Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tennessee Disability Mega Conference

I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday weekend.

We've got a busy week ahead of us with the 7th annual Tennessee Disability Mega Conference in Nashville. Staff members from our Advocacy, Career Development and Job Placement, and Marketing departments are headed up I-40 to spend three days with other disability agencies from across the state to hear world-class speakers and participate in educational sessions and interactive workshops.

Once everybody gets back, we'll put some pictures up on the blog and our Facebook page.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Gala Page on our website

Hey everybody,

Just a heads up that we've got a page on our website dedicated our to our 14th Annual Arc Benefit Gala. It's got all the information you need about the event. You can even purchase your tickets online.

We're very excited about this year's event. Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton is our keynote speaker and Action News 5 anchor Joe Birch is serving as moderator. It should be a fantastic event and we hope to see you there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Waiting List Crisis in Tennessee - A parent speaks out!

The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in The Tennesseean regarding the appalling waiting list crisis in Tennessee

To the Editor:

I am writing on behalf of my special needs daughter and the almost 7,000 other special individuals who are on the waiting list for services from the state of Tennessee.

Our daughter has been on the waiting list for seven years. There is something desperately wrong when a state has a waiting list of almost 7,000. The state of Tennessee has failed to meet the needs of its most vulnerable citizens. The situation is not going to get any better until our elected officials meet the challenge of funding and establishing enough providers to accommodate these individuals.

Presently, the only way a special needs person can be served is if they are in a crisis situation. That almost always means the death of a parent or caregiver. Our daughter was recently denied services by the DMRS.

The bottom line is, she lives with two parents and that is not considered a crisis situation. What a shame that our state has put this great need on the back burner for so many years. Is there any one out there listening?

Millie L. Cummings, UNION CITY 38261

Monday, May 4, 2009

Great Story from the Commercial Appeal

Kenny Thielemier, Arc of the Mid-South, Disability, Down Syndrome
The Commercial Appeal ran a great story yesterday about Kenny E. Thielemier, Jr., a Cordova resident with Down syndrome. He defies many stereotypes associated with developmental and intellectual disabilities as he is an active member in his church, performs in a dance troupe and helps arrange for volunteer opportunities at the Mid-South Food Bank and Meals On Wheels. His life's goals also include getting married, passing his driver's test, and landing a spot as a TV weather man.

The article also discusses some of the major improvements made in the realm of diagnosing and treating disabilities such as Down syndrome. Thielmier, Jr. serves as an example of what early intervention and a strong support system can do. With those two factors in place and the advancements in skill development, more and more people with disabilities are leading more fulfilling, independent lives.

Luke and Margie in the Final Three!

Luke and Margie Adams advanced to the final leg of CBS' The Amazing Race with their second place finish in last night's episode. The mother/son navigated the crowded streets of Beijing before arriving at the mat in front of Niao Chao, also known as the "Bird's Nest", the national stadium used during last year's SUmmer Olympic games.

Luke Adams is the first contestant in the history of The Amazing Race who is deaf. He and his mother Margie have outlasted eight other teams and now have a shot to win the $1M grand prize.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Graduation Day!

Arc of the Mid-South, Disability, Jobs
Job Developers Rashanda Lawyer (far left) and Michael Billingsley (far right) pose with members of the 2009 graduating class

It was a big day at The Arc of the Mid-South today as nine students graduated from the Job Readiness class offered by our Career Development and Job Placement (CDJP) program. The students have attended class from 9a-noon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since August.

Our CDJP program is designed for our clients who benefit from specialized vocational training but do not meet the requirements for enrollment in regular vocational school. It is a hands-on Arc of the Mid-South, Disability, Jobsprogram that focuses on the mastery of specific job skills that are connected to a variety of career options. Our students learn to work independently and proper social skills and work-related behaviors are emphasized to improve student employability.

While graduation means no more attending classes at our offices, it certainly doesn’t end their relationship with The Arc of the Mid-South. Our CDJP team will continue to work closely with the students as they acclimate to society and seek employment.

For more pictures from graduation, please click here.