made possible due to the hard work and dedication of our many volunteers. There was Claire Mwara, Abigail Stevens, Anne Ndunda, Julie Morse, Melissa Stuchins, John Bradley, Jennifer Lopes, Leah Andrews, Frank Rich, Jason Moss, Pam Laventure, Sally Roach, Paula Dunn-Meadows and Aneta Hazen all from the Main Office to support the event. There was Kerry Metelus and Jason Dulong from the Maintenance Department assisting with the set up and take down. Kim Shulman from Phillips Circle was also there to help get the party set up with decorations. There were Board Members and Development Committee members, Ruth Harutunian, Tom Montanari, Rhonda LeSanto and Rob McMullen helping with the food line keeping everyone fed and working on the planning of the event. We had family members of staff, family members of the Development Committee and even more people in the background helping to make this such a memorable event. This shared effort definitely showed there are many people included in the “We” of We Are WCI.

A big thanks to Buffet Way for the delicious Barbecue, AA Rental for the tables & chairs, Belmont Springs for their water donation & Ruth Harutunian for arranging it with the Watertown Recreation Department to recruit her family to assist with serving the delicious meal.

This was WCI’s third annual event and we are looking forward to making next year another great success.


Congratulations, Billy! – by Joe Donati, Vice President of Operations

It is my great pleasure to announce that our Billy Batista has been selected by the Providers Council billyto receive the Gerry Wright Direct Service Employee Award. Two of these awards are given every year at the Providers Council Convention in October to Direct Service Professionals that have demonstrated outstanding dedication. Leah Andrews, Director of Supports, brought Billy’s name forward as a great example of one of our Direct Support Professionals that truly shows how much he cares and his dedication to the Individuals and Staff here at WCI. There are countless times of his being there for the Individuals that we support in Individual Supports in their time of need while also being there to support his supervisors and his team. He has also been able to demonstrate how impressive his teaching skills are by becoming one of WCI’s top Safety Care Instructors.

Thank you Billy from all of us at WCI!! It is an honor and a pleasure to work with you!

Please be sure to say “Hi” to Billy and congratulate him for this achievement.


Sheryll meets Paul McCartney by Dawn Gardner, Support Coordinator, Social Supports

IMG_151711Sheryll has been a big Beatles fan since the tender age of 10. Sheryll and I have had many conversations regarding the Beatles and she has commented many times that she would like to see them live. I did some research and found out that Sir Paul McCartney would be having a concert on July 17th, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston. Sheryll has commented many times about her brother, Jeff, who works for Apple Records, which is owned by Sir Paul McCar

tney as well as Ringo Starr. I reached out to Jeff without her knowledge to see if he could help Sheryll achieve her dream of seeing him in concert. Jeff replied to my email and said that he could get us a pair of tickets for the show. On July 5th, Jeff notified me that he had obtained not only concert tickets, but backstage passes for Sheryll and myself. I asked him that he please not tell her so that she would be surprised. Jeff agreed to keep this under wraps.

On July 17th I picked up Sheryll at noon. She was unaware as to why I picked her up so early. She and I went to Boston to eat lunch at Uno’s in Kenmore Square.

As she turned her head and saw her brother, her face lit up with the biggest smile I have ever seen. She said, “Jeff, what are you doing here?” He said, “Surprise!” She was so excited. Jeff then told Sheryll that we were going to see Paul McCartney. We all went over to Fenway Park and we stood underneath the bleachers. We heard loud sirens coming towards us and saw a line of Black SUV’s. It was Paul McCartney’s caravan entering underground at Fenway Park. He was hanging out of the widow as he passed by us and Sheryll was over taken by emotion. She yelled out, “HELLO PAUL MCCARTNEY! I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN.”

Still at this point Sheryll had no idea that in a few minutes her dream of meeting Paul would be a reality. IMG_15191Paul was rushed onto the stage to do his sound check before the concert. When the sound check was over, I took Sheryll backstage and told her we had to go get our tickets, and then it happened, Sir Paul McCartney walked down the stairs. The look on her face was priceless as she started yelling his name. Jeff asked Paul if he would mind taking a picture with Sheryll. Once again, she was overcome with emotion. She had her picture taken and spoke to Paul as if they were old friends. She told Paul that she had been the biggest Beatle fan since she was born, Paul asked Sheryll how long had she been a fan, in which Sheryll replied, “Since I was born in 1950.” Paul laughed and said, “Thank you,” but the Beatles weren’t formed till 1960. Sheryll said, “I have been a fan since I was 10.”

When Sheryll was finished talking and taking pictures with Paul, she also got to meet Sir Paul’s wife, Nancy, as well as Linda McCartney’s brother, John Eastman, and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. Sheryll and I then went backstage to Craft Services where the band and Paul’s Security Team was having lunch. We were invited to sit and eat with them. As the time passed, Sheryll got to spend quality time with Jeff, which made her so happy. As the day was passing, it was time for the big event to begin. We were led to the side stage. The lights went off and it was Showtime! Sheryll sang every single song and we danced until the end of the show. When the concert was over, Sheryll turned to me and I noticed that she had tears coming down her face. I thought that she was crying because the concert was over. I said, “Why are you crying?” She hugged me, and said, “Thank you, Dawn, so much. I have never been so happy in my life,” in which I replied, “No Sheryll, Thank you! I am so happy your dream came true and was able to witness it.”


WCI Red Sox Raffle Winners!

671Congratulations to Colt Navins and Brian McIrney, winners of this year’s Red Sox Raffle! Have fun at the game, and thank you to everyone who donated!


New Volunteer Opportunity at Newton Wellesley Hospital by Greg Chludzinski, Job Developer

Last week the Deaf Employment/Day Supports Program started volunteeri20160804_115257ng at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in the Environmental Services Department. The job is to go to the various departments and offices in the main building of the hospital and collect the paper recycling. We have been working on setting up this opportunity for some time now and I am proud that we are finally up and running between 10 to 12 noon every Thursday. It has been great for me to go with Robin, Sidney, and Andrea the past two weeks and they have seemed very happy to be there too. At the conclusion of their shift, the Individuals earn a Snack Waiver for the cafeteria.

In the short time that we have been there, we have already made a positive impression on some of the staff at NWH. People are generally very happy to see the Individuals and have been very helpful with us learning the ins and outs of the job. I have had several people ask me how to say, “Hello” and Thank you” to the Individuals using American Sign Language. One of my objectives in pursuing this opportunity was to improve our relationship with NWH. I think we have already made some steps towards doing that.


Headlines

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A Tour Of The West Wing (In Sign Language)

Social media campaign wants to change how people with disabilities are seen

Abled, disabled connect through dance in DanceAbility

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My Name is David, I Have Autism

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This man is traveling 300 miles by wheelchair to push for more accessible nature trails

Apple’s Blind Engineer Shows Commitment to Accessibility Design & Quality Team

Autistic Activist Lydia X.Z. Brown Is Fighting ‘Violence Affecting Disabled Folks’

Regulations Broaden Who’s Covered Under ADA

We Don’t Need an Autism ‘Cure,’ but Compassion and Tolerance Would Be Great

He made an app to help himself and people like him with panic attacks.

Dog Ownership May Ease Stress In Autism Families

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop

Roughly one in five Americans lives with a disability. So where is our pride movement?

Twitch Will Highlight Disabled Gamers This Week

‘This Chair Doesn’t Define Me’: Comic with Rare Disability to Take on ‘Rocky’ Steps

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An Uncommon Friendship

Elephant Therapy Provides Comfort to Thai People With Autism

How Media Prevents Us From Truly Empathizing With Disabled Characters

The Best Means of Avoiding Alzheimer’s Is Dance?

Waiting List Placements May Violate ADA

I have a disability! Get me out of here!

Dear Ann Coulter: What Did You Mean by ‘Standard R*tard’?

The Dos And Don’ts Of Writing About The Disabled


Also remember to check out the all new wearewci.org and our Social Media feeds! Please like, share, and subscribe to our feeds to keep up to date on WCI and community events, interesting articles and videos, and updates on political happenings that affect the lives of our Individuals and their families!

WCI’s mission is to empower and support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve rich and meaningful lives at home, at work, and in their communities.

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